After the year 2021 without visiting my sister Florence in Zug in Switzerland, I finally returned to the Confoederatio Helvetica in March and April 2022. I stayed over a week. More than a family visit, I organised an excursion to French-speaking Switzerland, also known as Romandy, to visit Maxime and the vineyards of Lavaux in the canton of Vaud, near Lausanne. I also booked a journey on the world-famous Glacier Express from Sankt Moritz to Brig. Furthermore, I looked for a nice way in and out. The ÖBB Nightjet night train from Amsterdam to Zurich and the voyage home via Lyon in France.
After the Mont-Blanc-Express I took a replacement bus to Aix-les-Bains, in Savoy. There I chose Urban Hôtel & Spa. Three stars, with a pool. As I did not expect Aix to be super exciting, a pool seemed like great entertainment.
Between booking, arriving and after checking out I received twenty-for emails, inviting me to check in online or book some extras. It became annoying. I did though book my breakfast in advance and took advantage of a dinner deal: a three-course meal for 24 euros.
Check-in was swift and friendly though. Very straightforward.
The room has a very modern look, with bare concrete walls. It features a bed, a desk and tv, many power outlet and three times two USB ports: at the desk and on each side of the bed. That’s more than usual.
There’s a kettle for coffee and tea and two complimentary bottles of water.
No bathroom door
As you can see, the bathroom is very, very open. There is no door at all. So Urban Hôtel assumes people staying are a couple or friends comfortable seeing each other naked.
We are not fans. Now I was on my own, but for instance Danny and I do not have a ‘it’s okay to be naked in front of each other’ dynamic. For us staying in this room together, it wouldn’t do.
More hotels have doorless bathrooms, ad that is not okay, really.
The toilet is separate and can be locked. There’s even a red-and-green indicator to let you know if the toilet is available. Baring in mind the hotel assumes you not being prude, this is very intriguing and inconsistent choice.
But other than that, it’s a nice room.
One issue is soundproofing, I could clearly hear music from another room and I don’t think the volume was that up.
Pool and gym
In the basement there’s a pool, a sauna and a hammam. No sun beds, but seats. Which of course allows for more people to be able to sit. The pool is reasonably large for a hotel pool. We’ve had smaller pools in 4-star hotels. I did not try the sauna or hammam. I was down there with four other people, two couples. I felt looked at and judged.
I suppose I should not care.
Anyway, it’s a decent pool. We like having a pool at the hotel.
The gym is basic. Three cardio machines and some weights. I got in on Friday evening to check it out, but did not work out. On Saturday I couldn’t get in. Apparently it only opened at 8AM, which was too late for me due to my train connection to Lyon Part-Dieu.
Connected to the hotel is restaurant L’Estrade, where I had a very decent meal. Even outside the dinner deal the menu looked good and affordable, especially after spending a week in Switzerland.
Now, I was impressed. For a three-star hotel in France the offering is elaborate. Cold cuts, Savoy cheeses, yoghurts, fresh fruit salad, cereals, honey, chocolate. Obviously also bread and croissants. There were English Breakfast options, crepes and three (!) hot drinks machine.
Urban Hôtel was a good option for my last night on this vacation. It offers great value for money. It’s a three-star plus. While I’ve had four)star hotels not being that great. As an example of that, I think of Mercure hotels.
- Zandvoort, home of the Formula 1 Dutch Grand Prix.
- REVIEW | ÖBB Nightjet Amsterdam – Zurich night train.
- SWITZERLAND 2022 | Thun and Thun Castle.
- SWITZERLAND 2022 | The Lausanne Métro.
- REVIEW | Hotel du Raisin in Lausanne.
- SWITZERLAND 2022 | The Vineyard Terraces of Lavaux in Vaud.
- SWITZERLAND 2022 | Two days in Lausanne.
- SWITZERLAND 2022 | Sankt Moritz.
- REVIEW | Hotel Arte in Sankt Moritz.
- SWITZERLAND | The Glacier Express from Sankt Moritz to Brig (and to Zermatt).
- SWITZERLAND | The Grisons or Graubünden.
- SWITZERLAND 2022 | Thurbo Seelinie, discovering Switzerland’s northern lake route.
- SWITZERLAND 2022 | Sankt Gallen.
- SWITZERLAND 2022 | Voralpen-Express: Sankt Gallen – Rapperswil – Lucerne.
- MONT-BLANC EXPRESS | Linking Martigny, Chamonix and Saint-Gervais-les-Bains in the Alps.