This famous hotel on the town square has been remodeled since it was first reviewed in 1990 by Gemütlichkeit's Claudia Fischer and Roger Holliday. Then it was owned and operated by the state-run Interhotel organization and an unimpressed Fischer/Holliday gave it a "special DDR rating of two flickering stars." But things have changed. Gone are the tiny black and white TVs and the wild assortment of unmatched towels. The Hotel Elephant, which Hitler visited many times, has returned to five-star, CNN-on-the-cable, glory.

It is interesting to compare its 1930s-style Art Nouveau decor with the Wolff's contemporary version. The Elephant's guestrooms, though large and expensively furnished, are just a bit clunky. The furniture is heavy and bulky, the bathroom tile patterns and colors a bit strange and light fixtures that looked good in the days of the Weimar Republic aren't much to read by. Public rooms, however, are extraordinary and worth a peek, even if you're not staying at the hotel. See the Franz Liszt bar, the Richard Wagner Saal, the library and the Anna Amalia restaurant. (It was she, the Duchess of Saxe-Weimar, who hired the writer Christoph Martin Wieland to tutor her son, Karl August, who in turn convinced Goethe to come to Weimar where he stayed for 57 years.)

This is an expensive, rather impersonal hotel, but full of history. Goethe and Schiller wined and dined here, as did the likes of J.S. Bach, Franz Liszt, Leo Tolstoy, Franz Grillparzer, Richard Wagner, Clara Schumann and, of course, the villain of the century, Mr. H. (Hitler spoke several times from the balcony off room number 128 at the front of the hotel, a suite in which he presumably was a guest.)

Street Address: Markt 19
City: Weimar
Country: Germany
Phone: 011 49 3643 80 20
Fax: 011 49 3643 80 26 10
Quality: Rating: 3 stars
Value: Rating: 2 stars
Price Level: $$$-
Type: Hotel