Golden Arch to have Swiss debut

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NEW YORK -- Did somebody say McDonald's?

McDonald's Switzerland -- yes, that McDonald's -- is building its first two hotels: the 211-room Golden Arch Hotel Zurich Airport, opening in March 1.2 miles from the airport in Rumlang, and the 80-room Golden Arch Hotel Lully near Estavayer-le-Lac, opening in April between Lausanne and Bern on the highway A1.

Each guest room will be furnished with two Bico-brand "sit'n'sleep" motorized beds which convert from a seated to a sleeping position. The rooms measure 258 square feet and are carpet-free, with parquet flooring in the living area and a granulate floor in the bathroom.

Both hotels will also contain fitness rooms, Golden Arch Bars and McDonald's restaurants, open from 6 a.m. until midnight.

Rates are posted on the Golden Arch Hotels Web site, at www.goldenarchhotel.com. Rates start at approximately $97 for the Zurich Airport property $86 for the hotel in Lully.

Commission to agents for room bookings will be 10%, and the hotels will be in all major CRSs, according to Mirjam van Zweden, director of sales for Golden Arch Hotels Suisse.

The first McDonald's restaurant in Switzerland opened in 1976 in Geneva. Today, there are 115 restaurants in the country.

A McDonald's Corp. spokesman countered the notion that McDonald's represents everything Europeans dislike about America.

"McDonald's is in great demand all across Europe," he said. "You couldn't have our popularity and success in Europe if McDonald's was not in high demand.

"Sure, there are a few activist-types who try to create the idea that McDonald's is American-owned and operated, which is absolutely not true. We couldn't be successful if people didn't welcome us into their neighborhoods."

Switzerland seems to be the hot bed of McDonald's maverick ideas; witness the Vegie Mac, roving party restaurants, a McDonald's train for children's birthday parties and two McDonald's buses, one of which goes to seaside spots in Spain and Italy.

Guests staying at the Zurich Airport hotel are provided real-time flight arrival and departure information. The daily fee for underground parking at that property is $8.50.

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