Hotel Park Inn, Berlin **

Since I was just in Berlin again, staying in two different places, I wanted to make sure I put a review of the Park Inn at Alexanderplatz in here.

I stayed at the place twice, and each time my colleague and I had some very interesting experiences. To be quite clear up front: unless it is exceptionally cheap, I will not book a room in this hotel again. Read on.

Via a friend of my colleague, we were able to get rooms at the Park Inn for €75 including breakfast, which is really quite attractive from a pricing aspect.

I will say this: the rooms are really quite nice, breakfast is fantastic. But that is where it stops.

For one thing, you will rarely see the reception desk without a huge line waiting before it. Why is beyond me, there are usually plenty of people at the desk (which is quite large, obviously, to accommodate everyone). Don’t plan on getting checked out and out the door with bill in hand within the time you expect from a „normal” hotel. Very annoying.

The first room I had at the hotel was somewhere on the 23rd floor. Again, nicely renovated, spacious, nice bathroom, large bed, clean. Normally: a joy. Except for that high-pitched noise that kept coming on and going off, coming on and going off. At first I thought something in the room was making it, like the minibar refrigerator or the smoke detector. Not so - I followed the sound out the door into the hallway. Just so you understand: this was a sound that will not let any normal person sleep or even work in a concentrated way.

It turned out to be the motor driving one of the elevators. My guess is that its mounting isolated so poorly, that the high-frequency vibrations, probably from its modulation, went across a cement beam running over my room. Whatever, I asked to change the room.

Apparently, my request to change the room was so bizarre to the girl at reception that while she complied with my request, she apparently felt it was necessary to talk to her colleague about it right in front of me. Folks, if a guest wishes to change his room, then he has a reason for it - if you think it’s worth joking about to your colleagues, do so without the guest hearing - just a thought.

The next time we stayed there, we not only received different restaurant cards for breakfast (even though we’d booked at the same time), but apparently, there was a technical issue with the elevators in the section where my colleague had his room. Only one of the elevators ran, causing us to be about half an hour late for our appointment. He actually phoned me, to ask that I tell reception about it, but the guy at reception said that the elevators certainly were running („you stupid guest”). They weren’t though. While waiting for my colleague to finally arrive, I watched a bank of three elevators in that section of the hotel (not all the elevators go to all the floors). All three didn’t budge in the 15 minutes I stood there.

If you’re in Berlin, try to find a hotel that is smaller than the Park Inn. There are much better places to stay, also from a location perspective, for similar or lower pricing.

Hotel Ansgar, Copenhagen **

Hotel Ansgar is located one street parallel to the rear of the central train station. If you stay there and come by train (from the airport, for example), you should know that there is a small and easily overlooked exit on that side of the station (by the luggage storage lockers) that will save you a lot of time and effort, dragging your luggage from the main exit all around the station to the hotel...

The hotel is quite okay, the rooms are tiny, however. I had a room with two single beds, quite obviously a double room. If the single bed rooms are any smaller, then they need to start measuring their guests to make sure you fit. Oddly enough, the room had a single, tiny desk crammed between the bathroom and one of the beds, but two chairs, stacked on top of one another.

Obviously, one can’t sit down this way, but I barely found room to put the second chair. I can’t, by the life of me, imagine two people staying in the room, each using a chair. Whatever.

My room was towards the street. Normally, this shouldn’t be a problem as there is very little traffic. Unfortunately - and of course one can’t blame the hotel for this - there is a large construction site within the house next door. I was up early anyway, but it would not have been possible to sleep past 7:30 AM. Or have a normal conversation for that matter.

The hotel is rated three stars, though by the life of me I can’t imagine what they are for. Of course, star ratings change from country to country, so perhaps one of the stars is for the elevator. This is quite a curious construction, as the doors for each floor are always offset by half a floor. I.e. you have to go up stairs to get to the elevator in the first place, and either go up or down stairs depending on wether you hit the button for your own floor or the one above it. Quite annoying if you have a lot, or heavy luggage, I would think.

Breakfast was okay, though the swaying floor of the breakfast room really psyched me out - I felt like my chair / table was on a waterbed. Whenever someone would walk to or from the buffet, things would start to shake.

I’ve seen worse hotels, I’ve seen better hotels. The price was - for Copenhagen center - quite okay with €85 including breakfast.