Western firms improve Weimar's lodgings base

WEIMAR, Germany -- Since the reunification of Germany, major Western hotel operators have moved into Weimar, overhauling and building properties, to give the city a modern accommodations base, with properties in all price ranges.

Perhaps the best hotel in town is the Kempinski Hotel Elephant Weimar, located in the city's Market Square. The original building has been an inn or a hotel for more than 300 years and has rented rooms to such luminaries as J. S. Bach, Goethe, Schiller, Liszt, Wagner, Tolstoy and Thomas Mann. It was renovated fully in 1993, when its 102 rooms and suites were done over in keeping with its original Bauhaus and Art Deco styles, and the whole property was brought up to modern luxury standards.

The Kempinski has 1999 package rates of about $118 per person, double, for one night or $206 for two nights, including breakfast, VAT and service charges. The hotel also can provide tickets for events in the Cultural Capital program. Kempinski Hotels, Phone: (800) 426-3135.

Also at the top of the hotel quality list in the city is the Weimar Hilton, with 294 rooms and suites, a nonsmoking floor, two restaurants, a pool, a sauna and a solarium. Rates range from $135 to $160 for a single room, $156 to $180 for a double. Hilton Hotels, Phone: 800-932-3322, Web: www.hilton.com.

Newly opened last spring in Weimar was the first class Dorint Hotel Weimar, a 122-room property operated by Germany's fast-growing Dorint chain. Rates are from $120 to $168 for a single room or $150 to $222, double. Dorint, Phone: (800) 650-8010, Web: www.dorint.de

The Steigenberger Group is represented by the 134-room InterCity Hotel, a restoration of a 130-year-old hotel located opposite the city's main railway station. Rates start at $72 per night for a single room, $84 for a double. SRS Worldhotels, Phone: (800) 223-5652, Web: www.srs-worldhotels.com.

Meanwhile, France's Mercure chain offers a modern, 164-room hotel in Weimar, with nightly rates of about $102, single; $138, double. Mercure Hotels, Phone: (800) 637-2873

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