This review covers two parts.
1. General description of the so so booking process and hotel
2. Explanation of the disastorous payment process which left to theft and threats by the owner
My wife and I had booked a room at the Grenzmotel via phone with subsequent email confirmation. The hotel has a very basic web page without the possibility to book online.
At 82 EUR per night excluding breakfast, I would not categorize the hotel as cheap, given its very basic concept. Many other places offer better value for money. However, the location was convenient for us, so we decided for it.
The rooms are very simple, but with decent madrasses at least. The TV is tiny and without anything but German channels. The bathroom is poorly designed, so that it floods at every shower. However, at least there is a device available to sweep the floor. It was more difficult to dry oneself, since the hotel only provides one small hand towel per person, nothing resembling a bath towel. The only soap available was the hand soap at the sink.
The sound insulation is far from good, so we were woken up several times during the night when new guests arrived and by general traffic from the adjacent road. The hotel is used by travelers in trucks and other heavy vehicles arriving at odd hours, so once hears these pull up at all hours, including 3 and 4am.
So far, all this was all acceptable, though, since we did not expect any luxury and knew about the location.
The scandalous disaster was related to the payment and the owner personally.
As per the requirement in the email, we had brought the amount in cash (2 nights x 82 EUR = 164 EUR).
When we got there in the early evening, noone was available, but the key was in the door and the invoice was in the room with the request to put the amount in cash in the hotel's mail box.
There was no envelope to put any cash into, however, and the mailbox was a small open newspaper box. Anyone with normal size hands could get his fingers into the mail box and take-out whatever he wanted (see picture).
Thus we figured that it would be too risky to place the money in the mailbox, but hoped to finally see a staff person later in the day to hand-over the cash in person. Unfortuantely we did not.
Thus we found the second best option would be to transfer the money to the account listed on the invoice and send an email to the owner with the details. We did so then in the afternoon between our first and second night at the hotel. (The transfer was confirmed for the following working day). In the same email I referred politely to my disappointment with the unclear payment procedure.
The response from the owner came a couple of hours later and was truly shocking (see separate picture of his email text). He had without hesitation gone into our room and stole a bag with our valuables including passports, iPad, etc etc. He suggested to meet on the check-out morning at 10am to 'exchange' bag for money'. This would never have been possible, since we had to leave latest 8am to catch a flight from Hamburg. Thus I immediately called the owner to clarify. It turned out that he wasn't even willing to talk to me (???!). After several attempts, where he repeatedly hung-up, we called the police. They called him, too, but he continued his refusal to hand us back our bag before 10am the next morning. At this point, we were in the middle of a birthday dinner with family. The situation forced us to leave, though, and rush back to the hotel to still try to catch the owner somehow and resolve the situation.
While we were talking with other guests in neighboring rooms, who also had had difficult experiences with the owner (albeit not at this level), the owner by great chance happened to attend another room, so we tried to get talk to him.
I explained that I had the money in cash as well, and that it was critical that we get the bag back right away given our early departure the next morning. He refused me and unprovoked started pushing me instead, threatening a fight.
My wife luckely was finally able to calm him down and after more than an hour of haggling we finally got the bag back.
I have stayed at very many hotels all over the world. Never ever have I experienced anything close to this. The owner appears clearly unfit to deal with customers or people in general.
We thus strongly discourage anyone from staying at this place.
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