Things aren’t bad in Baden-Baden… Part one

Bill and I have just arrived home after our latest and last trip from the Stuttgart area.  One week from today, the movers will come and pack up our stuff.  I recall the last time we moved out of the Stuttgart area.  It was September 2009, and we were set to move on September 15th.  The weekend before our departure, we took advantage of the long Labor Day weekend in Budapest, Hungary. We had an amazing time in that spa town, where Bill had his very first deep tissue massage.  On that trip, we stayed in the beautiful Hotel Corinthia, which at the time, was probably the most luxurious hotel we’d ever experienced.

It seems only fitting that we’d do our last trip from Stuttgart in another famous spa town, Baden-Baden.  I had been meaning to visit this splendid German town for years, but never managed it because we’ve lived so close.  On a normal day, meaning with no construction or traffic, we could get to Baden-Baden in about 90 minutes taking the scenic route.  Since there’s always the threat of having to move back to the United States unexpectedly, we’ve always opted for trips further afield.

As I was planning our 16th anniversary celebration, I wondered if it wouldn’t be better to fly to an exotic place for our four night trip.  I’ve been itching to get to a more exotic location that I haven’t yet seen.  But when I asked my well-traveled friends on Facebook where we should go, more than a few recommended Baden-Baden.  Both one of my former English professors from Longwood University and another friend, who loves historic, stylish hotels, recommended Brenners Park Hotel and Spa.

The truth is, I had been eyeing that hotel myself.  The many times I thought about taking a trip to Baden-Baden, I considered booking a room at Brenners.  But then I checked out the prices, which are eye-wateringly expensive, and thought again.  Indeed, even when I had made the final decision to visit Baden-Baden, I originally planned to book a room at the ever popular Aqua Aurelia Hotel, which seemed more modern than Brenners, but was also less expensive.  But then when I went to book, the room I wanted, upgraded from their basic room, was not available.

So then I went back to Brenners, and realized you only live once.  I booked us a deluxe double room via Expedia.com for four nights, cringing a bit at the final cost.  We made the reservation through Expedia, but paid at the hotel.  Luckily, my husband is very indulgent and has acquired a taste for luxury after sixteen years with me.

Fast forward to November 15th…  

A few shots from the road.  For most of our drive, we had lots of clouds, but there were a few sunny spots. 

Since we didn’t know where we’d be going for our trip, Bill arranged to drop our dogs off with Max early in the morning.  That left us with plenty of time to make the relatively short drive to Baden-Baden.  Check in at Brenners Park is at 3:00pm.  I thought maybe we’d stop somewhere on the way have lunch.  However, we ran into some road construction on B28  that forced us to take a couple of detours.  One detour took us on a somewhat scary mountain pass with a pretty bad road.  By the time we got to the other side of the mountain, it was about 1:00pm and Bill was a bit shellshocked.

We reached Brenners Park at just after 1:00.  Bill attempted to park the car in the hotel’s garage (26 euros per day), but was blocked by a truck that was unloading.  Frustrated, he pulled out of the garage and was quickly met by a valet, who happily unloaded the Mini and parked it for us.  We approached the check in desk, where a handsome young man greeted us.  I mentioned that we were in town to celebrate our anniversary.  He congratulated us and upgraded our room.

I wasn’t quite sure I’d heard him right when he told us we were getting a junior suite.  That was quite a leap in the rack rate.  But then he escorted us to our palatial suite, where our bags were delivered and set in an enormous changing room.  I was absolutely shocked at the opulence.  It really set the tone for a marvelous stay.

A hallway inside our 70 square meter suite.

The alcove where our bed was. 

Sitting area.

Beautiful writing desk and armoire with a television.

Huge dressing room with wardrobes.

Bathtub.  The bathroom was also huge.  I didn’t do it justice with these pictures.

The mirror had a lamp and its own light.  There was also a beautiful marble shower.

Balcony overlooking the park.

Bill collapses on the royal bed.  

Well stocked minibar.  Water and soft drinks were included in the room rate.  Alcohol and snacks were not.

A daily fruit plate with macaroons, also included.

Turn down service.

Another desk and TV.


A handy doorway from the bedroom through the changing room to the bathroom.  

After the shock of the upgrade wore off, we decided to go to the Wintergarten restaurant in the hotel and have some lunch.  Brenners Park has two restaurants.  There’s the Wintergarten, which is in a really pretty solarium, and Fritz and Felix, which is their new restaurant concept of “casual fine dining”.  We didn’t have a chance to try Fritz & Felix, but really liked our experience in the Wintergarten restaurant.

Bill enjoys a glass of Riesling.

Bread with pistachio spread and butter.  I liked the pistachio spread!

For lunch, I had a salad made with greens, cherry tomatoes, and huge sea scallops, seared to perfection.

Bill had a citrus cured lobster salad with melon.  This was the first time either of us had ever had lobster that was cooked without heat.  Instead, it was “cooked” chemically with citrus juice.  I really liked the tangy dressing that came on this salad and, I must admit, raw lobster has an interesting texture.  It reminded me of jelly.

For dessert, I had a Black Forest cream puff with chocolate, vanilla, and cherry.  It came with a scoop of cherry ice cream.

Bill had a lemon tart with basil ice cream and meringues.  This lunch set us back about 159 euros.


I grabbed a shot of these desserts on display.

After lunch, we took a short walk around Baden-Baden to get a feel for the place.  It’s quite a ritzy town.  I couldn’t help but notice how international it is, too.  We heard lots of French and British English spoken, but most of all, we noticed Russians.  Russians are everywhere in Baden-Baden!  Quite a lot of them were staying at Brenners Park, too.


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