The Hotel Kasteel Bloemendal in Vaals (in Holland, close to the German border) is like an aging, once-dashing bachelor: Uncle Theo. He was very handsome in his young days, and still wears a silk cravat. His tweedy jackets are a little frayed, and the cravat has seen better days. There’s still a shadow of the young man, but there’s now nothing to hide the cruel fact that he’s not very smart, or very rich.
The Bloemendal is an imposing building, with a red carpet winding up the stairs to the lobby. My room was large, but the carpet was worn. There was a kettle in cupboard – ah, so nice to be able to make some rooibos tea! – but no notepad on the desk. There was a phone with a modem jack, but it was next to the bed, on the other side of the room from the desk.
The Meridien Hotel on Piccadilly, on the other hand, is a Lout in Livery. The interior design is wonderful: flair, taste, sophistication. The serving staff, on the other hand, is young, unenthusiastic, and clumsy. I had dinner in the fancy Terrace Restaurant; my server had body odor and a flippant attitude. I will grant them, though, that the young wine waiter was smartly turned out and attentive.
The Dorint Quellenhof in Aachen looked like the perfect place, though as a Five Star it was way fancier than I needed. It’s a lovely building, and backs onto a huge park; going for a run in the morning is a delight. It (apparently) has a luxurious spa. I’m sure German visitors would find it a delight. On the other hand… the staff are gormless, and the facilities for business people are pathetic. Their English is limited at best, and absent as a rule.
The Quellenhof is a Pig in a Tutu.