Ibis Budget Lugano Paradiso – A Review By Punam Mohandas
This is probably a unique property to Accor, in that three of its brands are located in a tight cluster within the city: the Novotel, Ibis and Ibis Budget.
The hotel has a small, cheerful lobby, well lit by natural lighting due to the glass doors that overlook the street on one side and, on the other, French windows that offer a view of the Novotel’s swimming pool. (Note: Ibis and Ibis Budget guests may not use the pool, but they can use the terrace and bar area adjacent to it. Since the only access is through the Novotel’s lobby, it is easy for the hotels to keep track of this rule.)
With 82-keys, the accommodation at the Ibis Budget is categorized as Twin or Doubles. All double beds come with an additional upper bunk, which is good for families with small children – one just has to watch out not to bump one’s head!
To be honest, the small rooms are a trifle oddly designed, with the washbasin in the same space as the bed, while the shower and WC have separate cubicles. There is no wardrobe; hangers are provided on a wall hook. No safe, minibar, tea/coffee maker or AC control; the window can open partially, which allows a flow of fresh air. There is a small, wall-mounted TV. Adequate lights are provided, including bed lights. There is a full-length mirror though, which is a blessing. Essentially, this hotel is good for overnight business trips or for those on a very tight budget.
Both the Ibis and the Ibis Budget are housed within the same building; the distinction is that the corridor carpeting and wall colours are different, which is how guests can tell which wing they are in. The difference between the two apart from the design element is the room size plus amenities – the Ibis also provides telephones in its rooms, moreover, the beds are definitely more comfortable than the Ibis Budget (the bath towel quality at the latter is rougher too.).
Both hotels share a common Reception as also breakfast room. The 80-covers restaurant is open only for breakfast, no other meals. (Plans are in the pipeline to increase this area space.) During breakfast, which is self-service (even down to clearing the dishes, a la McDonald style) guests are free to make their own boiled eggs or even, waffles! There is a really neat waffle machine that dishes up fresh, crisp, piping hot waffles. A coffee machine offers varieties such as espresso, cappuccino, Americano and suchlike. (Note: Breakfast comes at a surcharge, unless specified in your room deal.)
Apart from this, there is a bar to the side of the Reception desk, but nothing is complimentary here, not even the tea or coffee! Standard frozen fare that can be microwaved is available. There is also a vending machine on the floor below lobby level where one can buy snacks such as sandwiches, potato chips, beverages and a variety of coffees. This floor also has a separate breakfast area for groups that can accommodate between 50-60 pax.
The bar as well as the Reception is manned 24-hours. There is free wifi across the hotel. The Ibis Budget also provides a small left luggage room.
The Ibis Budget has two computers for complimentary guest use; printing facilities are also available. Should guests desire a meeting room, it can be arranged at the Novotel at extra charge.
There are no fripperies at this hotel. Sewing, shaving and dental kits are available at a charge. Extra pillows, hair dryer or adaptor are made available on request and require a deposit of 20CHF or 20 euros.
The bus stop to or from the train station is just opposite the Ibis – Paradiso is the name of the bus stop, although you can see the Ibis signage way before. The trip takes 10-minutes. The hotel is just a five minute walk away from the promenade and a 15-minute walk to the centre of Lugano with its shops and restaurants.
Lugano is located in the Ticino Valley; although it is geographically a part of Swizerland, it is almost entirely bordered by Italy and therefore, Italian is the official language here. The food is a delightful amalgamation of both cuisines with, of course, a heavy influence of the Italian. Three of the world’s largest gold refineries are based in the Ticino, as are fashion brands such as Hugo Boss and Gucci, to name but two; it is a very attractive business destination due to its proximity to Milan.
From Lugano, you can do a day trip to Lake Maggiore, 1.5hours away. You can also take a train ride to Locarno; do note that there is no direct train and you have to change at Bellinzona. All in all, it takes an hour. Locarno used to be a charming city many years ago but I find it has a run-down look to it now. Although it also has a promenade and you can do a one hour cruise of the lake for 27CHF if you have the Ticino Pass (31 CHF otherwise) I find the promenade at Lugano is much cleaner and somehow civilised, with more benches and green spaces; it is a joy to just sit awhile and watch toddlers taking their baby steps or children whizzing by on their scooters and skateboards.
Lugano is one of the most important cities of the Ticino Valley and the third largest financial centre in Switzerland after Zurich and Geneva, hence, it is well served by an international airport; in fact, it is the busiest airport in southern Switzerland. It is also an experience to travel here by road or rail via the Gotthard Pass – the Gotthard Base Tunnel is the longest rail tunnel in the world. Do note that, unlike neighbouring Italy, rail travel in Switzerland is prohibitively expensive, unless you have the Swiss Rail Pass or have bought the ticket weeks in advance.
IBIS BUDGET LUGANO PARADISO
TEL: +41 91 986 19 09
FAX: +41 91 986 19 19
Punam Mohandas asserts her right to be identified as the author of this work. Any views or opinions expressed in this review is that of the author.