HOTEL de France, at No. 49 on Wiesbaden’s elegant Taunusstrasse, a few minutes’ stroll from the Old Town, was built as a grand town mansion in the boom days of the 1880s.
Canadian-born Polly Forsdyke and her Austrian husband Markus Seegert took over the hotel in 2005, transforming the building and creating its stunning terraced garden.
Though the entrance hall and some of the ground-floor rooms retain the original moulded ceilings and chandeliers, the rest of the interior is ultra modern. Public rooms are furnished in dark woods, contrasting with light oak in the upper floors. Bathrooms have black granite and white tiles. Beds are seductively comfortable with crisp white linens and high-quality throws.
All rooms and suites come equipped with flat-screen satellite television and DVD-CD player; a selection of DVDs is available from the reception desk.
Thirty-seven rooms in three categories (deluxe, superior and classic) start at j132 ($200) for a classic double.
The deluxe Tyrol room, furnished in traditional alpine style with a large handpainted canopy bed, wooden floors and a Carrara-Marmor bathroom, costs j282. It has its own terrace with direct access to the hotel’s wonderfully peaceful Italian-style tiered garden, Forsdyke’s special joy.
The 520sq mof cascading Mediterranean terraces feature a 100-year-old olive tree, surrounded by exotic palms and fig trees, and Seegert’s herb garden, with a wonderful scent of lavender and rosemary; a great place to stroll or flop after a long day.
All room rates include three free drinks from the mini-bar for each guest, free internet connection and the sort of buffet breakfast that makes lunch unnecessary.
Seegert, a trained chef, runs Restaurant M, one of the city’s better places to dine, on the hotel’s ground floor.
www.hoteldefrance.de. Philip Thorniley
Garden home: Hotel de France