Man spends three years living in a hotel in Switzerland

Man spends three years living in a hotel in Switzerland

While most families and individuals would consider two weeks a long and luxurious holiday, not many people could imagine - or indeed afford - to stay in such luxury beyond 20 days. A 70-year-old man in Switzerland, however, has just completed a marathon stay in the Park Hotel in Canton Zurich, having spent three whole years living in room 406.

COVID pandemic leads to three-year stay at hotel in Canton Zurich

Our story begins on March 1, 2020, when Fritz Schenkel landed at Zurich Airport, having travelled from Vietnam to help clear out his brother’s apartment after he passed away. After checking into the four-star Park Hotel in Winterthur for a quick stay, little did he know that he would spend the next three years there.

Unfortunately, not long after he arrived a certain COVID pandemic started to rear its ugly head around the world. With Switzerland going into lockdown, and with the authorities in Vietnam closing the border to all but essential travellers, Schenkel was unable to return to Vietnam - a country where he was working as a project lead for a new luxury hotel.

Schenkel unable to find a job while staying at hotel

While it is true that he could have returned to Vietnam not long after the first round of restrictions were lifted later the same year, his Southeast Asian adventure had come to an abrupt halt, after the luxury hotel he was working on was scrapped. While still living in the Park Hotel, Schenkel started to apply for jobs in Switzerland, but he told the newspaper Landbote that "everyone complains about staff shortages, but nobody hires people over 60."

"If I had known that I would be stranded here for so long, I would have taken over a small shop or a café in Winterthur," Schenkel noted. Despite his misadventures, he still longs for a job abroad as he is “having trouble getting used to the mentality here again.”

Long-term hotel resident forced to cut costs

Sadly, more than three years after he first checked in, the inhabitant of room 406 at the Park Hotel finally had to settle his bill, with Schenkel noting, "I have to tighten my belt, I also gave up the rental car.” Despite this, the man is still determined to live the high life, having now moved to the Hotel Wartmann in the centre of Winterthur.

However, if he is unable to find a job in time, Schenkel will be forced to move into their family apartment in Berg am Irchel. The idea isn’t something he relishes though, as in his words there “is no infrastructure, no shops, no bank and no post office. I would snap."

Jan de Boer


Jan de Boer

Jan studied in York and Sheffield in the UK, obtaining a master's in broadcast journalism and a bachelor's in history. He has worked as a radio DJ, TV presenter, and...

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