Readers report on Rostock/Warnemünde and four German castle hotels.
I applaud your recent article on the province of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. This area is popular with Germans but relatively unknown to English-speaking tourists. We have traveled to this region, particularly Warnemünde, for several years, usually in July/August when temps in Rostock/Warnemünde are in the 75°F range. The only English heard on the streets is from cruise ship passengers in town for the day.
The Warnemünde beach is a fine tan sand with the westerly portion of it being clothing optional. This makes eyestrain as much of a problem as sunburn! While the Baltic water seldom warms to 70°F, it is a welcome relief on sunny days. A comfortable way to spend the day is to rent a Strandkorb (about $5/day), a covered two-person settee, usually of wicker, adjustable from a sitting to a reclining position which can be turned to face the sun or away from it if you've had enough for the day. It can also protect from a cool breeze.
Often we have stayed at the excellent small Parkhotel Seeblick (Strandweg 12a-14, 18119 Warnemünde, tel. +49/0381/519550, fax 519 55113), located about one kilometer west of the village center across the promenade from the beach. It has tidy, well-appointed small rooms and a generous buffet breakfast. Prices are from about $64 to $84, depending on room size and view. Parking is about $2.50 per day.
There are many good, reasonable restaurants in Warnemünde. Three of our favorites are the Stranstubchen (east of Luisenstrasse and just south of the promenade and the Seestrasse), the Sealord (about a block south of the lighthouse east of Alexandrinstrasse) and Zum Stromer (Warnemünde's oldest bar located at Am Strom 32, about 2 blocks south of the bridge to the Bahnhof). Two very good beers in the area are the local Rostocker and a regional beer called Lubzer. The community is full of quaint old fishermen's quarters and buildings, and many flowers.
The annual Hanse Sail is held over four days, concluding the second weekend in August. This international sailing festival begins in Sweden, moves to Rostock, then to Gdansk and ends in Norway. Last August some 240 sailing ships were there from all over Europe. The sea was filled with sails as far as the eye could see. One of them was the Russian ship, Cedov, the world's largest sailing vessel. This four-masted giant was built in Germany in 1921 but claimed by the Russians as a war prize at the end of WWII.
Don't miss the magnificent white chalk cliffs on the Island of Rugen, about 80 miles to the east. Wismar, another fine little harbor town, is about 35 miles to the west. Rostock is always full of activity.
German Castle Hotel Report
Berlin and the Art Nouveau (Hotel Art Nouveau, Leibnizstrasse 59, tel. +49/030/327744-0, fax 327744-40). The large, two-room suite was perfect for a four-night stay. Had two fine dinners at nearby Tavolo Calda; excellent, friendly service. Were given a free grappa following the second dinner. Despite windy, rainy weather the Ku'damm was a solid sea of people on a Saturday morning, and trying to get in/out of KaDeWe was like bucking an exit after a Super Bowl game. My wife, who was with Marshall Fields, commented that Chicago/Minneapolis would die for traffic like we saw.
On to Dornroschenschloss Sababurg (Hofgeismar/Sababurg, tel. +49/05671/8080, fax 8082). Had one of the better tower rooms, separate from the main hotel. Decent room—standard bathroom—but no elevator and a lot of stairs. Outstanding restaurant; the best salmon I've ever eaten. Window tables provide stunning parkland/meadow/forest views—one of the best dining-table views we've had. Good breakfast buffet, including eggs to order and the best Brotchen of the trip. No English channels on TV but during WTC hotel staff provided daily CNN.com printouts in English. Great people. Lovely, remote setting. Approach Schloss via long, forested drive. At 390 DM ($180) per night, a bit overpriced vis-à-vis the other three Schlosshotels, but still worth every DM. Must have car.
Parkhotel Wasserburg Anholt (Klever Strasse, D-46419 Isselburg-Anholt, tel. +49/02874/4590, fax 4035) is almost on the German/Holland border, about 25 miles from Arnheim. Truly classic setting in park with formal gardens surrounded by large moat/lake. Relatively modern and tastefully decorated. Had two large rooms with Biedermeier style furnishings. Large bathroom with separate walk-in shower with "rain forest" showerhead, separate toilet/bidet, large freestanding tub. Restaurant good, but not memorable. Above average buffet breakfast. Well worth the $225 per night cost.
Burghotel Schnellenberg (tel. +49/02722/69 40, fax 69 41 69) at Attendorn, 131 kilometers straight east of Düsseldorf. Beautiful forested, rolling countryside. Old and utterly charming Schloss, with the most "castle-like" feeling. Our Audi A4 rental car just squeezed through the stone gateway into a door-side parking area. Restaurant had old hunting lodge feeling; very good but not outstanding. Very good buffet breakfast. A steal at about $170 per night, as overall accommodations equal to Wasserburg but with a more homey feeling. Off the beaten path. We hope to return.
Hotel Auf Schönburg (D-55430 Oberwesel /Rhine, tel. +49/06744/93930, fax 1613) at Oberwesel. Overlooks Rhine from a high bluff. Long walk from the parking lot, baggage can be brought up via cart, but a tough climb for some. No elevator in Schloss and our steep stairs two floors up made me puff. We had one of the larger, "L" shaped doubles. Small balcony with table and chairs overlooking Rhine. One wall was half bookcase which opened to reveal a "secret passage" to the bathroom. The bathroom fell short. Single sink and tub/shower with hose and no curtain; all but impossible to avoid spraying the room. Good restaurant and typical buffet breakfast. At about $170 per night not at all equal to Attendorn, but given the tourist route setting, not an unfair price. Many English-speaking guests but no CNN/BBC.
Last night at Hotel Dreieich (Frankfurter Strasse, D-63225, Langen, tel. +40/06103/9150, fax 52030), just off A661, about 22 kilometers from Frankfurt Airport. Doubles about $88 for a short night's sleep. More expensive airport hotels aren't good value - we'd rather spend for something special, i.e., the Schlosshotels. Fairly modern but no elevator, so we requested in advance a main floor room because of heavy luggage which is repacked on last night. For the second straight year were given a quiet street level two-room apartment, ideal for spreading things out for the final pack. A good buffet breakfast begins at 6am, a good time for those catching mid-morning flights.
Santa Fe, NM
Scores with Hotel Database
Thank you for such an informative newsletter. My wife and I spent Christmas in Germany visiting relatives. While there we met up with other family and friends from the U.S. Our first week was spent with three friends visiting several towns and cities in Southern Bavaria. Your Hotel Database and reviews made me look like a well-seasoned European traveler in the eyes of our friends. The reviews of the Hotel Asam (Munich), Gasthof Fraundorfer (Partenkirchen), and the Reichs-Küchenmeister (Rothenburg) were spot-on. Each of these were excellent establishments with reasonable prices and very accommodating staff. This, combined with the Weihnactsmarkts, Glühwein and snow, made our sight-seeing an incredible experience.
Our visit to Vienna to see my grandfather led us again to the Hotel Database to find Pension Aviano—another wonderful, reasonably-priced establishment with a great staff. All this with a location just a few blocks from the Stephansplatz. Also, your room recommendation was excellent; from the corner room we had a wonderful view of the snow covered Stephansdom while we opened the windows a bit to hear the street performers below playing Christmas music! How's that for atmosphere!!
As I type this, were planning our next trip to Germany and I can assure you that Gemütlichkeit will never be out of arms reach.
Brian & Jean Hill