Our 4 day December experience with this hotel was as follows: First, we have non-current Steves Switzerland book. There is apparently no longer a 5% discount for mentioning Rick Steves. Before leaving, I asked for directions from the rail terminal. They sent a small city map with a dotted line and no street names. I asked again for directions and was told they had sent a map. We arrived after a long trip and asked the clerk for directions to the singing christmas tree. He sent us over mile out of the way to the wrong place. When we got back and I told him what he had done, he just walked away. I asked for an ATM location. He said they would offer cash at ATM rates. He tried to convince me that $0.88 to the dollar was a better deal than $0.95 at the ATM. The room was the size of a large closet and from what we could see this was average. Even though we were at the end of the building, you could still hear the elevator going up and down. On a lesser note, the towels were thread bare and the first batch had holes. The quoted price was without tax and that added another 5CFS per night. I didn't feel this was a good deal for 195CFS/night.
We also had a bad experience at Hotel Bristol in June 2011 and would not recommend it. They refused to honor the 5% discount. The hotel was clean and very convenient to the train station, but I'm sure there are lots of other hotels that fit the same description. The staff appeared bothered by their guests.
Sorry your experience with this Zurich hotel was unpleasant. zurich hotels are too expensive for our budget so therefore we use Priceline. We get the Renaissance for $80 per night. For this rate we got kingsize bed, nice linens, great bathroom, pool, etc. True, it is near the airport (we like this for early flights out) but the tram is just outside the door and you are in the old town in about 20 minutes. The tram opposite of the one going into town puts you at the ap in 5 minutes.
Priceline works well for Zurich hotels if you are not particular about the location. You can get a nice 4-star hotel for a good price, but it likely will not be within walking distance of the train station. "The hotel was clean and very convenient to the train station, but I'm sure there are lots of other hotels that fit the same description." Actually, there are not many. Inexpensive hotels close to the Zurich train station are hard to find. Bristol is one of the least expensive and is nice and modern. One person working the reception desk gets criticized for rudeness on Tripadvisor, but I wouldn't let that put me off this hotel. Here are some representative prices for a "standard" double room in April: Hotel Bristol, 170 CHF; Hotel St. Josef, 210 CHF; Hotel Adler, 230 CHF; Hotel Kindli, 400 CHF and it goes up from there for the Widder, Schweitzerhof, etc. We have stayed in the Bristol, St. Josef, and Adler on various occasions, and much prefer the Adler, but it is located in the Altstadt a bit farther from the train station than the others. Bristol has a nice large, bright quad room on the top floor that is great for families.