Vienna Hotel, Restaurant
In planning our September, 98 trip to Vienna, I found your usual hotel recommendations full so decided to try the Best Western affiliate, primarily because of its location. Hotel Reither, on Graumanngasse 16-18, is a family-run (three Reither brothers), modern hotel with enough Austrian flavor to be very comfortable. The U4-U6 underground station at Langenfeld, (two stops east of Schönbrunn Palace) is a short walk and there is easy access to either the A-l Autobahn to Salzburg or A-2 to Graz.
We have been using the Best Western guide for Europe and have been pleasantly surprised at the quality and convenient locations of the hotels. I expected them to be overrun with bus loads of tourists, but have not found that to be so.
While in Vienna we happened onto a wonderful restaurant for dinner, Zum Kuckuck, Himmelpfortgasse 15. This small (11 tables) restaurant is about two blocks off Kärntner Strasse near the Stephans Dom. The duck breast was perfect and the service could not have been better.
Michigan City, IN
(One of our favorite Vienna hotels, the Römischer Kaiser, is a Best Western. Zum Kuckuck is another favorite Ed)
Wolff's Art Hotel, Weimar
For a number of years, we have depended on Gemütlichkeit for recommendations on places to visit and hotels to stay. Your stories on Weimar last year convinced us to visit there and try Wolff's Art Hotel. It turned out to be a most enjoyable experience! We stayed in room Number 2 which, as you reported, was light and airy and most comfortable. The hotel decorations are charming.
As reported in your story, Weimar is Europe's Cultural Capital for 1999. As a result, the hotel's owner, Dr. Wolff, emphasized that it is important to make reservations for Weimar well in advance. We concur wholeheartedly with your selection of Wolff's as your "Hotel of the Year" for 1997!
We also took your advice on the Hotel-Restaurant Schloss Berg, on Lake Starnberg near Munich. It also was a very enjoyable experience. It snowed the night we arrived. The next morning we awakened to a winter wonderland. A beautiful sight. We chose to stay in room Number 42 in the building on the hill. It was large, nicely decorated and very comfortable with a beautiful view of the restaurant and lake. The food in the restaurant was delicious and reasonably priced. The staff was very courteous and helpful. We were able to obtain the 10% discount for Gemütlichkeit readers by showing a copy of your May 97 issue. It was well worth the detour.
Another hotel we chose was the Romantic Hotel Deutsches Haus in Pirna (about 20 km South of Dresden). The hotel is charming with an excellent restaurant. Pirna is an old historic city which was allowed to deteriorate under the Communist government. They are now restoring it and have made good progress. We rode the train into Dresden for sight-seeing. It is only a 25-minute trip. The next day, we explored Swiss Saxony. Pirna is a wonderful location for visiting sights in the entire area. Our room at the Deutsches Haus was 173 DM ($102) per night. Dinner for two with wine was about 70 DM ($42). We highly recommend this hotel!
Capt. & Mrs. Robert R. Fargo
Swiss Hotel Comments
Just "checking in" to report on a recent five-week stay in Switzerland.
Unfortunately, the trip began disastrously. I flew very comfortably in Swissair's Business Class but shortly after arrival began to experience stomach problems. Fortunately, I was staying with friends in the town of Wil, near St. Gallen, because I became violently ill and had to be taken to the hospital by ambulance. I was hospitalized for five days - not a happy experience in a foreign country; though the care was excellent and up-to-date. The diagnosis was a severe intestinal infection.
I spoke to Swissair which investigated with the proper people in Los Angeles but no one else on the flight had reported any problem.
The few days in Zürich were again spent at the Hotel Storchen. It is quite expensive but the excellent location in the heart of the city, the terrace overlooking the Limmat river (lovely in warm weather) and the excellent breakfasts make it worthwhile.
In Lugano, I spent 10 days at the Romantik Hotel Ticino (my first try there) which is in the very heart of the old town and only a short distance from the lake. This hotel is also very pricey and I am not sure it is worth it. The room was small though certainly adequate (no TV). I opted for half-board and the meals were excellent, varied and elegantly served. Also very expensive. The one drawback was that the front desk was never staffed. Mr. Buchmann, the owner, was always busy in the kitchen and Mrs. Buchmann rarely appeared until the evening.
Prices in Switzerland continue to be very high even with the improved dollar exchange rate - $35 to have a pant-suit and top cleaned, $80 for a haircut, shampoo and color, and expensive meals even in medium-priced restaurants. My Swiss friends all tell me that they never go to restaurants anymore because of the high cost.
The night before my return flight home I stayed at the Mövenpick Hotel at the airport which offered a large, comfortable room for 250 Sfr. ($175), but mediocre food.
And would you believe that the trip ended in disaster too? As I attempted to board the hotel bus to the airport, with nothing to hold on to, a very high step and no driver around to assist me, I slipped and hit my leg against the metal step. It bled profusely and all I could do at that stage was get some band-aids at the airport shop. Three days later the wound was still bleeding so I needed to see my doctor. You might be amused to hear that I wrote to the Mövenpick to report what happened. They answered very promptly and apologized for the incident, sending me a package of band-aids!!!!!!
Incidentally, I took a full day bus tour from Lugano to Milano but found it extremely exhausting and devoting too much time to the city after the formal sight-seeing tour ended.
I enjoy your newsletter and will continue to do so even though my overseas trips are a thing of the past.
Susi E. Kanuch
Van Nuys CA