Where to stay at Lucerne? When I was planning my trip to Switzerland, I deliberately arranged Lucerne at my last day of utilizing my Swiss Pass. In this post, I will walk you through one of the best hotels for your Marriott Rewards Points in Lucerne – Renaissance Lucerne Hotel.
A little backstory: when I was booking hotels in Lucerne, I hesitated between Marriott’s two properties. One is Renaissance Lucerne Hotel, and The Hotel Lucerne, Autograph Collection is the other, which is designed by the one and only architect Jean Nouvel. The two hotels locate so tightly that there is just one park in between. One minute walk. Both are great to cross off my list of the top things to do in Lucerne.
To be fair, perfect location for both hotels without a doubt. Five minutes walk from Lucerne Central Station, which is right beside Rosengart Collection Museum where Picasso’s masterpieces are collected. And it is another 5 minutes walk from the hotels to the old town district, well-known attraction. Both hotels are both Category 8 properties, requiring 40,000 Marriott Rewards points per night and 35,000 during PointSaver. Said otherwise, the cash price per night is around 200 Swiss franc, making Hotel Lucerne slightly more expensive than five stars hotels.
Simply put, it’s a tough decision to make.
Now it’s time to get personal. At first, I was gonna go for Hotel Lucerne without a second thought, purely because of my artsy desire to worship the architect’s masterpiece. But then I changed my mind on the first day when I arrived in Geneva as the daily expense of food is entirely beyond my budget. I knew that my Marriott Gold membership gets me complimentary breakfast at Renaissance Lucerne Hotel and my research showed that some bloggers mention complimentary breakfast is not provided to gold members at Hotel Lucerne. Hence, the bell rings for a veteran award traveler like me.
One day before arrival, I used Marriott’s latest mobile Check-in feature provided to members. Fortunately (also unsurprisingly), I was upgraded to Junior Suite.
Why unsurprising? When I was looking for my stay, my research showed the Data Point that various gold members got their suite upgraded. Regardlessly, the size of Junior Suite is doubled to my original room, which is definitely a lifesaver in a high living cost country like Switzerland.
To be honest, I was surprised when I arrived at Lucerne station. I was expecting Lucerne to be more of a hushed town, but it turned out to be reasonably city-liked. Or it could be my nostalgia towards city pushing the wheel, because I was staying Interlaken, a countryside town, for the previous days.
I arrived in Lucerne at night, and it was always raining. Walking on the open street with my large luggage was almost a disaster. The bright side is that it was only a five minutes walk. In a beautiful city, five minutes walk in the rain? That was tolerable.
Written on their official site, it is the smallest Renaissance hotel in the world, and I got to understand that upon my arrival. It was a five stories hotel with a limited number of rooms. All of the buildings in the city are not tall at all, probably out of the intention of forming a friendly and accessible relation between buildings and the street, good urban design right there. Therefore, it is easily mistaken the hotel of an average apartment if a pedestrian is not paying attention. No wonder it would label itself as the tiniest Renaissance hotel.
A bottled water and two pieces of chocolate are the welcome gifts for Marriott’s cold members. Pity that chocolate is not my thing so I can not give a solidified comment.
The upgraded junior suite is twice the size of my original reservation. In my opinion: a compact setup with luxurious and tasteful furniture, including the lighting design and the texture of the furniture. Nevertheless, expected awkward spatial design for a corner room. The layout of the windows and bed is restrained; I have to enter the washroom at the end of the suite through the living, which is different from the majority.
Renaissance Lucerne does not provide a lounge exclusive to Gold and Platinum members. The lounge at the hotel is open to every customer, offering neither breakfast nor happy hours, the lounge is quiet. The lounge has tea collection as well as a coffee machine; this is for sure a plus for people traveling to a city where a coffee cost 4 euro, after all.
The corner Junior Suite provides two windows with views at both ends of the room. It is always wet, and the threat of rain looms continuously, but the golden leaves outside of the windows play a beautiful autumnal note.
As the hotel does not provide a lounge exclusive to Gold and Platinum members, I had my breakfast at the restaurant first floor. In a country whose daily expense is as high as Switzerland, my day cannot be made brighter by indulging in a decent breakfast.
Renaissance Hotel has a small gym, rather than a swimming pool. The gym has a full shower room. Concerning Lucerne being a tourist town, Pool and SPA are apparently not on the priority list.
Whether it’s cash or rewards points, the prices of two Marriott’s priorities are barely different. In a case of someone traveling without Marriott’s Gold or Platinum membership, staying at the Hotel Lucerne for its sense of design is seemingly a better choice. However, because Renaissance provides Gold member amenities exclusively, and taking the free upgrade and abundant complimentary breakfast into account, Renaissance would be the better choice for Marriott’s Gold member, simply put.
The brand Autograph under Marriott focuses on collecting design hotels worldwide, and each hotel is known for its uniqueness in design.
Generally speaking, upgrades at hotels are prioritized based on customers’ membership levels. As long as there is availability for upgrades at the hotel, customers with higher ranking membership will get their room upgraded first.
Free breakfast from Marriott’s Gold membership is only available at specific brands such as JW Marriott, Marriott, Renaissance, Autograph Collection, and Delta Hotels. However, there are exceptions; alternative approaches are taken at hotels that do not provide breakfast. Research for amenities of specific hotel beforehand is strongly recommended.
Marriott divides its properties into 9 categories, with Category 1 costing 7,500 Marriott Rewards points and Category 9 costing 45,000 points per night. Marriott offers a “PointSavers” option with up to 33% discount for certain hotels on certain dates.