Hotel am Luisenplatz
The Hotel am Luisenplatz is a charming Italian-style palace built in 1726 and converted in 1997 to a four-star hotel. Upscale furniture is new as of November 2002. With just 25 guestrooms, all of them spacious and sumptuous, the hotel offers personal and cordial service right down to the hotel dog, Boy, who greets guests and, with tail wagging, makes sure they arrive safely at their rooms. Inside rooms overlook the courtyard and hotel garden. Outside rooms view the Luisenplatz fountain, the Brandenburg Gate (Potsdam's, not Berlin's) and Sanssouci Park. Room 11 has three large, bright windows to the park, with a balcony hidden behind the balustrade. Room 74 is the largest, a suite with a spacious bedroom with work area, a kitchen with skylight, and a huge living room.
The hotel also runs the adjacent Bed & Breakfast am Luisenplatz with smaller rooms, fewer amenities and super prices.
Daily Rates: Singles €79-109, doubles €119-139, suites €129-169. Bed & Breakfast building: singles €49, doubles €69.
Rating: Quality 15/20 Value 16/20
Wohnen+Arbeiten, Das KleineApartment Hotel im Hollaender Haus
Hollaender House is in the heart of the Dutch Quarter, a red-brick, 18th-century building given 21st-century pizazz. Though some of the oldest parts of the building still retain a Baroque character, the architect team that owns the hotel has created five showpiece apartments that recently made the pages of the German edition of Architectural Digest. The units are upscale, upbeat and fun.
The spaces are bright, spacious and airy - long, loft-like rooms with living areas set off by freestanding, box-like modules. Furniture and design are ultramodern. Unit 16 is on two-levels with kitchen and bath downstairs, living room and bedroom upstairs and a balcony overlooking the courtyard. Unit 25, a top-floor room with skylight, presents an 18th-century view over the rooftops of the Dutch Quarter.
While there's no room service or 24-hour reception, guests can enjoy a sauna and a bar. All rooms have kitchens. A nice touch, even for those who stay but a short time, is that your name goes on the doorbell. For travelers mixing business with pleasure, the Hollaender House also rents short- and long-term office space, conference rooms and provides secretarial service.
Contact: Wohnen+Arbeiten, Das Kleine Apartment Hotel im Hollaender Haus, Kurfürstenstrasse 15, D-14467 Potsdam, tel. +49/0331/279 11 0, fax 279 11 1
Daily Rates: €100 to 180 per unit, depending on size; weekly rates €450-810. Breakfast €8. Bike rentals €7.50
Rating: Quality 15/20 Value 15/20
Hotel Vivaldi Garni
In 1750, Frederick the Great built a settlement for Bohemian weavers in Potsdam. The enclave, known as Old Nowawes, consisted of small two-family homes with residential spaces and workshops. Today, the neighborhood has become a meeting and living place for today's "Bohemians", sort of an 18th-century SoHo. A group of the houses surrounding a quiet, cobblestone courtyard has become the Hotel Vivaldi. The building's exteriors maintain the historic feeling, while interiors have been renovated into spacious, modern guest rooms. Room five is especially bright and spacious with a terrace to the courtyard.
The Vivaldi, two long tram stops away from the central Old Town, is a good bet for guests who want to be even farther off the beaten path or who want to save a few dollars off the more central hotels.
Contact: Hotel Vivaldi Garni, Karl-Liebknecht-Strasse 24, D-14482 Potsdam, tel: +49/0331/74906-0, fax 74906-16.
Daily Rates: Singles from €70, doubles from €80
Rating: Quality 14/20 Value 15/20
Cecilienhof, in the heart of the New Garden, is perhaps Potsdam's most historic hotel. It was a Hohenzollern residence until 1945, a prestigious hotel in GDR times, and the site of the Potsdam Conference. To blend with the manor house's English style, the management chose an English interior design for the 1995 renovation. The decor features soft pastels, linen fabrics, parchment lampshades, and carpets specially woven to blend with themes of parks and gardens.
The 41 guest rooms are elegant and, despite the extensive renovations, still feel rich with history. Most have views to one of the palaces five courtyards, to the park or to the lake. Those who wish to splurge a bit can certainly take advantage of the hotels expansive (and expensive) suites, like Room 40 - the Prince's Room - once the living area for the Hohenzollern children. (President Bush stayed in Room 44.) But doubles like Number 29, a spacious room with a brick fireplace (not functioning), view to the park and large bathroom, will be just fine for most folks. Although the double rooms and suites are expensive, the single rooms - once the bedrooms of unmarried women staying overnight - are quite reasonable. Travelers who favor palace hotels will like the Cecilienhof just fine. Others may find the historic, manorial setting a bit overpowering. If mobility is an issue, specify the first floor (Erdgeschoss), since there are no elevators.
Contact: Schlosshotel Cecilienhof, Neuer Garten, D-14469 Potsdam, tel. +49/0331/37050, fax 292498.
Daily Rates: Singles €110-135, doubles €300-430, suites from €450
Rating: Quality 17/20 Value 15/20