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DeborahAnn Nov 9th, 2011 11:45 AM

Is 6 months out too early to be booking a hotel in Germany
We are planning our first trip staying entirely in Germany 2012. We have visited Germany as daytrips from France several times. I usually start my hotel search with and then do more research after that.

For our arrival date, May 9, I was looking at a one night stay in Cologne near the train station. When I put in those dates out of 243 hotels listed in Cologne only 100 were available and few were located within .4 km of the train station. Am I starting my search too soon and is it likely the hotels don't book so far in advance or is this one of those dates I've read warnings about that book early and fully in some cities in Germany? Even the Ibis I would select doesn't have a single room available on Wed, May 9th.

I know sometimes hotels don't open their schedule until after Jan 1st for that year but I didn't know if this could be the reason so many of the hotels I would like don't show availability.

I'm wondering if I should hold off until after the start 2012 or book a less than preferable hotel--one that I can cancel if a better one becomes available but in which I may have to settle on for our first night in Germany

Thanks for any insight you can provide. Deborah

Dukey1 Nov 9th, 2011 12:04 PM

Sometimes hotels don't open their schedules a year out and often times chain hotels such as the LeMeridien which is basically in sight of the Cologne station do.

If you are wanting a particular hotel which has not opened their calendar yet I would E-MAIL them, give your date and ask for a rate quote. I have done this MANY times, particularly to non-chain-affiliated hotels in Europe and the vast majority of times they have responded with a quote. Only a few have said they don't know the rates yet and those have told me when they WILL know the rates.

hetismij2 Nov 9th, 2011 12:04 PM

There is an international textile trade fair at the Messe from 8-11 May 2012. That may be affecting room availability.

DeborahAnn Nov 9th, 2011 12:18 PM

Thank you both for this helpful information. Now I am aware of the trade fair and have good advice for getting a hotel with a better location. Now if someone could just do something about the high room rates I'm finding ;;) Deborah

DAX Nov 9th, 2011 01:20 PM

Honestly Cologne is not worth paying the high convention rates. You can stay in Duesseldorf and train to Cologne in one hour or maybe even less. The trains and S bahn can get really crowded during rush commute hours. Once I had to stand during the entire ride since I didn't reserve a seat. You can enjoy Cologne in one day, see the tall cathedral then explore the maze of shopping alleys.

If Duesseldorf is too costly, you can also consider staying in Bonn.

MyriamC Nov 9th, 2011 01:35 PM

Or you stay in Aachen which is a 50 min. train ride to Cologne. Aachen itself is a pretty small city. I like it better than Düsseldorf, although the latter is only between 20-30 mins. by train to Cologne.

dfourh Nov 9th, 2011 04:55 PM

Try also who do a pretty comprehensive job in Germany, and also have very flexible booking terms. I use a lot, but for Germany always go first to (for instance, that night they have a hotel 0.2 miles from the station for 63 Euro, and another one that gets very high customer ratings 0.3 miles from the station for 86 Euro).

DeborahAnn Nov 9th, 2011 08:05 PM

Thanks for the suggestions. I'd prefer to stay in Cologne as we are only there as an overnight to see the Cathedral.

I did check out and for the 9th I didn't see anything for 63 or 86 euros. I'll check again. What I did see was most of the hotels did not offer free cancellation. I would like to be able to cancel at least up to a month ahead of our date without a penalty, just in case more hotels become available for our date. Thanks again, Deborah

quokka Nov 10th, 2011 12:21 AM


agedude Nov 10th, 2011 01:18 AM

Hello Deborah,

Just to pass on my good fortune. I'll be in Cologne on 21-23 Dec (gotta see that Christmas Market). I booked my hotel on and will be staying at the Renaissance Cologne Hotel. I got the room for $65 bucks a night, a total of $153.92 for the two nights including taxes. I booked the room on 17 Sep. It's supposed to be a 5 star hotel, but I guess I'll find out when I get there. Not sure why it's 5 star when I'll also be staying at Marriotts in Ghent and Brussels rated 4 stars. Anyway, if you are interested in trying Priceline, check the websites and They can give you some instructions for bidding on Priceline, using Hotwire (another discount site without the bidding) and what successes others have had, the winning hotel names, and the price they paid. On my two week trip next month, I used Priceline for Brussels, Ghent, Amsterdam, and Cologne. Lowest was the $65 and the highest was $77 in Amsterdam.

The Renaissance is .6 Miles from the Railway station/Dom, but there is a U-ban (subway) stop about 200 yds from the hotel according to Google maps. I did a quick search on betterbidding, and the Renaissance and the Marriott (closer to the train station) were the two primary hotels people had won using Priceline. Bids were $55 to $65.

qwovadis Nov 10th, 2011 02:54 AM best deals from $60 or so big cities

bidding priceline wait till 4-4 mos B4 trip. great discount cash no bid site works well also

Best deals/prices usually closer in to actual dates though.

Another tip join all the preferred guest clubs it is free

Do credit cards for free discount stays etc

U will get FREE suites club floor upgrades even with if you ask the manager nicely they are

required to upgrade preferred guests

to the VERY BEST available.. $80 for the biggest suite

at the marriott Zurich for me not long ago reg 2000 euro/nt

Cowboy1968 Nov 12th, 2011 09:23 AM

try as quokka said
it's the market leader in germany and usually gets you a very permissive cancellation policy (usually no fee until date of 1st night) and no pre-payments.

KarenE Nov 12th, 2011 09:55 AM

Cologne is quite an ugly city, not worth staying there overnight in my opinion.

DeborahAnn Nov 12th, 2011 01:23 PM

Thanks for the comments. Karen, we'll accept a less than attractive city so that we can visit Germany's largest cathedral, undamaged by bombings and an Unesco World Heritage Site.

Unfortunate for us the one day we can schedule time in Cologne is our arrival day from the US. I don't think our travel wits will be their sharpest so overnighting in Cologne will be easier on us but not our budget since we arrive during one of Cologne's many trade fairs. The Cathedral is one of my Germany "must sees" Thanks again, Deborah

DAX Nov 12th, 2011 03:08 PM

It's a matter of taste, I have stayed in Cologne several times and always enjoyed my stay as long as it is not during a major trade show period. My favorite place to stay is the Sofitel, smallish rooms but very nicely done and the staff knows how to make their guests feel special, great breakfast buffet. Great location next-door to the roman ruin museum and cathedral.

You've got an incredible deal about a quarter of what I paid, maybe because it's in December.
The Renaissance is my second favorite hotel to stay, probably because they gave me an upgrade both times I stayed there. The building may look like a 4 star hotel but the service is 5 star. I love their breakfast buffet and the large size bedrooms on the top floor. It's a straight line walk from the train station. It has a decent location, much better than the Hyatt which is on the wrong side of the river.

I agree with Myriam, Aachen is more fun to stay and explore, the city is shaped like a big wide bowl with a gentle circular slope, pleasant for strolling and more intimate than Duesseldorf. Aachen also provides easy access for a day trip into Luxembourg. I suppose Duesseldorf is closer to Cologne though it certainly felt like a long hour when I took the train standing up in the rush hour sardine train.

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