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“Worst place I have ever been, terrible for price/quality”

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Jailhotel Loewengraben
Ranked #66 of 68 Hotels in Lucerne
Milan, Italy
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“Worst place I have ever been, terrible for price/quality”
Reviewed 10 December 2012

The idea to transform a prison in a easy hotel is fine and fascinating. This, together with the good location close to the town center, are the only two positive things of the hotel. All the rest is... to forget! Rooms are small, more or less as you can expect, but without any possibility to hang your dresses or place your suitcases. In our room we had only one small window we could not open or screen to get dark enough for sleeping. Bathroom was unbelievable: 1,5x1,5m maximum, with an unusable and dirty shower. No shower sets available and just one very small (really too small to wipe) towel for each person. In our case one of the two towels was dirty so we had to use just one! We tried to have breakfast but 40 minutes before the end of the breakfast time bread, milk, cereals and even cups were finished, and all tables to sit where dirty. We asked the staff who said they do not have solution and who did not clean up tables: we had to share the only free clean cups left with friends who were with us. Last but not least they charged 5€ in addition because of Visa Payment, that I think it is not completely legal too. I would recommend to everybody to avoid this terrible hotel and terrible experience, for which you have to pay an unbelievable price!!!

Room Tip: NO way to find out a good room in this hotel
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  • Stayed July 2012, travelled with friends
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Helpful?
1 Thank Serena G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Rating summary
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English first
Zurich, Switzerland
Level Contributor
30 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 39 helpful votes
Reviewed 5 December 2012

Where do I begin....

I bought a special deal voucher which gave me a 50% discount on a "suite" room in the Jail Hotel. The idea of staying in a hotel that used to be a jail had its macabre appeal so I took the dive. The voucher gave a further 20% discount on a second night so I booked a cheaper "Unplugged" room for the second night. In all, I paid CHF120 for the suite and CHF80 for the "Unplugged" with shared showers. Needless to say, If I knew what this hotel was like I would not have bought the voucher - I would rather stay in a youth hostel. This place does not even deserve to be called a "hostel". I can imagine some people saying that you get the real experience of staying in a jail but when you pay this kind of money, it becomes an insult. I can stay in a hostel or a chain hotel for this price.

The most concerning issue for me was the room pricing: The website displays a list of room prices. But I have a photo showing the price list, inside each room, and they are not the same. Furthermore, I see a recent review stating "Perfect budget hotel" and it seems that there are "budget" prices offered depending where you book the room. I happened to speak to a fellow guest who told me that he was paying CHF55 per night for a basic "Unplugged" room. Neither the website nor the hotel price list mention anything cheaper than CHF80.

So onto the review...

We hit our first problem even before we stepped into the hotel - Parking. We were told that the hotel does not have any parking and we would have to find a parking space in the city. The website states that "parking lots and parking garages are available at short distance from the hotel". The nearest parking lot is 10 minutes walking distance and it really isn't fun nor practical when the weather is near freezing or snowing. Not to mention the inconvenience if you have luggage which you have to unload at the hotel and then having to go and park the car. The hotel offers a parking voucher for CHF5, which covers 18.00 to 11.00. Outside of these times (i.e. during the day) you will have to pay the CHF2 per hour city rates.

Problem 2: As numerous others have already pointed out there is no lift. So good luck to anyone who has a room on the 3rd floor with heavy luggage to carry or anyone who is not in good physical fitness.

Director's "Suite": (How they can call this a "suite" is beyond me...)
We spent our first night in the Director's "suite". All "suites" are on the 1st floor and I suppose the idea is that you don't have to climb any further if you have any luggage or if you are not very fit... Room standard fell way below my expectations.

Issues:
No proper cupboard to store clothes.
Insufficient lighting
No TV or radio or telephone or tea making facilities
Queensize bed turned out to be 2 single beds put together
No bedside lamps
Curtains... look at my photo
Toilet: Seat out of place, stains in toilet bowl (see photo)
Window very old fashioned but more importantly, it did not close properly. I was woken up by the cold draught that was seeping into the room.
Tiny wash basin. Tap water splashed onto the floor. Fixtures are outdated and needs replacing.
The doorkey sticks in the lock.
Shower cubicle has a leakage problem (see photo).
Heating is switched off during the night.
Because the window could not be closed, we could hear the outside noise like we were standing in the street itself. The hotel is right next to restaurants and the shopping street as well as a recycling depot. We could hear people walking, talking, singing and we were greeted in the morning by the sound of people dumping their glass into the recycling containers...
No noise insulation between floors. We could hear the creaking footsteps from our neighbours upstairs.
Beds were "ok" but not brilliant and certainly not "suite" standard.


"Unplugged" room 1:
Smelly
Horrible wash basin/toilet cubicle
1800's Wash basin only had cold water
Room is warm (i.e. No draught) but the window can not be opened so good luck in the summer.
No bedside lamps
Beds are not comfortable.

We asked to be given another "Unplugged" room because the hall light outside our first room was not working (see below). So we were given a better room than the first.


"Unplugged" room 2:
1800's Wash basin only had cold water
Toilet flush broken
Shower cubicle extremely basic
Room is warm (i.e. No draught) but the window can not be opened so good luck in the summer.
No bedside lamps
Beds are not comfortable.


Breakfast:
Breakfast is complimentary so don't expect anything hot. It is delivered daily from a catering company and consists of cold meat slices, cheese, bread, jam, muesli, milk, orange juice, cold boiled eggs, butter and fruit. Tea and coffee is dispensed from a machine so don't expect quality standards. It is the same offering every day.
Windows are old-fashioned and could not be closed!! Cold draughts came in and we could not do anything about it!!


Other issues:

No air-conditioning in any rooms. OK in the winter but in the summer....??
No dispensing machines and no option to buy any drinks from reception!!! What year are we living in??
Not all the hall lights were working and this was a big problem when we had to enter a code to get into the "Unplugged" room. We had to use our iPhone to illuminate the door....
Basic mechanical code locks on the "Unplugged" rooms. Even the keys for the "suites" did not inspire any confidence from me.
All rooms in which we stayed had only 1 power outlet.
Bunk beds look like the original models used in the jail. Don't expect an easy climb up/down...
Wi-fi is available on the ground floor only. It means they have a weak wireless router.



Good points:

To be fair, there were a few good points. One and a half to be precise:

Reception staff were friendly and tried to be helpful. I noticed that they were all young guys who did not seem to be qualified in working as hotel reception staff. I suspect that they are actually students or apprentices. I do not expect any self-respecting qualified staff to want to work here.
Location: 5-10 mins walking distance to the town center.



Summary: Do yourself a favour and pay a bit more if you have to. This place is really not worth the risk. I suppose the positive comments came from backpackers who just need a place to crash.

  • Stayed December 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
4 Thank fargone2000
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

Travellers are raving about these Lucerne hotels

London
Level Contributor
34 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 35 helpful votes
Reviewed 24 November 2012

I booked this and then afterwards read some of the reviews which made me wonder what I had done! I have no idea where some of these negative reviewers stayed but it cannot have been in the same place as I did. The hotel is budget, yes. The rooms are fairly small. Yes. But the place is clean, characterful, with really friendly staff and so central you could not find a more convenient spot. The breakfast is fresh and plentiful with unlimited juices, coffee etc.Wi-fi worked well for me and isn't the limited service one reviewer said. Little additions such as a glass in the room so you can have water and a shelf above the sink would be good.

The fact it is still very much like a jail so is a bit weird in a way ... did these people not get that from the name? But at least that sets it apart from the me-too type accommodation found most places. There is no lift so that is worth bearing in mind and no tv etc in the room. But to make that a reason to say not good for families is a bit odd ... you are in Switzerland by a beautiful lake why would you want a huge room with a tv? My son would love it.

Anyway, this is a characterful budget hotel with what you would expect and the price is unbeatable for Luzern. Ignore the negative reviews.

Room Tip: Themed rooms are available for the doubles I think.
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  • Stayed November 2012, travelled solo
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Helpful?
1 Thank DP P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Singapore, Singapore
Level Contributor
53 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
Reviewed 23 November 2012 via mobile

Prison cells are coverted to rooms so you can expect them to be tiny. Bathrooms are equally tiny. The room are bare minimum, you can consider this hotel for a night or two, not for long. Breakfast is available every morning which was decent. No lifts inside the hotel so do not get heavy luggages. Wifi is available only in the lobby.
During the later part of the night, it became noisy. Probaby, the hotel guests were partying downstairs.
Besides, towels provided are pretty small. Carry your own.
Convenient location. Close to restaurants and the Old Town.
Average reception service.

  • Stayed November 2012
    • Value
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    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
Thank KBora
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level Contributor
3 reviews
Reviewed 7 November 2012

It really was a jail :) indeed an opportunity to get the feeling of staying in one...
Great location in the center. Not expensive. Value for money when staying in expensive Switzerland for sure...
Room is small and very basic. Did not enjoy the breakfast.
Should they put a little effort in design for tourist, the place will be very unique.
No one really wants to spend his holiday in a prison cell, especially if for more than one night.
Design and decoration should be more gentle and tourist oriented while keeping some "jail motives" like the window.
Wall under the window full of shoe steps, probably one of many who tried to look out the window or close it. Why don't they just put a nice ledder so hotel guests don't step on the wall?
No wifi at reception. Receptionist ok.

  • Stayed August 2012, travelled solo
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank Shurki
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Stuttgart, Germany
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed 2 November 2012

This hotel is really cool! I found it completely by accident at 2AM looking for anywhere that I could find a bed. When I went to my room and realized the place was an old prison I was very happy - such a cool, unique experience. It's no luxury hotel, but if your looking for a cool unique place I highly recommend it - it's very cheap! . To top it off, the hotel is right in the middle of old town - it's a great deal.

  • Stayed July 2012, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Todd M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Avellino, Campania, Italy
Level Contributor
11 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 28 October 2012

Great location, convenient to walk to all locations in the historical district. Room was adequate only to sleep in, and uncomfortable to do anything else. Our stay was only for the historical experience. Beds were "OK". Check-in was at 3:00 PM, and staff were not flexible to any earlier check-in time, but did allow us to store luggage in a small closet with other waiting guests - no guarantee of security of luggage. We drove a rental car and had to pay for parking, no parking next to hotel at all. The Swiss are diligent in giving parking tickets, even on the weekends, and we got one, even though a local resident told us that police don't check parking on weekends. . . wrong! Room was very spartan and very similar to bunking/lodging in a military ship's quarters. We had a room with 4 "racks" /single beds stacked double high. Very few electrical outlets with the bathroom as the only wall plug -maybe one at the front entrance? No night lamps. So everyone must go to sleep at the same time, or leave the main light on. Other than some hooks to hang clothes, towels, etc at the entrance, there was no other furniture. Bathroom was a grey boxed enclosure in the room, and shower would flood if water was turned-on full, had to use low water pressure not to flood the little bathroom. Climbing the stairs was not an issue for us, but note: NO ELEVATOR, you must climb stairs to get to your room. Quarters were very tight. If comfort is an issue for you, then stay at another hotel. We stayed over a weekend day, Sunday. So also note, that there is a night club attached to the hotel, and I imagine noise to be an issue on "party nights".

Room Tip: Great location, convenient to walk to all locations in the historical district. Room was adequate on...
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  • Stayed October 2012, travelled with family
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Helpful?
Thank Douglas R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Jailhotel Loewengraben

Property: Jailhotel Loewengraben
Address: Loewengraben 18, Lucerne 6004, Switzerland
Region: Switzerland > Canton of Lucerne > Lucerne
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Restaurant Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #66 of 68 Hotels in Lucerne
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££
Hotel Class:2 star — Jailhotel Loewengraben 2*
Number of rooms: 66
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Also Known As:
Jailhotel Loewengraben Lucerne
Jailhotel Loewengraben Hotel Lucerne

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