Enter through a courtyard into a low arched doorway and the tiny brick floored lobby. A length of paisley fabric artfully draped over the wrought iron stair railing let's you know right away that this is no ordinary establishment. Nothing is left to chance—every aspect, from the decor to the cordiality of the staff, is polished and buffed to perfection

The Kraft family first bought the hotel in 1972. Now second generation Ernst and family run the daily operation while technically retired Grossmutter tweaks the pillows into perfection in the background. In 1988 the guest rooms were all remodeled into twenty suites each of which was given a theme-Peking, Blueberry, Patio. The actual decorating was done by the Laura Ashley group and is extremely attractive with coordinated fabrics, furnishings, wallpapers and color schemes.

The suites come in three sizes. Junior Suites are the smallest and most basic but still qualify as outstanding by any standard. Senior Suites, equipped with Jacuzzis and four-poster beds, are in the middle category. And at the very top reign the Salon Suites with balconies, leather chairs, replica telephones and TVs that rise magically from the floor. In the wrong hands all that prettiness could be a bit oppressive but the Krafts are so nice and so enthusiastic and so dedicated to their home and their work that a successful stay is virtually guaranteed.

The formal dining room, Le Gourmet, has parquet floors, a wattle-and-daub ceiling, a ceramic tile stove and a mere seven tables. Main dishes start at 40 DM ($24). Less expensive meals are served in the rustic Mensurstube where swords hang from the ceiling and you can all but reach out and touch Bismark et al. The traditional menu choices cost 22 to 30 DM ($12-$18).

Street Address: Hirschgasse 3
City: Heidelberg
Country: Germany
Phone: 011 49 6221 45 40
Fax: 011 49 6221 45 41 11
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Quality: Rating: 5 stars
Value: Rating: 3 stars
Price Level: $$$$
Type: Hotel