BACKGROUND Built in 1913 as a surprisingly attractive goods warehouse and destroyed in 1945 the building remained empty until Maritim purchased the deeds and began constructing it as a hotel in 2004.
WHAT’S IT LIKE? Rooms work all the way around an impressive, 39 metre high vaulted central lobby area. This area is home to reception and a small boutique, as well as several black leather sofas and two glass lifts, which only take you to your floor once you have scanned a room key-card on the in-lift reader.
The lobby is marble floored with some carpets and a central installation of hand crafted wooden models, which I assume are for the festive period only. Three large, slowly rotating chandeliers hang down from the glass skylight. The colour scheme is black and gold with gold framed prints of the hotel building and surrounding historic landmarks of Dresden adorning every floor.
During my stay the hotel was quiet over the weekend but began to fill up on the Sunday as 200 bright young things from Microsoft arrived for a week long conference in the adjoining Congress centre.
WHERE IS IT? On the banks of the river Elbe between the Marien Bridge and Saxony’s House of Parliament the hotel is a ten-minute walk along the river to the main tourist attractions of the compact historic city centre. Taxi fares from the airport are approximately €20 and €8 from the main station.
ROOM FACILITIES I was in Room 614, which was a Superior room with fantastic views over the Elbe with the twinkling bells of the historic centre to my right hand side and the parliament building down below. Windows are double glazed and there was little noise from this side of the building. Rooms have air conditioning and climate control.
The room was a great size (28 sqm) with a long entrance corridor and plenty of wardrobe space, with proper hangers but no ironing board or iron. Patrons can use an iron in the baggage store, which is an odd experience, or send them off for pressing at €6 a shirt. If you deposit things for laundry before 0900 you will have them returned before 1800. The room also included a robe and slippers. The bathroom had a shower, bath and hairdryer with a toilet and bidet separated by a swinging door of frosted glass.
Wifi is available in all rooms for a rate of €4.95 an hour or 600 minutes for €19.95 via a T-Mobile hotspot. Wired LAN connection is also available.
Double beds comprise of two singles pushed together and there were lots of extra pillows. There was 24–hour room service but no tea and coffee-making facilities. Every room has a fully stocked mini bar with wine, spirits, soft drinks and German beers, as well as still and sparkling water.
Other facilities include a telephone with voicemail, laptop sized safe and an old television with Satellite channels including BBC, Bloomberg and Eurosport, as well as pay TV. The sound from the TV filters into the bathroom via a speaker in the ceiling, meaning you can still listen to the radio or the news with the door closed.
RESTAURANTS AND BARS The Wintergarten solely caters for the hotel serving three meals a day with the emphasis on traditional German fare. The dinner menu during my stay included suckling pig knuckle with rutabaga and bacon dumplings, braised goose leg with dumplings and red cabbage, Pike perched on orange with saffron risotto, fennel and lettuce and a parmesan and gorgonzola tart with figs and walnuts.
The restaurant is very large and narrowly stretches along a set of bay windows overlooking the river bank. Wooden booths line the windows and other larger tables populate the rest of the space.
Breakfast is served between 0630 and 1030 and costs €19 per person. It consisted of a fantastic spread of cold cuts, cheese, prawns, smoked salmon Gravlax, crunchy salad, fresh baked bread, yoghurt and fruit. There is an egg station which serves to order, including fantastic omelettes, as well as crispy bacon, waffles and muffins. Tea and coffee is readily brought round by the many members of staff.
The Piano bar is dark and has several different sized booths, all based around the central bar. The cocktail list is extensive and the bar stays open until 0200. Smoking is allowed in the Piano bar.
BUSINESS AND MEETING FACILITIES The adjoining Internationales Congress Centre Dresden opened in 2004 and is owned by the city but managed by Maritim hotels. Split across four interlocking levels the sloping complex can provide meeting capacities for up to 6,800 people in six large halls, eight conference rooms and seven seminar rooms ranging from 30-1,165sqm in size. The great hall is made up of six rooms which are all linked by retractable screens and can accommodate 3,500 people when fully opened out.
The conference centre has a self serving restaurant, bar and terrace area, overlooking the river and historic centre. The decor is wood panelling and stone floors. The conference centre is located at the end of the Marien Bridge linking it easily with the Neurstation. The airport is ten minutes by road, 15 by train and there is underground parking facilities.
The hotel’s executive suites offer small meeting capabilities for around ten people with no other dedicated meeting space in the hotel itself. A business centre is advertised but really comprises of a single small room with a computer, printer and fax machine.
LEISURE FACILITIES The wellness centre is located on the lower ground floor and is served by a dedicated wellness lift which is on the opposite side of the lobby from the main lifts. This area includes a fitness centre with a multi gym, cross trainer, treadmill and exercise bike, a 10 x 8m swimming pool, plenty of lounge beds and a sauna, steam room and solarium. Bicycles are available to rent for a ride down the cobbled bank of the river.
VERDICT An old fashioned approach to decor and service results in an unexciting but highly consistent product with high standards for comfort, convenience and service. This is a fantastic conferencing hotel that isn’t too far from the tourist draw of the historic city centre.
HOW MANY ROOMS 328 including: A Presidential suite, five executive suites, 24 junior suites, nine business suites, 63 elegant superior rooms, 115 comfort and 110 standard rooms. 255 non-smoking rooms and 73 smoking rooms in all categories.
ROOM HIGHLIGHTS Spacious with stunning views if you are on the river side of the building.
PRICE Room rates start from €114 in a classic-single room and €148 in a classic-double room. Day delegate rates start from €49 and 24 hour delegate rates from €870.
CONTACT Ostra-Ufer 2 / Devrientstr. 10 – 12 01067; UK Sales Office tel. 0208 545 69 10; www.maritim.com