Our place of refuge for three nights in Strasbourg is well located just south of the River Ill and equidistant between the Petit France and the cathedral. The Dragon takes modernism to a new extreme. Originally a number of private apartments annexed to the 17th-century home of the Dragon family, the hotel today consists of two parts separated by the lobby.

Our room was on the smaller side and reached by a slightly tricky winding staircase. Rooms on the other side do have elevator service, though. Number 16 is a good-sized corner room looking over a quiet street—if you stretch the cathedral spires can be seen in the distance. The color scheme, if that's an appropriate term, is white accented by various shades of gray and creates an atmosphere that's serene and restful, if not exactly cheerful. The decor, including the artwork, is actively modern but extremely functional. The full bathroom—gray and white, of course—is up-to-date and, best of all, is supplied with very large, very thick white bath towels. Further examination showed our room to be similar in style and decor to the other 30.

The continental breakfast, which is not included in the room cost, features orange juice, a basket of top quality bread, butter, jam and little packets of cheese or meat spread. It's fairly typical in France for breakfast to be an extra charge but in reality one does pay for breakfast even when it's included in the room cost. This way at least you have a choice as to whether you want it or not.

If guest rooms at the Dragon are fairly unremarkable, the rest of the place more than makes up for it. While studying the prints and various pieces of sculpture as well as the unusual lighting fixtures and lamps in the public rooms and lobby, we slowly began to perceive a theme. Chairs! Paintings of chairs, photographs of chairs, sculpted chairs, big chairs, little chairs, real chairs and toys chairs, all clever and innovative and endlessly fascinating. And all brought together by Pierre Iannarelli, the Dragon's engaging proprietor. Never have we been so well attended by a hotel owner. Not a hint of gush or schmooze but a genuine interest in our well-being led to a series of unbeatable restaurant recommendations.

Every evening he sent us in a different direction and each morning at breakfast we were grilled about what we'd had to eat the night before. We learned to come prepared. On our last night, Pierre opened a lovely bottle of Pinot Noir and we sat together in the tiny garden in front of the hotel, sipping and talking. Pierre, perhaps best described as a sprite in pointed hat and rumpled (gray) sweater, is a former public works engineer from Paris who opened the Dragon in 1987. But don't wait too long to visit him. His retirement dream is to run a small hotel in the south of France.

Street Address: 12, Rue du Dragon
City: Strasbourg
Country: France
Phone: +33 (0)3 88 35 79 80
Fax: +33(0)
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Quality: Rating: 2 stars
Value: Rating: 3 stars
Price Level: $$--
Type: Hotel