Lodging Review: Novotel Torino Corso Giulio Cesare
Attraction Review: Museo Egizio
Lodging Review: Hilton Bonn
Lounge Review: Lufthansa Lounge, Cologne-Bonn Airport
United 777-200ER Old Style vs. Polaris Business Class
One of my co-workers and I took a taxi from the Cologne/Bonn airport to the Hilton Bonn. It’s a lovely yellow building located right on the Rhine River. The Viking River Cruise we took on the Rhine a few years ago would have sailed right by this hotel after we spent the day in Cologne, just a few miles away. It’s in an area very convenient to a pedestrian-only section of shops and even the train station is not a far walk away. I liked the hotel itself, with one GIANT caveat about my stay.
We had to wait just a very few minutes to check in and I let my colleague go first. Despite the hotel being rather full she nicely asked for a river view room and the clerk found one for her. After she left I stepped right up and my Gold status was recognized right away. I was also told I’d been upgraded, which was nice to hear. I was given the information about breakfast and was reminded it was complimentary with my Gold status. I was also given three drink chits. Considering the average price of drinks in the bar was about 15 EUR, this was no small prize. As I don’t drink alcohol they weren’t worth as much to me but I gave them to my co-workers who made swift use of them.
The hotel is in a U-shape with the entrance on the “bottom” of the U. The courtyard between the “arms” of the U faces the river. Here’s the view of the courtyard from the street between the hotel and the river.
The lobby had two seating areas, one on either side of the front entrance. The bar was at the far left upon entering.
The front desk was straight ahead and just beside it was a small store with snacks and beverages.
As I took my key and headed toward the bank of elevators on the left, I happened to see this sign which I thought was quite funny.
My room was on the fourth floor and when I stepped out of the elevator (still on the bottom crossbar of the U) I turned left and then immediately turned right. I walked all the way down the hall (the length of one “arm” of the U) to the end.
There was a short hallway crossing the end of the long hall, almost like a serif on a U when using Times Roman font. I turned right and walked to the end of that hall to find my room, right where the curve meets the wall.
This was not a typical hotel room and it’s one time I feel like my hotel status really got me something besides breakfast. I stepped into the room and, like many hotel rooms found the bathroom immediately on my right and a full-length mirror on my left but that’s where the similarity to regular hotel rooms ended.
Instead of the room opening up into the bed area, this junior suite opened up to a full-scale living room. It did have a connecting door but I never heard a peep out of anyone in that room.
While I was thrilled to have such a large suite, it still needed some refreshing as they reminded me of my grandmother’s furniture from the 1970s. The living room sofa and chairs could definitely use a refresh and were rather low to the ground. The sofa did pull out into a bed if needed. Across from the sofa was a TV credenza that housed the mini-bar and held the coffee/tea machines as well as the ice bucket.
This room had a balcony that overlooked the Rhine.
Stepping through the door into the next room, to the left was what might be called the workspace. There wasn’t a formal desk but there was a table with three chairs and another credenza with a TV. There were easily-accessible audio/video jacks so if you wanted to work on a presentation that could easily be accomplished. Of course you could also broadcast from your computer and have it display on the TV as well. A small loveseat sat against the wall opposite the TV. It needed refreshing as well.
Straight ahead upon entering was a low bench in front of another window with a small balcony. This one opened up to the courtyard with a side view of the Rhine.
The wardrobe was the dominant piece in the center of the room and divided the work space from the bed. With two sets of double doors there was plenty of space to hang clothes on ones side and the other side had shelves. Robes and slippers were provided and this is where the safe resided.
The bed was king-sized and very comfortable. Each side had two electrical outlets, so kudos for that!
There was another TV (that’s 3, in case you were counting) mounted in the back of the wardrobe so you could watch it while in bed. I didn’t turn any of them on so can’t comment on the quality of the pictures.
The bathroom was fairly standard with a shower/tub on one side (and that darn glass partition that’s only 1/3rd the length of the tub!), the toilet in the center and the sink on the other side of the room.
The sink’s counter stretched the whole length of the space but really didn’t have that much storage space. When this room gets refreshed I’d like to see some shelves underneath where items could be stored without having to sit out on the sink. And the hair dryer could be kept in the bathroom instead of the wardrobe! (And please, upgrade to a hair dryer that actually has an on/off switch so I can leave it plugged in while I’m visiting!)
Toiletries were by Crabtree & Evelyn. Not my favorite but they did the trick.
Hallelujah, this hotel actually let me turn the AC on. It does baffle me though that there’s no automatic setting where I just pick a temperature and the room keeps it that cool. Instead the fan had Low/Med/High settings and the a switch to go between cool and heat. I tried leaving it on Low Cool one day and it was quite stuffy when I returned so it generally stayed at Med Cool while I was out.
I didn’t take photos of the breakfast buffet but there was lots of food and plenty to choose from no matter your nationality.
The gym was large and it was fairly well laid out. It took me to the end of the trip but I did get a workout in.
Beyond the gym were these cabanas and in the next room was a small indoor pool. As the pool was in use I didn’t take any photos of it.
The Big Caveat
So far, what’s not to like about this hotel? It’s not the most modern but they scored high on recognizing status and rewarding it appropriately (even if I “earned” my status by holding a certain credit card). The burn came when I returned home and kept checking my account to be sure my points had posted. I kept looking and I noticed an entry for the Hilton Bonn but no points associated with it. After doing a little digging I found out that this is one of the very few Hiltons that does not participate in the points program! As this is the only Hilton in Bonn, that’s very disappointing. A co-worker who had signed up for a promotion did manage to get some points out of the stay and, of course, since I paid with my Hilton credit card I earned those points but I was extremely disappointed that hotels are allowed to opt out of the loyalty program.
In the end
So would I return? Well, if we come back here on a business trip I may have to stay here again. It’s a super-convenient when you don’t have a car and it’s a nice hotel. But the whole “no points” thing has just left a bad taste in my mouth for this place. I’d try to find another place first and if I were traveling on my own I’d definitely look elsewhere.