Basel’s premier hotel refuses refunds for bookings during canceled fair


Basel’s hoteliers have been called arrogant, aloof and unresponsive profiteers for many years by visitors to Baselworld tired of being gouged for sky high room rates and overpriced food and drink.

Les Trois Rois is Basel’s only 5-star hotel and home for the duration of the watch and jewelry exhibition to the world’s most senior executives.

It is effectively block-booked by the biggest Rolex and Patek Philippe authorized dealers of the world.


It is booked solid every year, and is no longer taking reservations between January 28 and February 2, the dates Baselworld will occupy.

Its cheapest room in the next few weeks — at the height of the Coronavirus crisis — is around $650 per night. This rockets during Baselworld, and guests have been required to book more room nights than they need — at times the entire duration of the six-day show — in order to secure a booking.

For a typical jeweler visiting from overseas, which might have a team of people attending Baselworld, the cost of staying at Les Trois Rois for the show can run to tens of thousands of pounds.

Coronavirus has crippled businesses across industries, and hospitality has been among the hardest hit, but Les Trois Rois has remained open throughout and only closed its bar and restaurants from March 18 to April 19. “We will only grant house guests access to the hotel until April 19,” the company says on its Facebook page.

The rational reaction to the postponement of Baselworld and uncertainty over the entire exhibition industry is for guests booked into Les Trois Rois this year to cancel their hotel bookings. This is precisely what most watch executives have been trying to do.

But Les Trois Rois took until March 18, almost three weeks after the Baselworld announcement, to reach a decision on how to handle cancellations, and the news was not good for guests.

Free cancellations are not possible, the hotel has told guests with many thousands of pounds tied up in reservations. “Should [guests] wish to cancel the booking we will charge 100% of the costs,” an e-mail sent to one prestigious jeweler, and seen by WatchPro, says.

The even more egregious insult to its loyal and long-standing guests is delivered should people be generous enough to choose to move their reservations from this year’s cancelled Baselworld to the 2021 event in January.

Rather than simply changing the bookings, Les Trois Rois is charging a “10% no show fee”.

WatchPro has invited Les Trois Rois to comment.


  1. Totally shocking specially for a 5 stars hotel, this is a very bad reference to the hotel industry in Switzerland

  2. Makes me think back to when New York was the most important show in the United States until greed set in. A group of wholesale Jewelers decided they could set up in Las Vegas and even after flying their staff to Las Vegas and putting them in hotels their savings were still significant. My advice to all involved at the Basil show is to remember the golden rule “do on to others as you would have them do unto.you”. Otherwise there is an old proverb not to be forgotten. You reap what you sow.

  3. Well, friends of mine have just canceled their honeymoon trip to Spain. Reimbursement: zero, and that’s what all hotel chains in the world apparently do. Let’s be honest: If, according to law and booking conditions, guests owe the full price and the hotel offers them a 90% discount if they book again next year … not that bad, is it? Why would you scold a single hotel? And don’t you have travel insurance?

    • I do believe the 10% no show fee…when the borders are closed is the issue here. I have not heard of another hotel doing this and it is my job to know if they are…they are not. Postponement is what hotels are doing NOT charging a no show fee when it is impossible to check in on the dates reserved! From our end this hotel will be losing the many reservations we provide them each year.


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