Baden Baden's answer to The Ritz, the 130-year-old Brenner's Park has long been the grandest place to lay your head in Germany's famous spa town. It may have been named after a tailor, but the guest list is resolutely aristocratic. Prince Otto von Bismarck, Prince Michael of Russia, Edward VII, the Maharaja of Kapurthala and King Chulalongkorn of Siam and Laos have all checked-in at various times (not to mention Walt Disney and Henry Ford). If the taxi drivers are to be believed, the hotel is set to play host to royalty of a different kind, when it will serve as base camp for the wives and girlfriends of the England football team during the World Cup.
It is in prime position along the Lichtenthaler Allee, a ribbon of well-groomed parkland that runs through the centre of Baden Baden, so Alex Curran and Colleen McLoughlin - partners of Steven Gerrard and Wayne Rooney - need not worry: it's just a hop, step and stiletto-heeled jump to the shops of Sophienstrasse.
The comfort factor
The maintenance crew has been busy over the past few months sprucing up the hotel. In the bedrooms this has resulted in an impressive mix of period detail and modern comfort, with 100 large, bright rooms decorated in traditional, slightly chintzy, country style. Almost all have a view of the park and most also have their own balconies, ideal for al fresco breakfasts - and a gift for paparazzi trying to catch bleary-eyed footballers' wives with bed-head hair.
For added security, there's always the Presidential Suite with its bullet-proof glass.
All are fairly spacious and well-equipped, but those with larger-than-average make-up bags (you know who you are, Victoria Beckham) should opt for one of the superior rooms or suites and make the most of their requisite acres of white Carrara marble.
The food and drink
This is probably all wasted on the slimline likes of Cheryl Tweedy and Elen Rives, partners of Ashley Cole and and Frank Lampard. If they do decide to indulge, though, they will have the chance of choosing from the heavier, locally inspired flavours cooked up in the Michelin-starred Park restaurant where typical dishes include suckling pig cheeks in reduced grape must, and oven-baked halibut with Mediterranean vegetables. Then there is the breezy Wintergarten, with its modern bistro menu and lashings of Black Forest gateau. If the boys do well, the sophisticated Oleander bar has a ready supply of bubbly.
Yummy mummies on spa breaks, glamorous German couples and, when I stayed there, a 99-year-old hotel resident celebrating her almost-centenary.
This is one of Germany's most distinguished cities, full of graceful villas and therapeutic waters. The latter is what people have traditionally come to Baden Baden for, but the casino has pulled in its fair share of tourists, too. You could check out the new Museum Frieder Burda, a swish art gallery. The hotel has two spas of its own, the more traditional Brenner's spa and a separate Kanebo facility. In the former, you can book a private spa suite and spend the day calming any pre-match tension.
Child-friendly, with a kids' club offering everything from snorkelling lessons in the pool to botany classes in the park. Wheelchair access is via the elevator.
Doubles start at €268 (£190) per night, with breakfast.
Brenner's Park Hotel and Spa, Schillerstrasse 4-6, Baden Baden (00 49 7221 9000; brenners.de).
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