By Nikki Goth-Itoi
I boarded a plane to Germany recently, somewhat disappointed to be spending a quick two-day business trip in the rather corporate and unexciting metropolis of Frankfurt. Had I read my itinerary more carefully, however, I would have noticed that Frankfurt proper was not my final destination. In fact, my colleagues and I were headed 30 minutes southwest of the city to the tiny town of Erbach, in the beautiful Rheingau wine country.
Most of my colleagues lodged at the posh Schloss Reinhartshausen, a riverside resort offering a romantic ambiance, complete with fine dining and a luxurious fitness center. But a few of us late arrivals stayed instead at the much more personal and gemütlich Hotel Tillmanns. Though my stay was brief, it was long enough to appreciate the hospitality and small town feel of this friendly inn. I decided that a return trip is a must.
Erbach is situated roughly 40km (25 miles) from Frankfurt, not far from Rüdesheim, but much less crowded with tourists, even in the height of the summer season. Hotel Tillmanns is located a convenient 500 meters from the local train station and only one kilometer from highway A66. The Tillmannses have preserved the traditional character of their French country house while tastefully adding more contemporary interior accents. The tiny lobby is tiled in large black and white squares, and an adjoining breakfast room opens up to a beautiful, sunny terrace. When I arrived, Herr Tillmanns offered a hearty welcome and gladly trekked my bags up a narrow staircase to the second floor.
My double room, Number 11, featured modern furniture and royal blue bath and light fixtures, which added a cheery touch to an otherwise plain and simple room. Two ceiling-high windows gave the room an extra-airy feel, despite the stuffy July weather.
Hotel Tillmanns offers 15 double rooms, all with shower or bath tub, phone, satellite TV, safe, desk, and hair dryer. Each room in the hotel was fully renovated during 1996-97. Numerous wine cellars and restaurants are within walking distance.
• Contact: Familie Tillmanns, Hotel Tillmanns (Garni), Hauptstrasse 2, 65346 Eltville-Erbach, Tel +49-6123-9233-0, fax +49-6123-9233-66, Web: http://www.hotel-tillmanns.de/
Daily Rates: Singles 90 DM ($48), doubles 135 DM ($72)
Rating: Quality 14/20, Value 17/20
Mövenpick Zürich Airport
By Bob Bestor
If you have to stay in a huge airport hotel, the Mövenpick at Zürich's Kloten Airport will make the getting-out-of-town process pretty painless.
We recently had room Number 717 which was imaginatively laid out and well furnished in ultramodern style. The TV could be seen from all angles and carried several English channels including CNBC and CNN. The room was well lit and functional with good work space. There was plenty of room for luggage and an exercise bike was cleverly hidden behind some curtains. Entrance to the granite and marble tiled bathroom was via a heavy, frosted glass door.
There are four restaurants, lobby shops, an indoor pool, and, of course, frequent, free shuttle buses to the airport.
To get downtown via rail, walk to the rear of the hotel and cross the bridge over the Autobahn. On the other side, bear left at the large office building; at the street, go left under the tracks and finally up the stairs to the Balsberg station. The 2nd class one way fare to the Zürich Bahnhof is 5.4 Sfr. ($3.50), a taxi on the other hand is 38 sfr. ($25).
Gemütlichkeit has used this as a "last night" hotel three times and found the staff to be exceptionally friendly and helpful.
The hotel currently offers a 250 Sfr. ($162) corporate rate for both single and double rooms. Ask for it.
• Contact: Mövenpick Hotel Zürich-Airport, Walter Mittelholzerstrasse 8, Glattbrugg, Zürich CH-8152, tel. +41/01/8088888, fax: 8088877,
Rating: Quality 15/20, Value 10/20