“ Address: 20 Place de Bordeaux / 67000 Strasbourg / France „
Strasbourg airport is not the biggest. It serves mostly diplomats, lawyers and Eurocrats coming to the city for various Euro-stuff like the Council of Europe and the European Parliament, and it's located to the south west of the city. The hotel is to the north of the city centre and a taxi ride from the airport cost me 35 Euros. I think it's possible to get a train to the central station and a tram to the door of the hotel but nobody I asked could give me details so I hopped in a taxi.
The Holiday Inn sits at the head of a large square overlooking an island of grass with one of the ugliest statues I've ever seen in the middle. It looks like someone chucked a load of scrap metal in the middle of the lawn. To one side is a rather grand building which I guessed was some kind of convention centre. The tram line runs down two sides of the 'place' and passes directly beside the hotel. The trams are shiny new ones which look rather tempting though they did trundle past my window constantly.
I arrived about about 6 pm in the evening and the reception desk had nobody waiting and two ladies welcomed me. They confirmed - since I had no print out of what I'd booked - that breakfast was included, told me that yes, of course, the restaurant was very good, took my details and then issued me a room on the seventh floor which was the highest floor. My room rate with breakfast was around Euro120 per night.
My room was on the front of the hotel and overlooked the Place de Bourdeaux, and faced towards the city. I arrived in rain but the sun soon came out and lit up the whole area. I could see the spires of the cathedral and churches in the distance. It was all rather lovely. The room itself was large, bright and ever so dated but no less charming for being in need of a bit of an update. If a room could wear shoulderpads and carry a giant mobile phone, this one would have done both. I had a very large and very comfortable bed with lots of squishy pillows. I'd spent the night before in the Holiday Inn in Amsterdam in agony because the pillows were so hard and fat so these soft ones made my day. The furniture was mostly of blond wood and there was plenty of it - a long storage unit under the television hugged one wall, a coffee table and two arm chairs were placed in a corner, the bed had side tables on each side and there was a bizarre desk, plonked in the middle of the room, looking a bit like a receptionists desk in an old office. It was rather weird. There were plenty of lamps and all the electrical appliances could be turned off using a push button next to the door of the room.
Facilities included a minibar, a flat screen television, a bag stand and a tea and coffee tray. The paintings on the walls were ugly blobby watercolours in pastel colours. I was glad to have a bag stand and the large wardrobe contained an iron and board and a room safe.
The bathroom must have been very grand when it was first done with lots of marble. It was a larger than average bathroom with a very big vanity unit with lots of space but rather poor lighting. The bath had a shower over it with adequate water power. The toiletries were somewhat limited but that seems to be becoming more the standard during the last couple of years. Maybe we can blame it on the recession. Thankfully whilst they were scrimping on the toiletries, they had at least left sufficient towels. I have long hair and I get very miffed by hotels who expect me to dry myself and my hair on one mid-sized towel
On my first evening I had dinner in the restaurant and it was rather good. It's not a particularly large restaurant and can get very busy at breakfast time, but for dinner it was fine. I ordered a mushroom fricassee to start and a bowl of salmon pasta to follow. The service was well timed and I didn't have to wait too long for either course. I ordered a glass of wine which was served in the tiniest wine glass I've seen in a long time so I had to order some water as well
The mushroom fricassee was fantastic - a circular pillar of chopped and fried mushrooms in a dark sauce with a perfect poached egg perched on top and a dressed salad sitting to one side. It was delicious. The pasta by contrast was big and rather ordinary - basically chopped smoked salmon in a cream sauce with a large amount of penne. I found it very bland and left quite a lot. The menu had said 'penne with smoked salmon or vegetables in provencale sauce' so I'd been expecting a tomato based sauce rather than a cream one. The ambiguous menu listing had disappointed me.
After my food I had a cup of coffee and then paid up and went back to my room. Dinner was around Euro30
Breakfast was busy on my first morning and I was lucky to get a table. The food display was smaller than I'd normally expect in a Holiday Inn and there was nothing that particularly tempted me. On the second morning I just ran in, grabbed a croissant and an orange and then ran out again.
The hotel also has a large bar, a swimming pool and a gym though I didn't use any of these. Wi-fi is free in the lobby which meant there were usually a few people taking advantage of it and avoiding paying for it in their rooms. The lobby has a nice conservatory area with white leather chairs which seemed to be popular with people using the internet or just sitting around chatting.
My check out was very nearly problematic when a large group of Turkish men seemed determined to jump the queue which consisted of me and me alone. My well practiced glare, accompanied by a very British 'tut' soon made it clear that I wasn't standing there as the spouse of any of the people checking out and I wasn't about to give up my place. The check out itself was fast and friendly and I was out again in just a few minutes.