The centuries-old Hotel Theophano has an extensive and interesting history especially in the last 60 years. Built originally as a trading house in 1668 by a wealthy merchant, the baroque-style, half-timbered hotel has been in Reinhard Spilker's family since 1924. Toward the end of World War II, he moved there with his grandparents, out of the path of Berlin-bound bombing raids.
In 1949, he and his parents fled to the West, and the socialist government forced the grandparents to convert the building into cheap apartments. Unable to maintain the structure on a small income, they turned it over to the government in 1985. After reunification, it was returned to the family, and Spilker undertook extensive restoration—starting with tearing down the cheap drywall that had divided the apartments.
It's evident the restoration was done with love and care. After all, it's still Spilker's home; he lives in the rooftop penthouse with his wife, Gabriele, and three teenage daughters.
With views to the marketplace and Rathaus, the Theophano is also one of the most central hotels and guests will often see other visitors photographing its beautiful baroque façade.
Named for the Byzantine princess who ruled the German empire in the 10th century, Theophano has 20 double rooms and four singles, all appropriately decorated with antiques and furnishings in a kind of "Laura Ashley meets the Renaissance" style. Room Number One is spacious and romantic, with a small balcony overlooking the inner courtyard. Carved cupids spy on slumberers from each corner of the four-poster bed. Room Number 20 is king-size, gabled and on two levels, with superb views to the marketplace and town hall.
Daily Rates: Singles €62; doubles €94. Free parking, difficult access for disabled guests.
Rating: Quality 16/20, Value: 17/20
Hotel Am Brühl
Restoration is everywhere in Quedlinburg and Am Brühl is a good example. The ivy-covered buildings of two former farms have been turned into a hotel of great charm.
Arriving guests enter a front courtyard via a gated driveway. Inside, public rooms have a clean, wide-open feel enhanced by shiny terra-cotta floors scattered with Oriental rugs. Tall Palladian arched windows are set in thick stone walls and the exposed rough support timbers contrast nicely with the modern lighting and furnishings.
We had hoped for more from the contemporarily-decorated guestrooms. Though above average in size they seem a bit vacant, in need of a sofa or a couple of soft chairs to achieve optimum comfort. Bedside reading lights were clever looking but difficult to read by.
Though we find Am Brühl an attractive hotel, better use of guestroom space and more intelligent furnishings would move it from "above average" to the "excellent" category.
Daily Rates: Singles €78 -88, doubles €98 -135
Rating: Quality 14/20, Value: 15/20
Hotel Zur Goldenen Sonne
The Goldenen Sonne lies just off the marketplace in a 16th century half-timbered structure. And although its baroque architecture is similar and the history as extensive, the hotel lacks the familiarity and charm of its neighbor, the Theophano. Modern, somewhat sterile, guest rooms have more a sense of renovation than restoration. Still, with rates about a third less than at the Theophano, it offers good value. For those who need it, many of the 27 rooms have Internet access.
Daily Rates: Singles €44; doubles €67. Free parking.
Rating: Quality 14/20, Value: 15/20
Schlosshotel Zum Markgrafen
In sharp contrast to the medieval and renaissance structures that dominate Quedlinburg, the 12-room Schlosshotel Zum Markgrafen is an art nouveau palace.
Built by a wealthy industrialist from 1898 to 1904 in neo-Gothic style, it is breathtaking though somewhat out of step with what a Quedlinburg experience should be. Yes, it has beautiful stucco, carved timber ceilings, elaborate tapestries, chandeliers, extensive gardens, gabled guestrooms, and intricate leaded-glass windows, as well as a fitness area, but it doesn't feel like Quedlinburg. Still, with the marketplace only a few blocks away, the Quedlinburg feeling is always nearby.
In addition, the hotel lies near the old town wall, adjacent to a watch tower, and the view from the terrace café to the town is stunning, especially at night. At twice the cost of the Goldene Sonne, it is a matter of taste, preference and budget.
Daily Rates: Singles from €88; doubles from €135. Free parking and welcome cocktail.
Rating: Quality 17/20, Value: 14/20