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Dresden: How's the construction coming around the Hilton?

Dresden: How's the construction coming around the Hilton?

Mar 8th, 2006, 07:57 PM
  #1  
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Dresden: How's the construction coming around the Hilton?

Most postings here re the Dresden Hilton are from a year or more ago. Any recent updates on the construction (aka noise problems?) around the Hilton? I'll be there in July.

Many thanks!
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Mar 9th, 2006, 06:46 AM
  #2  
 
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Kopp, at the moment it is a total mess in front of the Hilton. They are working furiously. And there is hope ...

as far as I know the facades will be finished by spring and in June they plan to have everything completed. No need to worry ...

There is another source of noise ... in the Münzgasse (eastern side of the Hilton) there are plenty of restaurants/cafes etc. with terraces which are usually full with folks in the evening till late night. You better make sure to have a room NOT to this side.

July is a great time for a visit on the other hand. Festivals, open-air concerts, sitting in beer gardens and wine restaurants ... I am looking forward to the summer (it is still snowing).

Ingo
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Mar 9th, 2006, 08:20 AM
  #3  
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Thanks, Ingo. Still snowing? Oh my. Long winter for you. Here in Austin, the oak trees are getting their spring leaves and my hyacinth are in full bloom. Should be about 80 degrees today.

I will take your advice and ask for a room not on the Munzgasse side. Thanks for that tip!

Thanks for the update. I keep reading about all the frenzied construction in the city. Quite a big city-wide project. We sure look forward to our visit to your city!



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Mar 17th, 2006, 11:37 AM
  #4  
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Hi Ingo,
I am taking my 15 year old son (father-son trip) for a two night stay in Dresden on our way to Prague in mid April. Do you have any suggestion for places that are fun for a teenager? He's been to the Zwinger and surroundig complex when he was 10. He understands only very limited basic German (3-4 years of children class).

Are you familiar with the Glaserne Volkswagen Manufaktur or the BMW new factory (if it's open to the public)? I read that the restaurant Lesage inside the Glaserne Manuf is also a special place to eat as well.

We are also trying to decide whether to hike in the Lubennau area (from Berlin) or Bastei. Can you tell me the best and quickest way to see the Bastei as we only have 2 nights in Dresden. I'm open to any other suggestion besides Bastei if you know of any other outdoor destination that are more practical due to our time limit(Radebeul or Meissen?) Thanks.
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Mar 18th, 2006, 04:37 AM
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Hi Dax,

The BMW factory is actually in Leipzig, not in Dresden. The tour of the VW Gläserne Manufaktur in Dresden is an excellent idea. Your teenage son will love it. You need to make a reservation in advance (crowds in mid April expected - Easter holidays). I heard they are about to take money for the tour, don't know when that begins. The restaurant Lesage is managed by the Kempinski Taschenberg Palais Hotel, the food is excellent, but it's not as pricey, the ambience is very modern (read: cold IMO).

Not sure if your son would like it, but maybe ... the so called Deutsches Hygienemuseum is nearby and they have just opened their new permanent exhibit: everything about health (also smoking and drugs), eating/drinking, the good old "man of glass" etc.

Two temporary exhibit are to see in April: one about evolution, the other about the Myth of Dresden (both with English texts too).

The interactive Kindermuseum is thought for kids from 4-12 years only.

www.dhmd.de (partly with English version)

Would a 15year old be too old for the miniature railway in the Grosser Garten? I don't know ;-)

Maybe a short ride on a paddle steamer is a good idea. He can see the old engines working.

The kids in Dresden do all the things the kids are doing all over the world too ... sports, skating, bowling, kart racing etc.

I would prefer Saxon Switzerland over Meissen or Radebeul for hiking anytime except the wine season in Sept. An option would be to take the steam railway from Radebeul to castle Moritzburg. A visit of the (hunting) castle is maybe an option. I don't think you want to take your son on a wine/champagne tasting tour at Schloss Wackerbarth in Radebeul, eh? ;-)

The fastest way to get to the Bastei is S-Bahn train to Pirna, bus to Bastei (depends on the day you're travelling, 1:05 - 1:40 h) or S-Bahn train to Kurort Rathen (35 min.), ferry to the other bank of the river and hiking up (45 min.).

I personally think that - although the Bastei is a great viewing point and sort of "must" - it is often crowded and for best views visited in the afternoon. There is not much to do there except enojoying the scenic views and visiting the (not very impressive) relics of the former castle Neurathen.

I recommend to visit the fortress Königstein instead - very impressive castle up on a plateau mountain with interesting exhibits on (mostly old) military history and some interesting buildings plus similar scenic views as from Bastei.

If you want to make a hike like the locals do it to experience the rocky sandstone patches better go to the area of the so called "Schrammsteine" near Bad Schandau. I can give you directions if you are interested.

Ingo
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Mar 18th, 2006, 02:24 PM
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Thanks Ingo! I just emailed the VW Manufakftur requesting a morning tour and lunch reservation. Afterwards we plan to take the S bahn to Pirna. I assume the bus to Bastei is right in front of the S bahn station. Ideally we'll return via Rathen. My son has seen one too many forts & castles in past trips that I think I'll visit Koenigsburg with his mom on another trip. He's definitely too old for the mini train or Kindermuseum.

We did enjoy Kart racing in the past and would like to do it if it's easily accessible from Dresden. Wine tour/tasting is within our interest as he has done tastings in private wine parties but I'm not sure if a 15 year old can do so in Germany.
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Mar 18th, 2006, 03:43 PM
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DAX,

if he looks reasonably mature and is accompnied by an adult, I wouldn't expect any difficulty at a wine tasting.
BTW I admire your approach - seems to be very un-American, which in this instance is fine with me ;-) - at least it did not do me any harm when my parents started letting me try beer at a very early age (I won't go into details, but it was just a sip from the foam).
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Mar 18th, 2006, 05:34 PM
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Hi hsv,
I was posting in a rush and didn't pick up the fact that Ingo was half kidding about wine tasting. I grew up in a wine oriented family. They started me at 14 on sweeter wines like Riesling & Gewuerztraminer and gradually taught me to appreciate French red wines. I have to be careful in the US but outside I let my son try when it's appropriate. He was proud that he was able to taste wine openly when we stopped at Luether & Wagner in Gendarmen Markt.
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Mar 19th, 2006, 05:26 AM
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Hi DAX and hsv,

When I was half kidding about the wine tasting I had the previous discussions on Fodors in mind. Like hsv I am glad about your approach to that. I don't think there would be a problem for your son tasting wine. You can say he's 16 and it is ok.

Btw, sweet Riesling? Not seriously! Riesling must be super-dry ;-)

I think your plan for the full day is excellent. Take tram No. 10 from the Gläserne Manufaktur to Hauptbahnhof (about 7 min.). 13:30 leaves a S-Bahn to Pirna, arrival 13:53. It is a 5 min. walk to the bus stop - walk under the bridge to the (relatively big) crossroad, which you cross and walk in the smaller street to the right of the Hotel (Gartenstrasse). Bus No. 237 leaves 14:12 and arrives 14:37 at Bastei. (Mo-Fr, not on holidays!)

The S-Bahn back from Rathen runs every 30 minutes.

For the wine tasting at Schloss Wackerbarth see www.schloss-wackerbarth.de

There are other, private options for wine tastings in Radebeul or Meissen available and even in Dresden at a private (small) winery in the park of Schloss Albrechtsberg. If you are interested I could provide directions and more information.
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Mar 19th, 2006, 08:56 AM
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Thanks for the wealth of info. It certainly helps a lot to know the details ahead of time. Glad to know that 16 is the drinking age limit.

Schloss Wackerbarth's up to date facility looks most impressive to visit but should I rent a car or can I still use public transportation? I prefer public transport so I can spend quality time with my son instead of concentrating on driving. Have you done a tour of Albrechtsberg? How good is it? Ideally, I want my son to do a good tour of the process prior to tasting to make it more interesting/educational.

I assume Mueller Thurgau(Rivaner) dominates the region. I wonder how much improvement they've done since DDR time. Can you mention some of the superior wines from Sachsen? I enjoy most Pinot Blanc from Alsace so I'm curious if there is an interesting bottle of Sachsen Weissburgunder.

Do you also have the Karting address in Dresden by any chance? Thanks again Ingo!
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Mar 19th, 2006, 10:57 AM
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Hi again DAX,

you're welcome!

Schloss Wackerbarth has a great wine tour - if you want to educate your son it is definitely the place to go. Yes, you can get there relatively easily by public transportation:

S-Bahn to Radebeul-West (-Meissen, S1). From there it is a 10-15 minutes walk on the main road (Meissner Strasse) westward to Schloss Wackerbarth. If you don't like the noisy and stinky traffic you have two options: Either take the bus EV 4 (as long as there are road works and the tram 4 doesn't run) direction "Weinböhla" (2 stops) or:
cross the main road, walk into the street "Moritzburger Strasse" and take the first turn left - follow the small streets "Am Bornberge" and then "Am Jacobstein" through a nice residential area at the foot of the vineyards to Schloss Wackerbarth - about 20 minutes.

I am amazed by your knowledge about German wine. Wow! Yes, you are correct, Müller-Thurgau dominates the region. But there are other, IMO better wines: Pinot Blanc (yes!), Pinot Gris (one of my favourites), Gewürztraminer (yes, must be sweet!), Elbling (a local specialty), and some more. Two reds are to mention: the inevitable Dornfelder (brrrrr) and the much better Pinot Noir - especially Prinz zur Lippe, Winery Schloss Proschwitz (www.schloss-proschwitz.de) makes an excellent Pinot Noir (Spätburgunder).

The best wineries are the previously mentioned Prinz zur Lippe and Schloss Wackerbarth. Well known small private wineries are Klaus Zimmerling (Pillnitz), who produces organic wine, Jan Ulrich (www.weingut-jan-ulrich.de) and Weinhaus Schuh (www.weinhaus-schuh.de).

Another good website is www.saechsische-weinstrasse.net

For information about the (small private) winery at Schloss Albrechtsberg see www.winzer-mueller.de He offers several tastings, not only wine but also in combination with cheese etc. and seminars - but in German only I think.

The wine in the region has improved dramatically since the fall of the wall. You must expect prices higher than average, though, since it is a very small wine region, the climate not even very mild (but in good years this makes for the best wines!) and the few bottles which are produced are all drunk in the region ;-)

The Kart racing is in Freital (a few minutes by S-Bahn/bus from Dresden). www.melkus-kartbahn.de
A good idea for the evening, by the way!

The Melkus family is well known in the East. They built a racing car type and drove it in races in the East block. I heard a re-building of the car is planned. One of the family drivers died in a bad accident in the early 1990s - on the motorway.
Ingo is online now  
Mar 19th, 2006, 01:39 PM
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Thanks for your great wine tips! I had no idea that Sachsen wine has come a long way. I have a cellar collection of Rhine & Mosel Rieslings, but I know nothing of Sachsen wines, so can you indulge me with some questions?

You seem to prefer Sachsen Pinot Gris over P.Blanc (can you spill the names of your favorites?). How do you discern the Pinot Gris from Blanc if they clump them as Weissburgunder? I would imagine the Blanc is made to contain more sugar than the Gris? Judging from your wine knowledge, I'm sure you know a good wineshop in oldtown to recommend.

I would really like to know which Spaetburgunder to take home as well. I had no idea that Dornfelder is also grown in Sachsen, it would be great to know the good Winzer if you know any. The Deutscherwein website has blanks for Sachsen winery list (they probably want to keep it a secret for themselves)

I apologize for making you work hard with my questions. We do group wine parties with Pinot blind tasting from different countries. Last year, I carried home some interesting Spaetburgunder from the Ahr for our party. My wife & I definitely enjoy Pinot Blanc and Gris, but people are way more excited with red wine blind tastings.

BTW, the Melkus kartbahn looks fantastic!
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Mar 19th, 2006, 02:00 PM
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Sorry Ingo, I just reread your posting, you already given me the names for good Spaetburgunder & Dornfelder. So please ignore that part of my questions.
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Mar 20th, 2006, 02:22 PM
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Hi again DAX,

your raving on the Dornfelder in general was a good reason to pay a visit to the next wine shop today. They had a Dornfelder by Schloss Proschwitz, which was excellent. I tasted and bought ;-)

Pinot Blanc = Weissburgunder
Pinot Gris = Grauburgunder

In the old town I can only recommend Karstadt's grocery (-1 floor of their department store) for good wine. They have a good selection of Saxon wine too.

If you'd like to buy in a small and private wine shop (with better advising and tasting) go to the Neustadt. Do you know the area around Hauptstrasse and Königstrasse? There you find the Neustädter Markthalle (across the street from Dreikönigskirche) with plenty of food sellers inside (nice ambience, btw) and on their -1 floor you see the "Weinkontor". They have a large selection of Schloss Proschwitz wines and also some others (Wackerbarth, Zimmerling). They have a bar where they serve the wine glass wise, but you can ask for (free) tasting too. Chances are good since they have that bar attached.

The same "Weinkontor" also has a shop on Königstrasse 4.

I personally use to go to the wineries and buy there.

By the way, Schloss Proschwitz' current Grauburgunder is sold out. Their Scheurebe ranks under the 100 best German wines (according to a well-known magazin, whatever that means).

Recommended wines by Schloss Proschwitz:
A local specialty is Goldriesling (has nothing to do with Riesling). It's not a top wine, but interesting. As said before, the Dornfelder is excellent. Yet better is their Spätburgunder, but it is expensive for 24 Euro - they have a similar Spätburgunder by "Edition Meissen", which is 18 Euro and almost as good (less tannin). I bought a bottle of their Weissburgunder and will see if it is worth a recommendation.

Since there is no Grauburgunder available from Schloss Proschwitz, I recommend to buy one from Klaus Zimmerling. As mentioned before, he produces organic wine. (his wife is an art designer and sculptor, the labels are her works, very beautiful).

Good luck!

Ingo

PS: tried to post this an hour earlier, but Fodors was down as it seemed.
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Mar 20th, 2006, 06:21 PM
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Thanks for your generous reply. I forgot the term Grau-B, actually,I don't think I've ever had it. I do enjoy a good Dornfelder,and in the past I've had some surprisingly good Scheurebe so I'd better taste them as well. I think Sachsen Spaetburgunder is a bargain compared to the Ahr which costs around 50 euro. Hopefully the Weinkontor is open late (till 18:00 maybe?)


FYI, I learned about German wine from my grandfather who used to do trade with a few companies in the Ruhrgebiet. He also went to the DDR for Zeiss and Osram but he used to say that there's no good Sachsen wine. Well, thankfully time has changed a few things.
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Mar 20th, 2006, 10:02 PM
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Ingo,

I have a hotel question. I have a reservation at the Westin Bellevue which I know is far from either Bahnhof but close to Weinkontor! We have to leave for Prague at 8 AM in the morning from Hauptbahnhof thus we are curious about the Dresden NEWA (Mercure 4 star) as it is the closest hotel to the station.

My kids also prefer a good modern, younger style hotel over a classic one when there is a choice. On the internet, the NEWA looks like a cool modern lounge style hotel, but I wonder if you've been there or if you know any visiting business colleague who has stayed there. I'd stay with the Bellevue if the NEWA is not a good hotel.

The Hilton is my third choice because the hotel is such a busy tourist hub and I had an unsatisfactory experience with their overwhelmed staff.
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Mar 21st, 2006, 10:57 AM
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DAX,

your grandfather was absolutely right about Sachsen wine. It was awful before the wall came down, with the exception of a few Winzers who kept the tradition on their private vineyards. You could not buy this wine, though. ;-)

Weinkontor is definitely open till 18:00. The shop in the Markthalle should be open till 20:00, but I will check it again.

By all means, make sure you don't get a room to the very noisy street in front of the Westin Bellevue. As far as I know the Westin draws the business crowds/conventions/congresses (many of my business colleagues have stayed there). I could imagine your kids won't like it very much.

The Newa is a better hotel for your kids I think. Definitely very modern style. All sorts of guests. Business folks, individual travellers, also some younger crowds. Did you see that it has a practically "all glass" facade? Good view from outside into the rooms ;-) A business colleague of mine stayed there and liked it. The staff was friendly and attentive, the breakfast fantastic. We ate at their restaurant "Le Boulevard" but were not very impressed. The disadvantage is the huge construction site right next to the NEWA toward the Hauptbahnhof. But if you can get a room to the north (view of Prager Strasse) it is fine.

A hint for trams: at the moment they are doing road works at Postplatz and Dr. Külz Ring (in front of Karstadt). No trams going from Hauptbahnhof to Postplatz. In spite of that a bus EV 11 is running from Hauptbahnhof Nord - Karstadt - Postplatz - S-Bahnhof Mitte. From the NEWA to Neustädter Markthalle take trams 3,7,8 from Hauptbahnhof Nord to Carolaplatz or Albertplatz (Markthalle inbetween, to see from the tram right before reaching Albertplatz).

Please, don't stay at the Hilton with your kids! Did you consider Art'otel?
Ingo is online now  
Mar 21st, 2006, 07:10 PM
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So glad I asked you about the hotels, we are switching to the Newa. Appreciate your tip about the ongoing constructions as well. I will request for a room facing Pragerstr. We prefer taking the tram along St. Petersburgerstr to go to Neustadt(since we donít have such nice trams in California!) unless Postplatz is the better way to get to Paulaner. My son has already seen the Zwinger by Postplatz but I probably should take him to see the Frauenkirche even though in principle IĎm not fond of paying to enter a CHURCH. They used to charge donation only if you want to be buried inside a churchÖ

You threw me a whole new curve with the Artíotel. Iím impressed by the nice brand new building with great customer reviews and so close to the Zwinger, but I am hoping that the Newa interior is nicer than Artotelís, isnít it? Iím thinking that for our travel purposes, itís better to be close the Hauptbahnhof for the trains to Bastei & Prague.

Thanks again for all your help Ingo, I certainly enjoyed our in depth discussion about wine . Youíve changed my perspective on Sachsen wine!
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Mar 22nd, 2006, 07:20 AM
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The art'otel is way too minimalistic for my taste, but other people love this style. The Newa is definitely nicer. And yes, it is closer to the railway station, which is more convenient for you day trip.

You don't need to pay for entering the Frauenkirche. Only for getting up to the top (different entrance). Be prepared that it is crowded ... and make sure to go down to the underchurch where you can see the big books with names of donators.

Postplatz is closer to the Paulaner Restaurant, but a stroll through the old town is interesting IMO.

I enjoyed the conversation with you here very much. I hope you and your kids will like the wines ;-)

Have a great vacation!
Ingo is online now  
Mar 23rd, 2006, 04:26 AM
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The very best hotel in Dresden is the Taschenbergpalais.
It has also the best location in town.
http://www.kempinski-dresden.de/en/home/index.htm
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