Our enjoyment of a place is often influenced by our choice of hotels. A nice hotel in a good location can enhance the stay; an awful hotel or one in a bad location can detract. As long-time readers of this blog well know, we generally select hotels using two websites: Wotif.com and TripAdvisor. We book through Wotif or Booking.com. However, in Berlin, we used HotelsClick.com, a site I had never heard of, since it offered the Ritz Carlton for about $100 less per night than other sites.
In Munich, we took advantage (for the very first time) of a special Wotif mystery hotel deal. It guaranteed a five star hotel in a central location for a fixed price, without telling the name of the hotel. Since the only available hotel appeared to be the Sofitel, we took the offer and saved about $110 a night.
A number of our German hotels had some very intriguing design features. For example, the Ritz had a very elaborate bathroom with dual built-in medicine cabinets. In one was a hair dryer and extra electrical outlets; in the other was an illuminated magnifying mirror and extra outlets.
The public areas at the Ritz were almost a bit too ritzy for travelers like us who wore fairly casual clothing during the day; especially when compared to some of the European travelers who looked like they were dressed especially to appear on the hotel website.
However, I really enjoyed the pool area, and was often the only one using the small swimming pool. Fortunately, I did over hear another guest mention that by pushing a button you got a current, like a lap pool. Most other people were not aware of this, and the hotel did not think to put up a sign. Maybe they will if they read this!
Both the Swissotel in Dresden and Sofitel in Munich had clever shower/WC arrangements incorporating glass doors and partitions. The Sofitel had a sliding glass door which served as the WC enclosure or the shower enclosure, depending on use.
The Sofitel also had a pull out desk built into the window sill. It was clever, except at night when the pull-out section interfered with the curtains!
I also have to comment on the Sofitel corridor lighting. What were the designers thinking? The corridors were much too bright, and the elevator lobby was very, very dark. I’m sure it was deliberate, but it didn’t work at all.
On the other hand, the Ritz corridors and suites were very elegant with highly lacquered millwork and lovely detailing.
Our most fascinating hotel experience was in Freiburg. That’s because when we arrived I discovered our reservation was in Freiberg! Who knew there were two Freibu/ergs in Germany? Actually, we knew, since Sally nearly put us on a train in Munich going to Freiberg.
Planning to stay just one night, we ended up picking a nice looking hotel steps away from the train station. I subsequently learned it was the only hotel in Germany known for both its conference and dancing facilities! We didn’t use either.