â Address: Auricher StraÃe 20 / 26721 Emden / Germany â
I can't remember why I chose the Hotel Kronprinz (Crown Prince) for my one-night stay in Emden. The town is small and has only few hotels, maybe the others were all full or out of my price range.
I knew that the hotel wasn't near the station but couldn't find out on the net how far it was to walk. I called the reception and learnt that I would probably reach it in a quarter of an hour. With a trolley whose handle is too short for me and which therefore always hits the back of my heels this was not appealing, so I decided to take a taxi. This cost 6 Euro. As I also had to take one back to the station the next day, the price for the room wasn't only 55 Euro but actually 67, too much for what I found.
From the net: "Reception open from 7 am to 9 pm (weekdays); up to 10 pm (weekend)"
I arrived in front of the hotel some minutes before 8 pm. The building has two entrances, the right one leads to a Greek restaurant, the left one to the hotel. I climbed up some stairs, opened the door and stood in a long hallway. The first door to the left is the breakfast room with the inviting sign 'Vips only' . Then comes the staircase leading up to the three floors on which the twelve rooms are situated. Beyond the staircase I saw a closed window behind which is a tiny room serving as the reception. Nobody in. At the back of the hallway a door opens onto the parking area of the hotel. A man was standing in the door smiling at me in a friendly way. When I asked him if he was the receptionist, he declined, but he said the man I was looking for was probably still on the premises as his car was still outside. I waited for some time but nobody came. I started to panic, how would I get to my room? The noise from the Greek restaurant behind the right wall of the hallway set a train of thoughts in motion. When I had called, the man had said something about the key to be got at . . . I couldn't get the rest of the sentence then but gathered that he might have meant 'the Greek restaurant'. I asked the friendly man if it was possible that I had to fetch my key next door. He said he wouldn't know. So I went to the Greek restaurant where a waiter did indeed fish my key out of a basket.
So much for the opening time of the reception. What if I hadn't called at all? Would it be too much to ask to pin a sheet of paper onto the window of the reception directing the guests to the Greek restaurant?
My room was on the second floor, the hotel has no lift, the friendly man had disappeared meanwhile and I had to schlepp my suitcase up myself. Fortunately, I always travel light. When I opened the door, my first impression was, "Small and dark". The hotel was built in 1904 but was renovated the last time in 2006. I wonder why the interior decorator decided to put heavy, dark curtains on either side of the window and choose furniture in dark wood. The double bed nearly occupies the whole room, if the door didn't open into the corridor, it wouldn't be possible to get the suitcase(s) inside. Many tourists going to one of the East Frisian islands in the North Sea use Emden as a stop-over before they take the ferry, I can't imagine how they get enormous suitcases full of holiday stuff in.
A dark desk, dim lights, why was I not surprised? The clou of the room, however, is the 'wardrobe'. As I've already mentioned, the room is rather small (~ 3,5 m x 2,5 m), so why stuff it with a wardrobe? Beside the door to the bathroom two boards are nailed to the wall, a long one vertically and a short one at the top horizontally thus forming a right angle. Under the short horizontal one a metal bar is fixed with some wire coat hangers one gets at the dry cleaner's. I found that so depressing. I had to think of representatives of cheap enterprises who have to travel through the country and spend their nights in such grotty rooms. Who knows how many have ended depressed or have ended their lives prematurely? I don't know if the room was clean, I didn't check, it would have been to dark to do so anyway. Maybe it was, maybe it wasn't.
The bathroom is surprisingly light and spacious but as I didn't spend my time there, my spirits didn't lift. Room and bathroom face the street, I can't say that it's a very loud one, but as we don't have traffic at night in front of our house, I'm not used to noise from the street. Good that I had packed earplugs.
From the net: "This hotel is located in the heart of Emden."
As Emden is a small town, the heart is also small. The hotel is definitely too far away from it to allow such a remark. If anything, it's in the liver or somewhere in this region. I strolled down the street for a short while but didn't reach anything interesting and as it was getting dark, I went back to the hotel. I didn't feel like eating Greek food, but there is no other eatery nearby, so I went back to my room hungry, drank the complimentary tiny bottle of water and watched TV until my eyes closed.
From the net: "Begin your day with a delicious breakfast buffet".
When I entered the breakfast room 'Vips only' (Ha!), I found four other guests there, but again no one from the staff showed up. I'm a very modest breakfaster and can't complain about the quantity on offer, it certainly was enough for me. But it was all presented without love if you know what I mean. For example, jam or soft cheese which is sold in plastic containers was not filled into glass or porcelain bowls, the lids of the plastic containers were opened and that was it. The buffet looked as if someone had prepared it who doesn't know a thing about making guests feel good and doesn't care.
From the net: "The following credit cards are accepted: American Express, Visa, Euro/Mastercard, Maestro".
When I had finished breakfast, I went to the reception which was open, hooray, and a man was sitting behind the window, hooray again. But I also spotted a sign, 'No credit cards accepted'. I asked if that was indeed the case and he said, "Yes, cash only." Fortunately I had enough with me, otherwise I would have had to make an excursion into the town to find a bank.
Interestingly, the comments on the net range from enthusiasm to utter damnation. My verdict is that two stars are just right. There is still room below it, for one star or none at all, but there is much, much room above it.
From the receipt: "We'd be glad if we could welcome you soon again in our hotel."
No, I don't think so.