This should be a five star review. The hotel is very clean and comfortable (but see below), the staff are mainly extremely friendly and helpful (but see below, again) and the restaurant is really good both for the buffet breakfast and evening meals too. It's very competitively priced, a five minute walk from the centre - or a two minute bus ride if you don't fancy the steep hill - and the view from your balcony (the north wall of the Eiger is so close it makes you jump when you first see it) will be jaw-droppingly beautiful and among the best on the planet. So how could it be other than a five star?
1. the hotel has a "fumoir" - a small bar/restaurant for smokers. It's very well used which means that the smoke in there is pretty dense. The area behind this bar also has exits to the restaurant and the entrance hall, meaning that the smoke escapes and there's a pervasive smell of tobacco smoke over the whole hotel. Generally it's not strong, but it's there. Sometimes you can even smell it in the rooms.
2. related to this, an instance of possibly the worst customer service I've ever experienced anywhere. On our third night we decided to eat in, as we had done on our first - as I said, the restaurant is very good and very reasonably priced. We went down to be told by the male member of staff (the only one we saw during our stay) that it was fully booked for a private function. It would have been nice to have been told. However, he told us we could eat in the fumoir. We said we didn't want to eat in a smoky atmosphere but he argued with us, saying it wasn't smoky in there and there was no problem. So I agreed to have a look. As soon as I opened the door I could see there was a thick fog of smoke, so I shut it again at once. At which he snapped "then you'll have to go into the village", gave us a dismissive hand gesture and walked off shaking his head. We were astonished by how rude he'd been (such a strong contrast to the pleasant helpfulness we'd had from all the other members of staff) and also rather amused - readers familiar with the name of Basil Fawlty will know why. Surely any half-decent hotelier would have offered to serve a meal in the customers' room rather than arguing with non-smoking customers about whether the smoking room was smoky or not!
So it's three stars - half way between the five stars the hotel generally deserves and the one star that the fumoir and its bad-tempered apologist would have earned it.
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