Stuart Forster reports on the experience of staying at the Hotel Zumnorde in Erfurt, Germany.
Erfurt is an attractive, history-rich city with 210,000 inhabitants. It is the capital of Thuringia and several of the Hotel Zumnorde’s 56 guestrooms and suites overlook Anger, a pedestrianised shopping street in the heart of the city. Don’t believe anyone who says you shouldn’t look back on that particular shop-lined thoroughfare.
Location of the Hotel Zumnorde
This four star superior-rated hotel is bang in the heart of the city, making it a comfortable base to explore Erfurt on foot.
From the Zumnorde, it’s less than 10-minutes’ walk to the half-timbered houses on the medieval Krämerbrücke. The Domplatz, the cobbled square beneath the cathedral and St Severi Church, is also roughly the same distance away.
I drove into the city in a hire car, whose GPS was set to English rather than German. That resulted in some confusing pronunciations of street names and, consequently, one or two wrong turns. (I swear I was doing my best to make sense of the garbled names.)
As you might anticipate in a city with a long history, some of Erfurt’s backroads are narrow and are one way streets. As a result, it took a little longer than expected for me to locate the hotel’s subterranean parking garage, which is in Weitergasse, off Anger, a street closed to motor vehicles. That helps makes this hotel a relatively quiet place to stay.
You could always take the easy option and arrive into Erfurt by train. The central station is a 10-minute stroll south-west of the hotel, across Yuri-Gagarin Strasse, a street whose name hints at the Russian influence in this part of Germany, from the 1940s to the 1980s.
The history of the hotel
The Hotel Zumnorde opened in 1994. It shares its name with a designer shoe store also on Anger. That’s no coincidence, the family behind both businesses have been selling shoes since 1887, five generations ago.
They invested in Erfurt after the event that many Germans know as die Wende, the reunification of East and West Germany in 1990.
Unlike many German cities, Erfurt escaped widespread damage during World War Two. That meant it was possible for the hotel to be built behind facades dating from the 1860s.
My bedroom at the Zumnorde
My top-floor, single room was spacious and traditionally furnished, with a wooden desk plus a flat-screen television.
I arrived on a fine summer’s day, so decided to open the windows and rehydrate with a glass of sparkling water.
A talented busker was playing an acoustic guitar below. The footfall and conversations of shoppers plus the burr of trams and clang of their bells provided a pleasant soundtrack.
I sat and read orientation information in the room’s leather armchair.
The wi-fi was quick and reliable, making it easy to make Skype and Whatsapp calls, and to locate information on the internet.
Facilities at the hotel
The hotel’s rooftop beer garden looks onto the Bartholomäusturm, or St Bartholomew’s Tower, which is more than 600 years old. The tower, which is no longer attached to a place of worship, houses a carillon with 60 bells. They ring at 10am, noon and again at 6pm.
The garden is a lovely spot to enjoy breakfast from the buffet on a sunny summer morning while flicking through newspapers.
If you’re enjoy lighting up, you might enjoy retreating to the smokers’ lounge.
The hotel operates a restaurant serving Thuringian specialities. The Weinstube, meanwhile, has wood-panelled walls, an open fireplace and parquet flooring, making it a pleasant place for a nightcap.
The Hotel Zumnorde (Anger 50–51, 99084 Erfurt; tel. +49 (0)361 5680 0) is a four star superior property. It has a sauna that guests can make use of free-of-charge plus function rooms. See the hotel website to check room rates and availability, or to make a reservation.
Photos illustrating this post are by Why Eye Photography.
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