16 December 2009

Sweet Stay: Steigenberger Hotel de Saxe, Dresden, Germany

Since I mentioned I would be writing/blogging about "sweet stays" I've enjoyed while traveling, I thought it was time I wrote about some. I decided to start in Dresden since I was most recently there and had a very very sweet stay indeed. I was at the Steigenberger Hotel de Saxe, in the same square as the Frauenkirch and overlooking the Neumarkt. But part of the sweet experience for me, I admit, was the service I received. Including that luxurious amenity called: "Room Service". For the record, I have occasionally had room service -- coffee in the morning delivered with some pastries. But I have never had a full blown meal brought to my room.
Doesn't this look cozy? It was. The whole scenario was right out of a movie. Complete with that silver dome lid over my pasta with pesto and parmesan and a vase containing one long stemmed single pink rose! The bellhop wheeled in the trolley and even poured my beer! (Please note: there may be two robes and slippers on those beds but it was just me in the room. Just in case anyone is wondering.)

Here's the story: I left Frankfurt on the train at 7 for Dresden, dragging a HUGE HEAVY suitcase (it was so heavy it had to have its own ticket--like being shipped-- on a local flight I had come in on from Madrid.) NEVER AGAIN will I travel with such a huge suitcase. Rosemary, Angie: I am not kidding, never again.
Okay, part of the reason it was so heavy: I bought some bottles of this fantastic herbal liqueur in Santiago de Compostela, Spain (see photo below). How 'bout 3 bottles? They told me it gave you sweet dreams (and it really did)

At any rate, despite the suitcase, I discovered I love German trains. At the Frankfurt airport, it was easy to find the train station (across the street).
The train was fabulous--German trains are right on time, clean and wonderful. But hauling that suitcase on and off was a total nightmare. Luckily, some nice gentlemen helped me along the way.
I arrived at Dresden about 11:30 at night-- and the train station was deserted. Even so, I have to say, it was not at all scary--in fact I actually enjoyed wandering through that quiet ancient station after all the hectic-ness of the day. I felt as if I were living in another life. If only that other life included a butler (to carry my suitcases.)
Outside the door, there were three taxis, with three taxi drivers standing around waiting for late arrivals. They spoke little English, but one came and got my suitcases to take to the first taxi. When he lifted the big suitcase, I apologized, "oh, it's very heavy" I said. He agreed. "Do you have rocks in there?" (He knew more English than I realized.)
Approximately, 5 minutes later I was at the Steigenberger hotel and checked in. When I asked if there were any places around where I could get a sandwich, the clerk (who spoke very good English) shook her head. I wasn't too disappointed. I was tired, and it was late--and I wanted to see my room. I love hotel rooms. And I really love beautiful European hotel rooms. The kind with windows that crank open and tile bathrooms and comfy robes. The Steigenberger did not disappoint! And then! I no sooner got to my room and a phone call: the clerk had found a place that offered to make me something to eat. Would I like a pesto pasta dish or a potato soup? I ordered the pasta. Would I like anything to drink? Because I was in Germany and it was my first time in Germany, I ordered a beer. For the record: the pasta was perfect, the beer was perfect. It was one of the best meals I have ever had at a hotel. I'm totally serious.
For dessert, awaiting me on a table (it had been brought to my room earlier) was this:

How sweet is that?
In the morning, I opened my window to this view:

It was a blue sky, I could hear the church bells. Then I had breakfast at the hotel. That's when I knew this was truly a sweet hotel.

First I had a slice of this Eierschecke. It is a cross between a custard and a cake and it is delicious. I ate the tip of the pie before I photographed it. I just couldn't wait. Unfortunately, now all my photos of this cake have the tip missing. (Please note, fresh red roses on the table. Also, that oj in the stemmed glass. Yes. How do you say Mimosa in German? (The Germans know how to start the day right.)
This is the exterior of the hotel. I discovered there was a bakery around the corner.

It even had a take/out window. Hotel location is everything.
In the morning, I went on a tour of the area near the hotel. Another hotel near by is where President Obama stayed when he was here this past spring. The Dresdeners were extremely proud of the fact that Obama visited their city. (And I was proud to say again that I was from "America.") Here's the hotel Obama stayed at while he visited Dresden.

In fact, they were so proud of his visit, I even got to see the room he stayed in while at the hotel.

I thought my room was just as nice though! Although he had a nicer sitting area.

Note the dining area behind the sitting area.

In the morning, this was Obama's view. Almost as nice as the view from my hotel room. Sorry, prez.

For more information: www.steigenberger.com; check the reviews on tripadvisor too--they say it all.