Below are a few of the many wonderful hotels we have
found in Europe. They are at least four-star properties
and selected not only for their inherent quality, but
also for their strategic locations: each make excellent
way stations for day trips to important sites nearby.
You may be surprised to find Marriott's name
popping up frequently in the list. The simple fact is
that Marriott offers a consistency of quality and service
throughout the world that never seems to let you down.
And in locations, such as Paris, where hotel rates for
fine accommodations are simply astronomical, Marriott
Neuilly is one of Europe's best kept secrets.
Here is a little tip that will save you a great deal
of money when traveling in Europe: Join your local AAA
before leaving. That may sound a bit strange, but their
little plastic credit card will get you discounted rooms
in most world chain hotels, including Best Western,
Clarion, Hilton, Holiday Inn, Sheraton, Hyatt, Radisson
Ritz-Carlton, Marriott and many European chains. The
cost for a year's AAA membership can be recouped from
the savings in a few days' stay at any one of these
properties. These folks are also a very good resource
for routes, maps, sights, etc., and you have one year
of AAA service back home!
Please note that the links provided below also may
change at any time. If a link does not work correctly,
try going to its root. For example, in the case of http://www.vjz.de/e/index.html,
try going to www.vjz.de and
wander around from there. The prices below were offered
for the arbitrary period, July 9-12, 2005 for two
persons and, of course, can and will change. In
all instances, we try to only include links directly
to the property. We detest intermediary hotel brokers
who will not show you the actual site for a property
nor provide you with their address, telephone numbers,
etc. Book directly with the property, noting any deep
discounts you have found on the Internet. Hotels will
usually honor whatever you can substantiate.
Vier Jahreszeiten Hotel am Schluchsee
Summer 2008: 115-130 EUR Including Breakfast & Dinner in your choice
of three restaurants
Here is an opportunity to experience a genuine German
Black Forest Resort. Situated on the edge of the Schluchsee,
it is the perfect location to explore the Black Forest
and neighboring French Alsace. Some of the most perfectly
preserved medieval towns in Europe are less than 45
minutes from the resort. Do not miss the town of Riquewhir.
Indoor and outdoor pools, tennis and onsite restaurants
make this a wonderful pause in your touring.
Summer 2008: 184-264EUR Including Breakfast & Dinner
Located about two miles from downtown Berchtesgaden
and about the same distance to the Konigsee, the Alpenhof
is simply the friendliest place you will ever stay.
It is a full-service resort complete with indoor and
outdoor pools, saunas, tennis and a terrific restaurant.
Be sure to take the half-board option that gives you
breakfast and a four-course dinner of your choice. Go
there once, and you will find yourself making plans
to revisit year after year.
Salzburg is about 20 minutes away, making it a perfect
day trip. The local salt mine is fascinating as is the
Obersalzberg Region with many remnants of the Third
Reich still there for your inspection. The bus ride
up Kehlstein (The Eagle's Nest) is worth the entire
visit. An afternoon ride on the Konigsee is about as
perfect as life ever gets.
Castles in Germany
Germany has an abundance of castles with accommodations.
You should try to fit at least one into your travel
plans. The above site will get you started, but there
are many organizations representing handfuls of castles,
each group being somewhat independent of the others.
This is where the Internet comes in handy. Make searching
for hotels enjoyable!
Everybody stays in Heidelberg when they visit central
Germany. No one thinks to look a little bit farther
outside the town. Castle Hirschhorn is located about
12 miles outside of Heidelberg along the banks of the
Neckar. The road between Heidelberg and Hirschhorn is
worth the visit.
Renaissance Riessersee Hotel Garmisch-Partenkirchen
Summer 2008: Quality Room 129-199 EUR
Garmisch-Partenkirchen (two conjoined towns) is one
of the two or three most beautiful regions in Germany.
Perfectly located, you can make easy day trips to Oberammergau,
Neuschwanstein, Austria and even Munich (only about
45 Autobahn miles away). In addition, Garmisch itself
offers incredible sights, including the Zugspitze, Germany's
highest mountain. The cable car to the top is really
The Renaissance Riessersee Hotel is in and of itself
a place of genuine beauty. It sits hidden on the slopes
of the nearby Zugspitze, overlooking the Garmisch valley.
Walk out of the hotel and over to a restaurant about
30 seconds away, and you find yourself sitting outside
at a lakeside table looking out upon maybe the most
beautiful lake in the world. This hotel happens to be
a Marriott property as well. Don't miss their Friday
night barbeque. God, I love that place!
Marriott Heidelberg Hotel
Summer 2008: Quality Room 152-199 EUR (sleeps 3)
Situated along the banks of the Neckar, this hotel
is an excellent location from which to see the region.
The Concierge Lounge boasts a rooftop patio that looks
out at the city and the enormous castle.
Munich Marriott Hotel
Summer 2008: 149-195 EUR
Quality Room 159 EUR (sleeps 4) Munich is the capital
of Bavaria, big and bustling. The Munich Marriott is
a quiet oasis north of the city center near the Englischer
Garten and just off Leopoldstrasse. The subway is only
about a block away for those who don't want to fight
Munich's parking problems. The hotel also features Champions,
an American Sportsbar and Restaurant. If your all Schnitzeled
out by this point in your travels, nothing is quite
as nice as some goof old American Philly Cheese Steaks,
Hotel Bayerischer Hof in Oberstaufen / Allgäu
Looking for a place in between Neuschwanstein (The castles)
and the Bodensee? Looking for a quiet Bavarian retreat?
This is it. Cozy, classy, friendly.
Summer 2008: 98 EUR including Breakfast
The Rheinland Pfalz is perhaps the most overlooked
region in Germany for tourism. Given the fact that the
Deutsche Weinstrasse (German Wine Road) runs right up
the middle of it, you would think that it would be filled
with tourists. Wrong. Except for the Wine Festivals
that take place every weekend in different towns in
the region, the weekdays are rather quiet. There
are villages that rival even the heavily touristed towns
of Rothenburg o.d.T., Dinkelsbuehl, etc. Do not miss
Bad Durkheim, Deidesheim, St. Martin, Maikammer, Freinsheim,
Wachenheim. And the vineyards, beautiful with small castles
and ruins everywhere.
Klostermühle is a family-run fully-functioning farm
with attached hotel. Nestled in the countryside, it
is just a few kilometers from two major Autobahns that
will take you for day trips north to the Rhein, east
to Heidelberg, south into the Pfalz vineyards, and
west into France. Quiet, charming and
unbelievably friendly and warm. The restaurant serves
the finest regional dishes to be found anywhere in the Pfalz.
You would have a hard time finding a better restaurant
Amsterdam Renaissance Amsterdam Hotel
Summer 2008: Quality Room 215 EUR
Just like any other major city with lots to see and
do, you're better off being reasonably near the city
center. Here you can walk to Annie Frank's House, Canal
Cruises, Dam Square and the Royal Palace.
Amsterdam Marriott Hotel
Quality Room 210 EUR (sleeps 4)
OK, so this hotel is a bit out of the city center. However,
its claim to fame is in the fact that it's nearby the
Rijksmuseum and Van Gogh Museum. (They really take Van
Gogh seriously there.)
Chateaux of France
The Germans have Schlosses - castles. So do the French,
but they call 'em chateaus. For whatever reason, the
German castles are big, heavy and kind of creepy. Better
you go look for the ice machine in the middle of the
night. I'm not leaving my room!
Chateaus, on the other hand, are usually magnificent,
landscaped to death and romantic beyond words. And the
things are seemingly everywhere, with the greatest concentration
in the Loire Valley. They are usually somewhat hidden
from obvious view, but usually welled signed. Stay in
at least one chateau while in France. Your wife/girlfriend
will thank you appropriately.
We include our favorite chateaus below.
Courtyard Paris Neuilly
Summer 2008: King Bed Room 239 EUR/ Suite (sleeps
4) 384 EUR
Here is probably the best-kept secret in Paris: the
Marriott Courtyard in Neuilly. The suburb of Neuilly
is one of the most beautiful and upscale in Paris. The
hotel sits on Boulevard Victor Hugo, a lovely tree-lined
street of townhouses and expensive apartments. You can
park right on the street in front of the hotel - unheard
of in Paris.
The hotel has standard Marriott-type rooms and suites,
the latter accommodating four people. This may seem
silly to you as you read this, but the hotel is air-conditioned.
Keep in mind that the temperature in Paris during the
past two summers has been so hot that they trucked in
sand and created beaches for tanning along the Seine.
Try sleeping in a hotel without ac when it's 102 degrees
Neuilly is absolutely safe day and night and you can
walk to more than a dozen restaurants in the area, populated
by genuine Parisians, not tourists. Try the restaurants
on île de la Jatte, an island in the Seine less than
a mile from the hotel. Very romantic.
The hotel is exactly 5 minutes by car to the Arc d'Triomphe
and about 7 minutes from the Eiffel Tower. The subway
is a few minutes walk from the hotel. Actually, driving
in Paris is not all that difficult. Once you get a feel
for the lay of the land, you will find that driving
allows you to get to many more sights.
Standard Room 165 EUR
Don't want to be in Paris? About midway between Paris
and Chartres lies Chateau d'Esclimont. That's about
20 miles from Paris and about 12 miles from Versailles.
Quiet, classy with a surrounding park that is superb.
The restaurant is an experience in and of itself.
Chateau des Monthairons
170 EUR with Breakfast
Now this is the kind of chateau you've always hoped
your husband would take you to. Quietly sitting along
the Meuse River, it is truly one of life's great experiences
to awaken there and open ten foot high windows looking
out on the mist of the Meuse Valley.
Verdun lies about six miles to the north. The battlefields
of the First and Second World Wars, including a tour
of the Maginot Line and Underground fortifications make
up a perfect day tour. To make matters even more interesting,
the Chateau lies on the road to the little town of Domremy-la-Pucelle,
the birthplace of Joan of Arc. Her childhood home, the
Site of her Vision, are all still there and sufficiently
out of the way so that most tourists never get there.
And to return each evening to your very own French
chateau. Simply marvelous.
Expensive? Worth every penny.
Chateau De Sully
Here's your chateau while you're visiting the sites
along the coast of Normandy. Bayeux, Caen, the Cemeteries,
Arromanches, Mont St. Michel are all with easy and immediate
See Berchtesgaden, Germany
Grand Hotel Beau Rivage
Renaissance Zurich Hotel
Quality Room CHF 261.00
If Zurich is your arrival or departure point, this
is a very handy hotel. It is located just 3 miles from
the airport. It is, however, virtually impossible to
find left to your own devices. It's best to ask directions
of the locals every few blocks or so. But once you've
found it, you'll wonder why it was so difficult the
The northern Italian region that is home to the
Dolomites is simply the most beautiful Alpine area in
all of Europe. Oddly enough, it is visited by very few
non-Europeans who usually race through it via the
Brenner Pass and Autostrada on their way from Austria to
central Italy. The region is known by many names: in
German and Ladin it is Südtirol, in Italian it is
Alto Adige. People in the region speak Italian,
German and in a few areas, Ladin.
The most stunning vistas in the Dolomites are to be
found in Alta Badia, in and around the villages of
Corvara, La Villa and Colfosco. It seems that God placed
this landscape here for the private enjoyment of
Europeans both in summer and winter. In winter it is a
Mecca for all forms of snow worship; in summer, it is
the cosmic center of hiking and biking. The views are so
overpowering that you will be sadly disappointed with
the rest of the Alps, if you are heading in that
direction after your visit to the Alto Adige.
Hotel La Perla
Summer 2008: 136-266 EUR per person, including breakfast and dinner
La Perla is truly a pearl. I know of no another hotel
in Europe that is so astoundingly comfortable and more
inviting. It is really not just a hotel, rather it is an
experience that remains with you for probably the rest
of your life. Owned by the Costa family, the hotel's
website is unlike any other hotel site you will ever
visit. At one point the site proclaims, "Your
enchanted kingdom really does exist! Ernesto and Anny
Costa, together with their children, have worked to
create the magnificent kingdom they have always dreamed
of..." And you know what? That's an
understatement to put it mildly. It is a kingdom unto
itself. The rooms are immaculate, spacious and
Space here prevents me from writing the volumes that
this hotel deserves. The decor, the attention to detail,
the food, the wine cellar, the views, each merit a
paragraph of their own. However, I must say that the
included half-board evening meal is unequaled anywhere
we have ever visited; the wine cellar is ranked among
the top ten in Europe, filled to the ceiling with the
rarest wines you will ever encounter, including
thousands of bottles of Sassicaia, the rarest of all
Tuscan reds. The wine cellar features a kneeling pew
allowing you to pray to Bacchus, the god of wine. Every
element of the hotel carries emotional undertones and
echo the love and care the owners invest in their
Here's the deal: If you would like an experience you
will NEVER forget, include LA Perla. You may email the
hotel and direct your inquiry to Stephanie who will
offer you a special rate available to our customers
Rome Marriott Grand Hotel Flora
Junior Suite 675 EUR (Sleeps 3)
Superior Room 325 EUR
It does not get much better than this in Rome or anywhere
else for that matter. Absolute class, absolute quality.
Situated in the Villa Borghese Gardens, this is a very
You will thank me for finding one of the few hotels
in Rome with a complete outdoor swimming pool, bar,
restaurant. After touring all day in Rome, there's nothing
quite like returning to this wonderful oasis. Expensive?
How often are you in Rome?
Need your own villa in Tuscany? Here's the real deal
located in about the most perfect town you'll ever find.
Nestled in the hills of Tuscany is the 17th Century
villa that is everything you've imagined. The view from
the patio restaurant, overlooking Siena, is to die for.
The rooms are immaculate, the dining, well, a major
Renaissance Naples Hotel Mediterraneo
Quality Room 243 EUR