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It’s not the Stanley Hotel…

October 19, 2015

…but as first impressions go, it could be.  Bachmair appears to be cobbling together a number of properties on the block under the name Bachmair am See (there is also the Bachmair-Weißach at the other end of town), so the room I was given was previously in the Park Hotel, accessible by underground passageway… and several long hallways … to the very end next to a vault-like door, unlocked and leading to unfinished attic space under the eaves.  I suspect the isolation was due to having requested to bring my small, well-behaved cat (pets, particularly dogs, are often welcome in European hotels), but it’s a long, silent walk, the old-style lock clunking and echoing down the hall.

But it was a lovely and spacious room, particularly for being a Pet Room, mountain- rather than lake-view.  The whole of the place is well-maintained, if dated.  I do not know if the unused spaces ~sitting rooms, bars, even a spare reception desk~ are left unneeded now that the Bachmair is no longer the hot-spot it was decades ago (as depicted in photos in glass cases lining the walls of the lonely passageway, along with displays of items ostensibly for sale… somewhere) or if they are put to service during high season, which now it is not.  Regardless, entering the Park Hotel’s front door and passing through the lobby, I half expected to see ghost clerks, bartenders, and porters in ancient livery.  I took to greeting them myself.

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The amenities in the room include soap & shampoo, real washcloths (it may be that only Americans will appreciate this, but Euro hotels seldom have them), a dorm fridge, but no kettle or tea things.  I asked at the desk for an electric kettle to make tea in my room.  Very soon at my door was a waiter carrying a tray with a thermal carafe and tea service.  Room service.  I sent it back and tried again.  A functional kettle with a broken lid arrived.  Hating to be a further bother, I accepted it at that.  Fortunately, I did have my go-mug in which to prepare tea, but wouldn’t a cup and saucer have been a thoughtful gesture?

As it turns out, and to give the benefit of the doubt, my room was, in fact, closer to the spa/sportzentrum/“Beauty Farm” area than are those in the main building.  I had booked ahead several treatments.  However, there are even more convenient rooms on the other side of the fire wall in what appears to have been yet another separate hotel in the past.  There is a large indoor pool (also one outdoors for summer) with the main building, but aside from the Ladies’ Sauna (which is currently closed for maintenance), I found no other jacuzzi/steam/sauna facilities beyond those in the Sportzentrum, which are sufficient under current circumstances (~7 steam cabins for 2, half with one of several aromas on demand; 2 saunas; 1 4-person jacuzzi (+1 more outdoors, but dry), and a small bathing pool) but certainly not for anything approaching the capacity of the hotel.

I enjoyed my “royalty in exile” fantasy, sitting in the lounge -alone- overlooking the lake through a long wall of glass, padding down to the spa in my robe & slippers without passing a soul in the halls, even at breakfast ~which is exemplary, more later~ I could have had a dining room or two to myself.  I graciously shared the sunroom and its pleasant garden view with the few other guests in appearance.

Yes, breakfast!  As full a German Früstück as you could ask for:  fruit both whole & cut, Weißwurst & mustard, salmon & horseradish, breads & (surprisingly good) pastries & Bretzeln, jams & honeys, cheeses & sliced meats (I’m vegetarian, but it looks like a full spread), yogurt & quark, cereals, bacon & eggs, fruit & vegetable juices (sauerkraut & beet, I’m telling you!), plus tea and/or coffee.  Outstanding.

As to staff, they’re a bit of a mixed bag, ranging from pleasant & helpful to uninformed & useless.  The in-room wifi began as objectionable, only accessible with the strength of a laptop (smart phone couldn’t see the network at all except directly below the router down the hall hanging from cables in the wall), requiring re-log-in every time the device had been closed.  When the log-in stopped appearing altogether and service was completely lost, I asked at the desk (the one with live people) and was told, “It’s not working.  Maybe you can have it here in the lobby.”  While poaching the one remaining open account from said router in the hall, I happened to catch a younger staff member.  “There is a new system.  You will need a new password from the desk.”  Oh really.  If they couldn’t inform the guests, the least they might have done was explain it to all their clerks.  The next one I asked knew exactly what to do and offered me to see the manager about her colleague.  I declined; I had my interwebs back.  And the new system is… better, but still terribly weak.

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Housekeeping ~whom I’d kept out with the door hanger for most of the week for fear of my cat escaping and having no need of their service~ is, evidently, amazing.  After lunch, I took the cat for a walk in her pram, leaving the “Please Don’t” hanger in the room but not putting out the “Please do” hanger instead.  There was no sign of a housekeeping cart left in the hall, being so late in their day.  We were out for 45 minutes.  The room had been serviced.

So, overall, I cannot ascertain what their business model may be.  It is a huge, rambling hotel of a certain age with scads of dining space for the sole purpose of breakfast.  There is a separate in-house restaurant whose menu was both expensive and unappealing, so I have no opinion there.  The minimal spa facilities (even the Infrarotkabin salesman hasn’t succeeded there) and the lack of such things as a kettle & tea/coffee supplies in the rooms seems to imply guests are expected to be away and enjoying the beautiful out of doors.  With all of this in mind, I wouldn’t be opposed to another stay …  again out of season; I dislike waiting for the jacuzzi, but a near-private hotel is a treat.

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