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Art Theft

Morgenstimmung am Rhein in Basel c Basel TourismusMorgenstimmung am Rhein in Basel - Image courtesy Basel Tourismus

For the first time, we visited BASEL this year for the Art Fairs, and no doubt about it, Art | Basel has to be one of, if not, the best Art Fair we’ve ever experienced. Every detail was perfect, from gallery presentations, to the Art on display, to the way in which the press desk operates and assists at every turn, to the huge installations in ‘UNLIMITED’. It was magic, BASEL is magic.

What your not expecting when you return to your hotel after a full day gathering market info and intelligence to report, is for someone to enter your room using a duplicate hotel issued key, with unique magnetic signature, and to steal your professional camera, while you’ve popped out for a quick bite to eat, late at night.


According to official hotel data base records, at 23.37 on 16 June, someone entered our hotel room (twice), they stole our professional camera, which held about 120 images; all the images we’d shot so far on the trip. This kind of occurrence coming completely out of left field, pretty much puts a grey cloud over a whole trip. So much so, that actually, it’s impossible to report on the Fair, or write an overview of the BASEL experience without those images. We could use images from the Fair image banks, but it’s not the same, and, the camera is gone, and what is effectively your home for almost a week in Switzerland, actually suffered a break in, and entry.

Being optimists, we were hopeful that the CEO of the hotel chain might get on this for us, and get that camera back, fast. In the back of one’s mind, and from previous experience, you kind of think that the Swiss are really nice decent people, and that they would do all they could to help.

No such luck, with what appears to be a cover up mentality. 


During almost a weeklong term of correspondence and phone calls with the CEO of the hotel chain, Mr. Eric Fassbind obfuscated, ducked, weaved, and lied to us in writing. 

Fassbind did everything he could to avoid handling this in a responsible and professional manner. Our advice for anyone travelling to Zurich (or Lausanne where his other hotel is situated) is stay well clear of Mr. Eric Fassbind's hotels, until they get to the bottom of this.


Given the perceived nature of this cover up, one wonders why he gives aid and shelter to criminal actions? He prefers to do nothing, than deal hands on with a really serious situation for his hotel, his staff, and his guests / clients. The Swiss getting rid of sweep it under the rug menatility, and instead tackling crime head on should be addressed. This incident has been reported to the Zurich Police.

Under the current circumstance, Eric Fassbind's hotels are simply not safe venues to stay at.

We were in Switzerland because our tourism idea of the Art Shows is a lot of fun and well worth covering. Except for the experience at this hotel chain, I'd say definitely go back, as it's well worth a repeat visit.

Switzerland is great, Zurich is stunning, Art Basel is magical, but avoid BYFassbind hotels.

First published: 2015-06-26


About the Author

Elliot Lee

Elliot Lee

Elliot Lee founded his antique business in 1994. Having bought his first Antique piece at the tender age of eleven, it has since then been his passion for Antiques, Fine Art, and aesthetically beautif...