In the shower recently (my thinking spot) I started pondering the number of hotels I've stayed in lately.  In the past three months I have spent at least one night in each of 13 different hotels.  One in Italy, two in China, four in Switzerland and six in Germany.  Of these 13 - ranging from bare-bones hostels to 4-star luxury hotels with white-gloved door service - one stands out as being just exactly perfect.  Granted I wasn't expecting much before I checked in (when you aren't in charge of the reservation yourself, nor are you paying for it, I've found it best to leave room for being pleasantly surprised), but this hotel surpassed all my expectations about hotels in general.  The winner? 

The pentahotel in Kassel, Germany 

The Pentahotels chain includes eight hotels in Germany (Berlin-Köpenick, Braunschweig, Chemnitz, Eisenach, Gera, Kassel, Leipzig, Rostock, Trier, and Wiesbaden).  Their only worldwide locations to date are Shanghai and Reading, UK.

What made my (sadly only one) night in the pentahotel Kassel so perfect?  To start, the check in was incredibly simple and takes place at the end of the bar.  There is no stuffy lobby and check-in desk, just a large lounge that spreads into the bar and restaurant area.  At check-in, we each recieved a voucher for a complimentary small beer or cocktail at the bar for anytime during my stay.  Because we were in town to play a concert the voucher made the answer to the perennial question: "where should we go for post-concert drinks?" very simple. 

Next we were told that breakfast in the morning was from 6:30 to 2pm (every Sunday and holiday!) and that there would be free late check-out (until 3pm instead of 12:00) because it was Sunday. 

Already impressed we headed to our rooms, stepping out of the underwater-themed elevator we were greeted with this hallway:

I knew then that the rooms would be far from standard hotel rooms.  I was right.

Each of our rooms (we each had our own) had two larger-than-single/twin beds and some of the most pillows and duvets ever.  Each room also has a 32" flat screen tv and free pay TV channels.  The first channel after the welcome screen is a crackling fireplace and mood-music.  The hotel bills itself as a design hotel, and the room furnishings support that claim:

The lighting options in the room seemed virtually unlimited and next to the bed stood a *free* bottle of water for my stay.  While not completely unheard of (I had gotten free water in a hotel in Berlin), it is still a nice surprise as the bottle in the room is usually €3-4. 

comfortable beds!!

After depositing my bad and hanging up my coat on some happy orange hangers, I opened the door to the bathroom:

The marble tiled bathroom had a shower/bath with the largest rain shower head I've ever seen as well as the hand-held extension.  The shower curtain was printed with the design from part of the bedroom wall and "have a beautiful day!" across the bottom.  Most hotels provide shampoo and soap, but I was not expecting a travel case of toiletries in fun packaging.  You can see it on the sink in the photo above.  The items are from the UK company Anatomicals

After the concert we enjoyed our drink (albeit small) cocktails in the lounge.  The next morning unhindered by an early check-out we had brunch at 11 and stayed in the breakfast area until after 1 when we moved over to the lounge to continue watching tv and relaxing.  At 3 we collected our things and checked out and returned to the lounge where we spent the rest of the afternoon until our train left from the Hauptbahnhof about a 3 minute walk from the front door of the hotel. 

I had planned to spend the day after the concert exploring a new German city, but the hotel was so welcoming and relaxing that I spent the entire day there.  I don't regret it. 

after a great night's sleep