Address: 4 Rue Pradier
CH-1201 Genf „
I had nothing to do with booking the hotel during my pre-Christmas break to Geneva as I left this to my friends to organise so I was looking forward to seeing what they had booked. As they had a set budget to play with and with Geneva being as expensive as it is I was half expecting to find myself in a hotel room the size of a shoe box with a shared bathroom so I suppose I should be grateful that I actually got a decent sized room with my own private bathroom.
~~~~~~~~~~ Hotel Cristal ~~~~~~~~~~
The Hotel Cristal is a three star 'design' hotel that is located close to the central station in Geneva. I really liked the location of the hotel as it was only a 5 minute walk to the Lake Front and about 10 to 15 minutes walking to the main shopping area and the old town. Apparently the area where the hotel is located has a bit of a bad reputation but I can honestly say that I never experienced any sort of unease even at night and because the area is filled with hotel the majority of people we saw in the area were other tourists.
Surrounding the hotel are loads of bars and restaurants and there is a Starbucks that is literally a couple of doors away. This was well used by us as the breakfast at the hotel was exorbitant for not a great selection of food.
The public and private areas of the hotel were nice and you could see that some time and money had been spent on the design but unfortunately not all of it was successful.
One thing which I thought was nice is that the Geneva city council gives hotels in the city transport passes for guests which allows them free travel on local public transport throughout the city. We only used it a couple of times but it was nice to have.
~~~~~~~~~~ The Rooms ~~~~~~~~~~
I was quite pleased with my room. It was small but it was nice to have a double room to myself. There were two single beds pushed together which I hate but is a common thing in European hotel rooms. Either side of the bed was floor to ceiling windows one of which opened out fully. This was nice as I like to be able to open my window in a hotel and in the UK we have become so concerned with health and safety that most hotel windows only open inches. The one thing that I hated about the bed was that it had a built in headboard with shelving. It was nice to have somewhere to put cups etc. but it did make sitting in bed reading uncomfortable.
The walls were artexed with a really sharp pointy texture which actually hurt to touch so I wouldn't have liked to have accidentally walked in to it as I could imagine it could have actually caused some damage.
Although it was small it had nearly everything that I needed. There was a desk and chair and plenty of storage space for clothes. There was also a kettle and coffee, tea and milk. There was no mini bar in the room but there was a communal one in the hallway. I didn't actually use this as I could find absolutely no information on prices so was scared to get a drink from it in case it cost me the same price as a small car.
There was a climate control console in the room but no matter how much I tried I could not figure out how to change the temperature. I have no idea if it was me or the console but I have never not been able to turn the heating off in a hotel before when it has its own climate control console.
The bathroom was probably the least successful in terms of the design. It was just a little bit weird. It was lots of opaque glass which is where the hotel gets its name from. I have no problem with this but in a small room they have decided to make the shower and toilet separate from the sink which is in the main room. It was just a bit weird and took up more room than it needed to. Also the bathroom has glass doors which when closed have a large gap in the middle and are see through. This wasn't a problem for me as I was in the room on my own but I can imagine that a lot of people wouldn't like to be sitting on the toilet and be able to be seen by the person they were sharing the room with.
Towels were a bit stingy. There was enough for me but two people sharing might have found them sparse.
The rooms had free WIFI and we were given the password when we checked in. The internet was fast and worked every time and there was no problem with the connection.
The TV was small but big enough for the size of the room. There was loads of channels but unfortunately most of them were Swiss and nearly everything was in French but I did manage to find a couple of international English channels.
~~~~~~~~~~ The staff ~~~~~~~~~~
Here was my major problem with this hotel. The staff were the least friendly and rudest I have ever encountered in any hotel in all my years of travelling. During check in we were left standing at the desk for ages while a man and woman were talking to each other and literally ignoring us for about 5 minutes and made us feel as though we were interrupting them.
The hotel is one of those that still have proper keys which come with heavy metal bases so you have to hand it in when you are going out. Every time we would hand it in or ask for it back no one at reception would speak to us and would just literally slam it down on the desk or snatch it up. I am not exaggerating when I say that the reception staff were the coldest and rudest I have ever encountered and it really put a dampener on the whole stay. There is a lounge area next to the reception area but the whole time we were at the hotel no one actually used this and according to other guests we spoke to during our stay the staff were just as rude with them and no one felt comfortable sitting in it.
~~~~~~~~~~ Prices ~~~~~~~~~
The Hotel Cristal was actually really good value for Geneva. My room cost me £280 for three nights which for Geneva is cheap as it is such an expensive city to stay in.
~~~~~~~~~~ Conclusion ~~~~~~~~~~
I am in two minds about this one as the hotel was actually quite nice and the room itself was fairly decent for the money and even the location was good but all the staff we encountered were just so bad that I personally would never stay there again. They honestly were so bad that it almost ruined our trip and the way they made us feel was something that I have never experienced in a hotel before. They were rude, surly and completely unprofessional so because of this it has really skewed my feelings on the hotel and for this reason I would only give it two stars and even this I feel might be too generous.