Posted in hotel, travel

Nhow Berlin

One of my all-time favorite hotels is also in Berlin: the Nhow! As part of the NH Hotel Group, but then so different from a ‘standard’ NH hotel. Nhow Berlin has a theme: music! That’s what attracted me a couple of years ago to this hotel. Being in Berlin a few times a year, you always look for a good hotel, a home away from home. And while music is often the reason for my travels to the capital of Germany, a hotel with a music theme seemed only fitting.

Now, a few years and several stays at this hotel later, I have to laugh at my shocked feeling at the question: “Do you want a pink/yellow room or a pink/blue?” Yeah, while this hotel is not only a music hotel, it’s also pink. Very very pink. But stylish and cool.

Getting curious now? It’s time for pictures. First of all the room.

One side of the hotel looks over the Spree, the canal that goes straight through the city. From there you might have a wonderful view of the OberbaumbrĂĽcke.

nhowaussicht

Then: why is this a music hotel? Well, first of all, it has a stage in the lobby, where you can just walk into a concert or other ways of live music.

And then this: room service. Not only do they bring you food or drinks. This hotel also delivers guitars, piano or a whole dj-set in your room!

nhowroomservice1

Last but not least I do have to mention the elevators. 5 in total, all in a different color, all with different kind of elevator music. Classical, Jazz, Pop, you can choose your ride up to your room. Try them all, but warning for the orange one: being locked up in this orange box, even if it’s a short ride, makes you go a little crazy 🙂

Posted in coco, column, hotel, tv-series

Watching too many crime shows…

It’s december 2013 and we’ve been driving for a few hours. On the way to a concert in Prenzlau, northeast Germany. Practically in the middle of nowhere. But we are happy. First of all we’re looking forward to the concert, but also because our hotel is a castle. Sometimes you just want to stay overnight feeling like a princess 🙂

The navigation system says we have to exit in 10 kilometer. And then all of a sudden it goes black. And we feel lost. Both coming from the past (read: traveling with a map in your lap, driving around searching for a while) we just laughed. Okay, it can’t be that hard. We’re really in the middle of nowhere, the castle/hotel will be on signs. Wrong! Still we’re laughing… we have iPhones! So we look at the digital map and find that the street we’re looking for exists several times. Hmmm. Okay, just a little bump. We just choose one and drive in that direction. Very small roads, but nothing that looks like our castle. So we drive around a little more. But our castle stays hidden. We have to admit: we’re lost.

Only one thing left to do. Find someone to ask. Even that proves to be difficult. Remember: middle of nowhere. There are no people on these small streets. After a few rounds we finally see somebody. A guy loading groceries out of his car. I park my car and walk up to the guy. If he knows where my castle is? He does and points me in the right direction. We should have gone to the other side of the freeway. It won’t be hard to find there. Then he looks at my car. My friend is out of sight. He looks at me and says: “But if you want to be sure, you can come inside, I have a map there.” And then all 100 or so episodes of Criminal Minds get to me. The middle of nowhere, me alone, this guy and then going into his house? NO WAY. I’m not gonna die here!

I thank him, he asks me to wait. He goes inside, getting his map and showing me how to drive. I thank him again. Yes, I panicked and overreacted, but still I just want to leave. Back in the car we laughed about it and drove of. To our castle and to the concert.

Posted in hotel, music, travel

Expo Milan 2015 and Genoa

On the opening day of the Expo 2015 in Milan Nevio Passaro, my favorite singer/songwriter, had two concerts at the German pavilion. So we went to Milan and visited the Expo. A very big event, which we already noticed as we tried to book a hotel room. Hardly any rooms left and very expensive. We chose our favorite hotel chain NH, the nhow to be exact. A theme-hotel, very modern. In Berlin the nhow theme is music and the hotel color pink. In Milan the theme is fashion and the hotel color orange. We just had to see it. It felt like home.

We took a taxi to the Expo. Remember, it was only the first day, so our cabdriver didn’t have a clue where to drop us of. Very funny, we had to ask policemen and everything went the italian way. Piano, piano (slow and relaxed).

At the Expo we were overwhelmed. All kind of countries from all over the world, had their own little area. So just walking on one of the main roads, you went from Europa to Asia to South America. Really cool. And all the countries had their own kind of food. So knowing that, what do you want to eat? 🙂

The concerts were at the German pavilion, a real stage at a square. Just sitting there, you felt it was very international. Just looking around the people walking by had as many cultures as the countries displayed. Very impressing. Having a concert of your favorite musician in an environment like that, is really special. I enjoyed it very much, even though it rained a little bit. Extra surprise was a guest appearance of Domenico Peronace. He and Nevio sang their song ‘Piccolo re (Make love not war)‘ together.


We wanted to stay in Italy a few more days, but because Milan was so busy, we took the train to Genoa. A smaller city at the coast. The train ride was amazing and Genoa absolutely beautiful. With the mountains on one side and the ocean at the other, Genoa has it all. Our NH Collection hotel was at the water, next to a pirate ship. Genoa is a good city to just walk around, pretty sights all around and not too big. Colorful and beautiful. Great few days there.

Posted in groupie, hotel, music, travel

Going on tour…

Musicians going on tour prepare for months. So do their fans. Well, they should, anyway. Obvious preparations for fans are of course buying tickets, looking for hotels and make sure you have enough battery for your camera. I know now that preparing for a tour takes more than that, but back in 1997, on my first concert tour, I was young and unexperienced. It was fun though 🙂

Bobbie Eakes and Jeff Trachta went on tour in Holland during the christmas period. Holland is not that big, so  everything could be done from home. Pretty easy. Only the second concert was in Switzerland, so we had to travel for that one. No problem. We wanted to do all the concerts, so no question about if we were going to Geneva. After the first concert in Holland, we got in the car and started driving. Musicians were flying, but we took the car down there. In the middle of the night, from Amsterdam to Geneva. I drove the first hour, getting to Belgium, so my friend could sleep. Then we would switch for an hour and after that sleeping was no longer allowed. We had to keep each other awake. Young and unexperienced, but it worked fine. At a gas station we bought something for breakfast and we drove through France. That was the best way, because we didn’t want to buy the vignette you need to drive on the highways in Switzerland. Geneva is right at the border of France, we would be fine. (young and unexperienced)

By the time we got close to Geneva, it was already the end of the morning and we still had to pick up our concert tickets somewhere in the city. And then we hit traffic. People going skiing holiday over the christmas holiday. On the highway we hardly got very far. So I got out the map and looked for a short cut. (yes, map… it was way before car navigation systems). No problem. I found one. Way shorter and away from this traffic jam. Did I already say it was late December and close to Switzerland? Yeah, so we took the shortcut, which took us over the mountain, instead of around it. My french was not that good, but the big warning signs with ‘dangereux’ were pretty clear. It started snowing and of course we didn’t have snow tires. With no time to get back in the traffic jam, we drove over the mountain. Very very slow.

We got to the hotel in one piece. Too late to pick up our tickets, but fortunately the tour manager told us to just come to the location, he would make sure we would get in. So we showered and went to the location, where we could just stay inside. Everything fine. Well, not everything, because we never had the chance to exchange money (yes, back then we didn’t have euros and even then: Switzerland still has its own currency). And in the location they didn’t take credit cards. Which meant: nothing to drink or eat. After having just a sandwich at breakfast and being up all night, that was not funny.

Again we were saved by the tour manager. Spaghetti and cola backstage. Felt like heaven. Till you take the first bite and Jeff appears next to you: ‘Hurry girls, the concert is about to start’. Spaghetti turned into fast food 🙂

The concert was great. Great duets, christmas spirit and great voices. Enjoyed every minute of it, but afterwards we were just happy to lay down in bed and sleep. It was a very eventful day. We wouldn’t have missed it for the world, but I’m sure glad I’m more experienced with going on tour now, so that things go a bit more smoothly (with of course some exceptions, but that’s what makes life so interesting) 🙂

 

Posted in hotel, music, travel

Gregor Meyle: Sommerkonzert 2016

Artist: Gregor Meyle
Where: Flughafen Paderborn Lippstadt
When: July 30, 2016

Although Gregor Meyle is not new to music, he is new to me. I heard the song ‘Du bist das Licht’ and just had to go to one of his concerts. And this time the timing was right. On the way back from Berlin, we booked an arrangement to go to the concert in Paderborn. The Airport hotel sold us the tickets, together with a room in the hotel, dinner before the concert and brunch the day after. It turned out to be a perfect deal.

The hotel was just a few minutes walking away from the concert. We had dinner at the Quax Hangar. Barbecue with salads, more than we could eat. With a view of the concert area. Relaxed and easy. And good food!

The concert was relaxed as well. Although there were lots of people, it didn’t feel that way. I like that. That way you can just focus on the music and the artist. At 20.00h Gregor got on stage, with his band. And if I say band, I mean band. Besides himself, at least 9 other musicians. Violin, Flute, Saxophone, Drums, Keyboards, Bas, Guitar and other instruments. Great! It gave them a chance to play different styles. Where else do you dance the sirtaki, hear irish influences, country and all that to german lyrics? Very impressive!

Besides great musicians, I really liked Gregor’s voice. Dark, edgy. The song lyrics gave me goosebumps. And to top it of, he’s very funny. I laughed out loud a couple of times during the concert. Funny stories, funny dancing and funny entertainment. He had me in the concert all the way. The whole 2,5 hours. Great!

Afterwards we bought several of his albums. Next time we come prepared, because there will be a next time! He made it to my list of favorite musicians, ‘Keine ist wie du’ 🙂

Posted in hotel, travel

Hotel Adlon Kempinski Berlin

Where: Berlin
When: July 2016
Hotel: Hotel Adlon Kempinski Berlin

I can write several blogs about Berlin. I love that city and I will tell you all about in future blogs. This blog is completely dedicated to one of favorite hotels in Berlin: Adlon Kempinski, right at the Brandenburg Gate. Just because this hotel is special and worth telling about!


It’s one of the older, well-known hotels in the heart of Berlin. Okay, I admit, it’s not cheap. For many people this is a reason not to book this hotel. In big cities like Berlin there are several other, cheaper, options. I know, because I used those options myself and will use them again as well. No problem. For people who don’t think they can afford sleeping at Berlin’s best known hotel: check the special offers! Still more expensive as other hotels, but believe me, once you experience this hotel (because it’s an experience, you don’t just buy a bed to sleep in for the night, you experience this hotel) you know it’s worth it.

So, let’s start at the arrival. The park house under the hotel. First time I drove in there, I had to park my Fiat 500 in between a Rolls Royce and a Ferrari. It put a smile on my face, but that was just the beginning. As soon as you get out of the elevator, somebody meets you to get your luggage. Let go of that little voice in your head that says ‘You can easily take that one suitcase up to your room yourself’. Just go with the flow. At the reception area you’re treated like royalty. Your wish is their command. Very friendly. This time (yes, it wasn’t my first time in this hotel and it will definitely not be my last) the lobby of the hotel was under construction, so they had to improvise a little. Too bad, because standing there in the lobby after using the main entrance, is something every girl dreams about.


That brings me to the rooms. This time we got an upgrade, which gave us an executive room on the 5th floor. Remember that smile of my face? Entering the room just made it bigger. I’ll show you the pictures:


A big room, a lovely bed and a very stylish bathroom. The towels are so soft and thick, that you just want to cuddle them, lazy chairs to hang in and a toilet room, you can enter from the hall or from the bathroom. Enough closet space to hang out all our clothes and put away our suitcases. An iPad of the house, to check out Berlin or order room service. A home away from home.

Yep, I can hear you think: every hotel has a bed, a toilet and a bathroom. Some hotels also have soft towels and a big closet. So you just pay extra for the iPad? NO! No, no, no. As I said before: Hotel Adlon Kempinski is an experience. So, let’s go to the spa area! 🙂

First put on the luxurious bathrobe, take the special elevator down to the basement and enter the pool area. The first thing that happens is that someone offers you big towels (yep, the thick soft ones) and house shoes that are not slippery, so you can walk normally, even when the floor is a bit wet. There are comfortable sun beds and different kinds of fruit water and apples are waiting for you for free. Of course you can also order coffee or other drinks and snacks.

The pool is big enough, even if you’re not alone. It’s open from 06.00 till 22.00h, but even if you go on the busiest time, it’s fine. After swimming for a while, you want to relax your muscles in the big whirlpool. Also big enough and a good temperature. There’s also a sauna and they offer several massages and treatments. I’m not really that kind of girl, so I didn’t use that part of the spa.

For me, the difference between this hotel and others is the outstanding service. Go out for dinner at night (several options nearby, for example the Sony Center at walking distance) and come back to your room to find it ready for the night. Yes, you read correctly. Your room is made ready for the night. Which means, the spread is taken of the bed, next to the bed is a little towel with your house shoes. There’s a bag if you wish the hotel washes some of your clothes. On your night stand is the remote control of the tv, next to the channel guide. The curtains are closed, the night light is on. In the bathroom, towels hang in front of the two washbasins. The very first night I slept in this hotel, I just laughed out loud, just imagining myself in one of my favorite tv-series ‘Downton Abbey‘. I love it.


After a good night sleep, there’s one more luxury waiting for you: breakfast! Normally at the front of the hotel, where people like to be seen (which is my entertainment during breakfast). This time, because of the reconstruction, in the Palaisroom on the first floor. A big gourmet breakfast buffet with just about everything, going from sweet pastries, fresh fruit, all kinds of yoghurt, to the cheese, meat, caviar, bread and warm dishes. Bring an appetite! Because there’s also all the extra food you can order for free. Eggs the way you want them, pancakes, waffles, potatoes and so much more. Lots of juices to choose from, all freshly made, coffee and tea in all sorts and of course champaign. Very friendly hosts bring you to your table and there an even so friendly host makes your breakfast experience to a highlight of your day. Just enjoy!

I probably sell the hotel short with this blog. There’s so much more the hotel offers. But for now it has to do. ‘Till next time, dear hotel! We’ll meet again!

Posted in hotel, travel

Bratislava

Where: Bratislava
When: July 2016
Hotel: NH Bratislava Gate One

The good thing about traveling to see concerts is that you get to visit cities that hadn’t made it to your want-to-visit-list yet. Last week a concert took me to Slovakia and I had a day to see the capital Bratislava. Because I only had one day for sightseeing, my friends and I made the most of it. From the hotel we drove into the city to our first stop: a sightseeing boat on the Donau, seeing the city and its bridges from the water. We took the Bratislava Round Trip by LOD. The sound system wasn’t that good and lots of kids, so we didn’t get to here the story of Bratislava, but the view was great.

After that we wanted to visit the castle, BratislavskĂ˝ hrad. To walk up there with the summer heat was not our idea of fun, so we took the little sightseeing bus up there. An adorable old-fashioned bus took us around town and up the hill, with us sitting there, learning more about the city through our headphones and enjoying the sun through the open roof. Even if you don’t want to visit the castle itself, the bus takes a 15 minute break there, so you can enjoy the view of the city and the Donau from up there. Very pretty!

We decided to really visit the castle, with all its galleries, instead of driving back down with the bus. Beautiful paintings and pictures of the history of the castle, but what i loved the most was the staircase. Red carpet on white marble floor and giant mirrors with a golden frames. Even girls my age feel a little bit like a princess, for a few moments.

Walking down from the castle to Old Town was a bit more difficult as we thought. Took us a bit to find the way down and when we did I was grateful we decided to take the bus to the castle and not walk up there. It was pretty steep. But again: beautiful sights.

The old town is a lovely part of Bratislava. Tiny shops with souvenirs and a lot of handmade things. Loads of restaurants and bars with local specialties and of course loads of beer. Perfect way to spend an afternoon. Sitting outside, sipping ice-cold lemonade (if beer is not your thing), walking around and do a little shopping. And keep your eyes open, because there’s a lot to see on the streets, like those little funny statues everywhere.

It was a great day in Bratislava. Will definitely go back there again sometime. There’s way more to see and visit and it’s a very friendly city. The language can be barrier, but most of the people speak a bit of english or a bit of german, so you can manage pretty easily.

I can recommend the hotel to everybody as well. It’s not in the city center, but close to the airport and it’s easy to get there by car. The hotel has a spa on the 7th floor, with a pool to relax after a day of sightseeing. Parking outside is for free and of all the nights I spent at this hotel, I always hat a space outside. Across the street is a big inside shopping mall, with a big supermarket, little restaurants and mcDonalds. And even in the summer, people play ice hockey in the mall. A nice place to cool down 🙂

Want to read more about the concert I went to in Slovakia? Read my blog about the concert here.