We are traveling to Swizerland and Austria later this month and need to keep some medicine cold. We are staying in smaller pension type places, not chain hotels. Does anyone know if these kinds of places have refrigerators or ice machines for guests?
The best thing for you to do is ASK. When you make your booking, inquire about a fridge and if they don't have one in the room, they may let you keep your medication in their personal fridge. But, if it's important, you must ask before you book.
I've never stayed in Austria (day trips only from Germany) or Switzerland, but I have never seen an ice machine anywhere in Western Europe. Maybe the large chain hotels have them? Smaller pension type places, probably not. The suggestion to inquire about a refrigerator at each place you have a reservation is a good one. Usually smaller places are very accommodating. Is this your first trip to Europe? I'm asking because of your question about ice. Ice is hard to come by pretty much anywhere.
There was a refridgerator in the Royal Phare in Paris. And access to one in several B&Bs. Definitely email and ask - before you book or well before the cancelation date. I recommend bring packs that you can ask to store in their freezer over-night. Good luck and enjoy the trip!
It is rare except in the higher end hotels to see an ice machine. However, if you are carrying a little freezer bag, you probably can get a couple hand fulls from the owner via their kitchen.
In over thirty trips to Europa, I have only come across one hotel that has ever had an ice machine, and I stay in a variety of different types of hotels from two star to five.
Many hotels have minibars with a refrigerator, although some don't seem to work very well. Put me in the "I've never seen an ice machine in a European hotel" group.
I agree that if it's really important, you should ask. If you are staying in smaller pensions that the owners or managers live in, I expect that you would be able to keep your medicine in their refrigerator. You may be able to have them place a reusable ice block (blue ice type) in their freezer compartment - if they even have one - so you can keep the medication cold while traveling between locations. And I'll join the growing list of "never seen an ice machine" contributors to this post.
I can't recall an ice machine either, but then I've never looked for one. The important thing is to e-mail them, and don't ask for a refrigerator or an ice machine (since, as you can see from the above reply, these things are rare). Specify that you need to keep medicine cold, and ask if they can accommodate that. Most smaller places would probably let you use the staff refrigerator, but it is important to check BEFORE you arrive. If you're having trouble finding places that will help, look for smaller, independent, family run ones, rather than large hotels or chains.
Thank you to everyone who has replied so far. Of course asking is the best solution-I guess I was trying to avoid sending so may e mails! Also, I have never seen ice machines either, but I thought I'd ask here in case a refrigerator is not possible. Anyway, I have already gotten several favorable replies. The hotel staffs so far are willing to let me use their refrigerator.
I injured my shoulder a few years ago just before a trip to Germany. I was given some exercises to do and told to apply ice each day. I took an ice bag and was able to fill it most days that I tried, but not always easily. The hotel owners helped me when they could. They referred me to a nearby Gasthaus once. I finally just gave up.