Hotel Of The Week: The Park Plaza, Trier
The Park Plaza in Trier isn't just another smart, efficient German hotel. Its Roman references also link guests to this city's days as capital of the Empire north of the Alps
Sunday 13 May 2007
The Germans are good at creating an atmosphere of relaxing functionality, and at the Park Plaza it is done to perfection. There is nothing tasteless or unnecessary, but you know that the ergonomists have been to work on the design of every chair and sofa. The hotel has another, unusual, claim to fame: the inclusion of convincing Roman designs and artefacts, echoing the town's illustrious past as the second Rome and capital of the Empire north of the Alps in the early years of the first millennium. This is the York of Germany, and the hotel is its swishest, state-of-the-art place in this underrated town on the banks of the Mosel river.
Set in Trier, Germany's oldest town, the Park Plaza is a five-year-old creation. The town is full of Unesco sites, including not only the Roman gems but medieval churches and towers and Renaissance and Baroque palaces and gardens.
The comfort factor
Busts and statues are liberally sprinkled throughout the courtyard and public interiors, so you are never too far from the gaze of an emperor. In the summer, restaurant tables are added to the central, open-air courtyard. Much of the creative energy has been saved for the spa complex on the fourth floor. It has a laconium (a tiled hot room which prepares you for one of the 20 or so massage and beauty treatments - all fit for a consul's wife. The chocolate and sugar treatment expertly administered by a Persian princess is highly recommended.
All rooms have functional en suite bathrooms with walk-in showers but only a few have baths.
The food and drink
The hotel's Caesar's restaurant serves international cuisine and regional dishes, but still remembers the Latin connection - the menu greets the diner with "Hospes, salve!" Inevitably, there is a resplendent Caesar salad. But you're on just as safe ground with local dishes such as veal cutlet in a rich wine sauce, perch pike caught from the Mosel, and fresh asparagus if it's May. All this is amply supported by a local dry Piesporter wine.
Luxembourgers, French and Belgians on weekend breaks and well-heeled tourists from China and South Korea on their Grand European Tour, taking in the Karl Marx heritage, and having their photos taken outside the house where he was born.
Trier was one of the four capitals of the Roman Empire at its biggest and its imperial legacy is the town's main attraction today. The Porta Nigra is the largest Roman gateway in the world, there are the remains of three Roman baths, a magnificent cathedral, and the impressive basilica which the Emperor Constantine built in the 4th century still stands. The town is just starting to exploit its Karl Marx heritage.
There is one superior suite with wheelchair access but all areas of the hotel are fully accessible for the disabled.
Rates range from €145 (£98) per night for a double with breakfast to €250 for a suite.
Park Plaza, Nikolaus-Koch-Platz 1, D-54290 Trier, Germany (00 49 651 99930, parkplaza-trier.de).
LIKED THAT? TRY THESE
* The Carousel restaurant at the 1730s Bülow Residenz (00 49 351 80030; buelow-residenz.de) in Dresden is one of Germany's best, and the hotel is on the doorstep of the city's artistic and architectural highlights.
* Follow a line of kings, princes and dukes and stay at Hotel Nassauer Hof (00 49 611 1330, nassauer-hof.de) in Wiesbaden, where old-fashioned elegance and service rule.
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