Staying With a Dog at the Hotel Drake-Longchamp in Geneva Switzerland
Finding a pet friendly hotel in Geneva was never going to be a problem. For starters I knew off the bat that Europe is often pretty good at having several options and a quick search on trip advisor under “Pets Allowed Geneva” proved me right with not 1 or 2 or even 10 options but with 53 hotels to look at!
What WAS going to be a challenge was finding something with a price tag that we could even consider. Affordability is not a big priority for Switzerland in general especially when it comes to hotels and Geneva is even more expensive.
With a huge number of hotel management schools in the country you would think affordable hotels would be easier to come by (you know … nearly free labour and all that), but the opposite seems to be true. After much sleuthing we finally found a three star, pet friendly hotel we could afford that wasn’t miles away from everything. Since we love to walk (and use the train), a central location is paramount. Enter the Drake-Longchamp Hotel Geneva.
Nicely located near the promenade along Lake Geneva and next to the European Headquarters of the United Nations and the Red Cross Museum we were particularly happy to note that, like many hotels in Switzerland, the Drake Longchamp offers its guest free public transit tickets. Just ask at the front desk and off you go! We took full advantage of this as we walked just up the street to where the street cars passed and hoped on and off as we made our way to the Old Town or the train station. The ticket is good for all local transport whether it be the street cars, the bus or even the ferry! And yes, pets are allowed on board!
The hotel has a very nice reception area and bar. Free Wi-Fi and no pet fee. First impression was thus a good one.
And the main hallways are nice. I liked the art. I realized after that the Longchamp name was in relation to the whole leather goods and horses company. And that made me wonder about the hyphenated name so I asked. I was then told that it used to be two hotels. The Drake Hotel and the Longchamp Hotel. They knocked a few walls down and TADA!! One bigger hotel. It’s great in that it added some variety but it makes navigating the place a little less logical. The hotel now has two entrances. The “back” entrance is fancy enough that you could be forgiven for thinking it the “main” entrance. The elevators are also on two separate ends of the hotel and so on.
What is cool is that you can get two very different types of rooms. The room we had was HUGE by European standards. No seriously … like… HUGE!
I have never ever had so much space in Europe. Even the bed was a king size!
I just wish we had known about the rooms with small kitchens. We would have totally asked for that. Switzerland is SO expensive (a few tapas, a drink and a cup of tea will set you back $75 per person!) that being able to self-cater would have been really welcome. Now we know!
Our room even had a “glimpse” of the lake from one of our window. So you could claim we had a bit of a view but the room was a bit tired looking. I will not lie to you. Had a bit of a 1980’s vibe. There is no air conditioning either (it was cool and October but I could see this being a bit troublesome for some in say … august). And surprisingly no safe either. And the bathroom was … sad looking. Really. On that front they need to remodel.
Another downer is that I found the staff to be … well how shall I put this….? Indifferent.
Don’t get me wrong I understand that not every country will have the North American “Disney” over the top exuberance. But there was NO sign of any emotion at all. The receptionist was not particularly attentive or forth coming with any information. We got the impression we were disturbing them in fact. When traveling with a canine it is nice to have the hotel staff give you a bit of advice – such as where the nearest park is for example.
Something small to show the hotel cares.
We got … nothing. No cooing at how cute I am (I am still in shock) and… well nothing. That was sad. Because although affordable, the hotel is still expensive for us Canadians and we found that, more than the tired looking room (that was clean if dated) to be unacceptable. It costs the hotel NOTHING to have friendly and helpful staff especially at the reception desk!
Surprisingly, breakfast is included. I say surprisingly because 90% of hotels in Geneva do not. So although we are not normally big on breakfast we did take full advantage of this perk. It was basic but good fair. I was allowed in, inside my bag. I am not sure if it was technically hotel policy or not, but there I was an no one said anything. It was your normal continental buffet with different breads, croissant, cheese, yogurts, fruit salad, boiled eggs, ham, turkey, juices, coffee and tea. There also seemed to be a sort of special of the day either scrambled eggs or little crepes.
I had some ham and eggs for breakfast. The bipeds had some eggs as well. And we would make some sandwiches that Mom would then sneakily slip into a zip lock (we always travel with those!) to eat later on the go and thus save us the expense of a lunch. Sneaky but … it works. Dad would also bring up a yogurt and some fruit that we would put in the room’s mini fridge as a snack upon our return. It all works out very very nicely for those humans that just aren’t big breakfast eaters like my bipeds.
It is especially important to sneak up a snack, since there is absolutely no food available within the hotel after breakfast. Not even room service. So you will have to go out and that can be tricky. Yes public transport will get you to all the restaurants you could want but there is no small café’s or even a corner store around the bend. So plan your beverages and food accordingly.
Although Dad was fascinated by the coffee machine in the fancy lounge.
In review: The hotel is simple, in a great location with easy access to public transportation especially the street cars. You can make it to the train station (Gare Cornavin) in just 2-3 minutes. The breakfast is simple but has the essentials and it’s all fresh. The room was clean, large and comfortable (if tired and dated) and based on all the other hotels that we looked at the price was very good. And of course, the best part was that it was pet friendly with NO pet fee. Yeah … that is awesome.