Located five miles southeast of the main border crossing into Mexicali, and adjacent to casinos, hotels, restaurants, universities, and with easy access to the Civic Center and the nearby municipal airport, the modern Hotel Lucerna is architecturally the finest luxury hotel in northwest Mexico--a five-star property, but operated by a two-star management team.
The block-long hotel site, with a mid-rise tower on the north side and three low-rise buildings on the south side, and with scattered “bungalows”, gardens, fountains, open-air bar, three restaurants, exercise gym, beauty spa, business center and shops in between, is connected with a central outdoor corridor with artistic decorations--not the typical urban hotel. The larger, single-story, poolside bungalows (that cost a few dollars more) are the best feature of this awesome hotel. In addition to free in-room beverages, continental breakfast, happy hour drinks and snacks at the VIP lounge (that is reserved for the exclusive use of bungalow guests), the bungalows offer some extra amenities including robes and slippers.
In early November, we first stayed in the smaller-sized (115 SF) but smartly decorated room (217) with a king bed in the north tower contain comfortable beds with quality bedding and sheets, a couch, chair, desk, minibar, flat-screen TV (with a variety of satellite channels--some in English), plus typical room amenities. If in the north tower ask for a room on the upper floors--better view. On our return trip, we stay in the larger (150 SF) with double queen beds (812) in the low-rise buildings on the south end.
The new modern Hotel Lucerna, that is celebrating its 50-year anniversary, has been completely renovated and remodeled. The safe and secure hotel, with free WiFi throughout the property, has 24-hour security guards in hotel and parking areas, 24-hour front desk, 24-hour room service and a concierge desk for special requests. We prefer the rooms in the low-rise buildings on the south side with room numbers in the 800s.
Unfortunately, the 2-star staff at the front desk are accustomed to guests who are unconcerned about the room rate, so they have a difficult time serving a cost-conscious guest. Our check-in took about 15-minutes because they were honoring the TripAdvisor reservation but the quoted price. After a long discussion, the staff offered us the best weekend reduced price possible (that was $10 more than the reservation). It was like bargaining for a blanket at the local bazaar. It is the $10 that is important; it is that we rely on the quoted price to make our hotel selection. It is annoying and embarrassing to stand at the check-in counter and argue about the price of the room. Later that day we meet a gracious hotel manager who listened to our check-in experience. Noting that we were returning to the hotel a couple of days later, she showed us a much larger room with double-bed rooms on the south side. To offset our disappointment with check-in, she offered to change our reservation to the larger room and to include a free breakfast--wow, what a deal. So we went to the front desk to confirm the change of rooms in our upcoming reservation. When we returned two days later, we got the same 15-minute check-in because they had no record of the quoted price of our original reservation, no record of the change of rooms, and they know nothing about the free breakfast--another annoying and embarrassing experience. So we had to pay a price higher than the quoted reservation. We want to recognize Hugo, the young bellman, who make every effort to offset our disappointment with our check-in.
One more thing--that evening, my wife and I were enjoying our walk along the poorly lighted outdoor corridor and encountered a single step in front of the coffee shop. My wife fell and sprained her ankle. Two employees in the coffee shop saw her on the ground but did not offer assistance. Fortunately, it was not serious and she recovered. The next morning I told management about the poorly lighted condition and the unexpected single step. Somehow, I doubt that they will correct the problem. Overall staff is friendly and helpful, but afraid to make a decision without authorization from supervisors who are frequently off-site--a suppressive management culture.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- "Providing high quality hotel services and warmth for all our guests . Keep our promises and exceed the expectations of our customers through continuous innovation, highly committed staff and first class facilities . " ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Lucerna Mexicali Hotel Mexicali
- Lucerna Hotel Mexicali