Hans D. Baumeister

Hans D. Baumeister

Mecklenburger Hof, Mirow ****

After experiencing some severe service issues in other locales in the area, we were very positively surprised about the friendly service and the excellent food at Mecklenburger Hof.

The menu is quite extensive, covering meat, fish, vegetarian, kids food, etc., and everyone should find something to eat here. The pricing was "medium" and - for the quality - appropriate. We decided to eat indoors, as it was a bit cool outside and the extreme traffic on route 198 would have been too annoyingly loud.

We had lunch here mid-July 2018.
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Max Garni Düsseldorf****

This is a great little hotel within walking distance of Düsseldorf's main train station (about 7 minutes walk, not counting traffic lights). It is on a street crossing, but since I had a room to the rear of the building, I had no noise issues at night. I don't think the streets the hotel is on are very busy at night anyway, so you'll probably be ok in front as well.

Very clean, nice and modern room. Personnel is very friendly. Didn't check for A/C, unfortunately. Price/Value absolutely top level.

Breakfast is pretty limited in selection, though they offer to make you eggs to order.

The only negative thing that I remember is the front door: the automatic closer apparently has an issue as it doesn't restrain the door in the last few centimeters, causing it to slam (loudly) every time someone comes in. That is a real issue at night, as you will wake up from it. Luckily, the hotel wasn't booked while I was there, so I only woke up once.

I would go stay here again!

Stayed: March, 2018
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Hotel Expo Verona ****

The room was clean and modern, even the window opened a slit to let air in (unusual for a large hotel like this). The AC worked fine, the bed was comfortable.
One really annoying thing was the location of the water tap for the shower (see picture): this was - at least for me - exactly in knee hight so that I kept tapping against it accidentally, turning the water hotter. Not a good thing and for me worth taking half a star off the rating.

The only other thing that bothered me was that while breakfast had a pretty good selection, the scrambled eggs were so soggy that I didn't even bother putting them on my plate - quite clearly not cooked through. Another half star (I love scrambled eggs).

A bit odd was the elevator arrangement. There were three elevators next to one another - exactly evenly spaced. The right one, as it turned out, was for "personnel only" (something that you'll usually find at a different location in most hotels). The only thing that told me this was a small sign next to the elevator; the call button looked exactly like the one between the other two doors and it took me a while to figure out that even though I'd pressed the call button, the elevator wouldn't be coming for me. Ergonomics gone out the window.

Since I didn't pay for the room (nor even found out what it cost), I can't comment on the price/performance ratio, but I can certainly recommend the hotel based on a qualitative decision.
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Hostel Fleming, Palma de Mallorca **

Stayed August 2017

Having paid just over 40€ per bed in a 2-bed room might seem ok, but honestly, for over 80€ you can find a hotel to stay in that offers a private bathroom and A/C, both of which aren't available here. You might even get breakfast included at that price - here, you get breakfast outside someplace (there is a café right around the corner).

Room
The street is a side street, but still quite noisy, so keeping the windows open wasn't really an option - it wouldn't have helped to get the room temperature down anyway, as it was stifling hot outside. A/C would have been a real necessity, but all the very small room had to offer was a ceiling fan that knew only one speed: turbo! The air was moved so much that while it was quite comfortable on the bottom bunk (ignoring the high noise level), anyone sleeping on the top bunk would definitely get health issues.

Instead of a regular cabinet to put your clothes in, all you get is a standard metal locker with a bunch of metal hangers (the kind you hate from laundry services). You can lock the locker if you have a lock on you or you rent one from reception. The door lock was flimsy and likely easily opened with a credit card (I didn't try), so try to keep your valuables on you. The only power outlet (i.e. to charge your phone) was on the wall to the right of each bed bunk, combined with a reading light that strutted out so far I hit my hand while sleeping several times (waking me up).

Beside the rather small space available for the two bunk beds and the lockers, there is also an encased balcony of about 1x2 meters that has a single chair on it. Lighting is a single gigawatt lamp (ok, I'm exaggerating) that will blind you for hours should you glimpse at it.

Bathroom
The bathroom is a community job on the floor. There are, I would guess, about 10-12 rooms on the floor, most of which are more than 2 beds. The facilities look relatively new and work fine. The showers are single units walled off with a separate door that have enough space for your towel and clothes, hung near the door, to stay dry. The bathroom was clean.

Hostel in general
All in all, the hostel is situated quite well near a major traffic circle in the northern part of the central city. I was there by car and finding a parking spot on arrival (after 9PM) was a challenge, but I did find one that was free until 9AM the next morning. I don't know how the bus connectivity is, but you can walk to the castle / harbor and central shopping areas if you're good on foot from the hostel.

The building had a very pretty courtyard with seating available, but since it apparently offers no bar services what so ever (even though it looked like a restaurant / bar facility in the back), you're stuck with beverages bought from a machine (not expensive). Some of the rooms face the inner courtyard, which might be quieter than the street (possibly not on a weekend).
Unfortunately, the Wifi was horribly slow when I stayed, so I used 3G instead.

There is an elevator available and it, too, looks quite new.

Summary
All in all, the hostel is ok for what it is (not a hotel). If the price was half of what I paid, I would likely stay again, but considering you can get full-fledged hotel rooms in simpler hotels in Palma for the same price, I don't see the advantage of giving up on a private bath and A/C, to be honest.
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Motel One Potsdamer Platz, Berlin ***

Stayed: August 2017

One always happy to try something new, I opted to stay at the Motel One at Potsdamer Platz during my last Berlin visit.

This Motel One is a bit different from others I've stayed at, as only the reception area and the elevators are at the ground floor - the rest of the hotel starts on the 3rd floor. The entire reception's back wall is one huge "movie screen" made up of a matrix of multi-color LEDs. I've seen this type of "screen" at other MotelOne hotels - usually behind the bar - but never anything this huge. It really is quite impressive.

The Hotel is part of the Berlin Mall, a huge US-style shopping mall and my room was to the side of the hotel, looking over one of the main passageways in the mall. There is a large structure almost like a hallway separating the hotel rooms along this passageway and separated from it by fixed windows. You can open your window to this hallway, but it doesn't do you much good because I didn't get the feeling that there is fresh air circulating through it. There were even some painter's gear (ladder, pails, etc.) leaning against the hotel wall within this space.

Both the bar and the breakfast restaurant are also on the 3rd level. I'd kept breakfast optional when checking in and that was a good thing, as I had a look at around 8:00 AM and the place seemed solidly packed. I hadn't visited the bar the night before, so I can't comment on that.

The entire area around Potsdamer Platz was - though this likely depends on the time of year, completely overrun by tourists. You get used to tourists in Berlin, but this was rediculous. Having the mall right there probably doesn't help. Also, if you're looking for bars and restaurants that aren't tourist traps, you need to walk quite a ways out of the area.

While the room and the bathroom were typical MotelOne standard (which is just fine for me), I likely won't stay here again just to avoid the masses of people.
Subsequenly, I'm giving three stars not because the hotel isn't ok but because the area is pretty annoying (unless you're a shopaholic).

Room Tip: The rooms to the mall are - after closing hours - very quiet.


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