Living in Germany affords many excellent opportunities for travel that I had never thought of before moving here. Around the end of November in particular, Germany as a whole really comes into its own as it is flooded with Christmas markets in pretty little villages and towns spread throughout mountainous woods and quaint lakeside towns. A couple of weekends ago, my husband and I set off to near Hameln, or Hamlin as the fairytale calls it, for his birthday. We were not disappointed by Hameln, its market and the stunning hotel we stayed at in the nearby town of Aerzen: Schlosshotel Muenchausen.
Hameln is about a an hour's drive from the international airport of Hanover (with its own excellent Christmas market) and is full of streets of houses and buildings with timber clad sides. Its market is as close to a chocolate box picture as reality can be. Our hotel, about ten minutes drive away, continued along the same theme. I booked through booking.com and got a fairly good deal for room only at a 5 star hotel. As we had the mongrel with us, we stayed in a much newer annex of the grounds than the Schloss itself. Our room was tastefully kitted out, with a large bathroom and even dog bowls and blankets for the dog.
The hotel, apart from dog bowls, also boasts a couple of golf courses, a spa and a Michelin starred restaurant amongst its amenities on top of being easy on the eye. The interior of the schloss itself was incredibly elegant (not functional as per most German hotels outside of Berlin and Munich) and the service we received was friendly and efficient. On the night we stayed, the husband and I opted to go to the cellar restaurant as opposed to the Michelin starred restaurant. (We tend to prefer a couple huge plates of food as opposed to several plates of small morsels). The food was excellent, the atmosphere friendly and much better value than the upstairs eatery! Beforehand, we had a pre drink in the bar, which was situated in a one of a kind room, with a huge Christmas tree, a roaring fire and excellent pink bubbles. Our breakfast, whilst completely unnecessary and a tad expensive at 25 euros a head, was delicious and afforded us wonderful views of the grounds and the hills beyond.
On a rainy Sunday morning, we left relaxed from our time in the spa and almost uncomfortably full at the various eateries we frequented in our 24 hour stopover in this part of Germany. It was a great way to celebrate a birthday and get ourselves into the Christmas spirit. Whilst it the hotel and sweet markets nearby made it as romantic a weekend away as the husband and I will ever get, it would be fabulous spot to visit with a group of friends. There is golf, hiking and cycling for the outdoor minded and a spa for those more laterally inclined. I hope in the near future that the stars align and several diaries have the same weekend free, so that such a group visit of my own friends can take place!