Essen: Where is it?
When you look at a map of Germany, there are many cities that automatically jump out at you, but Essen isn’t necessarily one of them.
Situated close to both Dusseldorf and Cologne this is a city, named European City of Culture back in 2010, often overlooked in favour of its more popular sisters.
Don’t get me wrong, both Dusseldorf and Cologne are beautiful cities well worth visiting, but if, like us, you prefer to explore somewhere slightly different Essen could be the place for you.
Like any city you visit, there will be some things that appeal and some things that you don’t really get – the hype doesn’t always live up to expectations after all but in a way that is the great thing about Essen.
It is more of an unknown entity.
And, for that reason alone, I loved our trip there.
Wandering along streets that others have yet to really write about, to look at sights that only locals really know about gives me a small thrill.
Of course, some of the best cities in the world are those that everyone visits and I would never deny that the likes of Paris and London have something very special to offer people, but what about the thousands of cities that are still unexplored.
Why You Should Visit Essen?
The city, Germany’s 9th largest, grew during the 20th century into an industrial hub thanks to the Krupp family and the development of both the coal and steel industry. Today, that industrial side of the city is still visible for all to see, and why not, after all this was at one time a small town that grew into a beautiful metropolis because of it.
In fact, Zollverein Coal Mine is one of the top attractions for many of Essen’s visitors and became a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2001. Shaft number 12, built in the Bauhaus style, which was opened in 1932 is considered both an architectural and a technical masterpiece. This had led to it gaining the reputation of being most beautiful coal mine in the world.
For those that appreciate the finer things in life, you have not one but three castles to explore – Schloss Hugenpoet, Schloss Borbeck and Schloss Schellenberg as well as the magnificent Villa Huegel, the stately home of the Krupps.
For culture buffs out there, wanting to see all the city has to offer, follow the blue-stoned trail that will lead you to over 80 of the city’s attractions, which includes some great architecture, works of art, sculpture and figures.
Whilst for those interested in a bit of retail therapy, there are many large shops to draw you and your purse inside.
The Best Time of Year To Visit Essen
This is a city that deserves tourists. Whether it is at the start of spring when the gardens of the stately home and castles are in colourful bloom or during the winter months when all of the festive lights begin to twinkle, Essen is a city packed full of character.
For something slightly different, why not head to Essen over the Christmas period to visit their very own International festive market which has grown over its 500 year old history and now exceeds 200 stalls. Here you can indulge in a glass of gluhwein whilst munching of a piece of stolen cake or some Lebkuchen after a heavy morning exploring the delights of the little wooden stalls all set up around Kennedyplatz in the centre of the city. (For 2016 the Christmas market is running from the 17th November until the 23rd December).
Where to stay in Essen
For us, when we start researching a city break we have certain things we look for in a hotel.
Firstly, the hotel needs to wow us. It needs to stand out in the crowd, and draw us in. We like quirky features, vibrant colours and comfortable rooms. If it doesn’t look like we can sprawl out on the bed for a few hours after a heavy day of sight-seeing to recover then it really isn’t for us.
Secondly, location is key!
We hear it time and time again these days – location, location, location; but for us when visiting a city the last thing we want to do is to have to commute in to the centre each day in order to explore. If I cannot roll out of bed and into an attraction the hotel is nearly always discounted.
That is why; the only choice for us in Essen is Motel One.
Who are Motel One?
Motel One was born out of a vision where the CEO, Dieter Muller, wanted to develop a welcoming culture.
“The bedrock of our role as hosts is an open, trusting relationship, where we respect and appreciation everyone, regardless of where they come from”.
This culture is evident as soon as you cross the threshold.
Waiting for you on arrival are a host of staff, all dressed in cyan blue, with the simple aim of making your stay as pleasurable as possible.
Check in is swift but informative and works on a pay-as-you-go system. This means that as you check in you also pay for your room taking away the need to stand in long, arduous queues at the end of your stay.
Here at Motel One Essen, they are also very proud of their building and it is not unusual to hear a member of the team talking to a customer about the building that it once was. To me, it is a sign that people understand the history of their city and it made me warm to the brand just a little bit more.
Motel One claim that, in each of their rooms you can both ‘relax and work just like at home’. With their high-quality pocket-sprung mattresses, a selection of different pillows to suit all sleeping styles, fine Egyptian linen and top quality technical accessories I was excited to see if it would live up to my high expectations.
And I do have high expectations. I believe that if you are paying for something you should get what is advertised. I can see Paul rolling his eyes at me for saying it, but there are some places that advertise one thing, build peoples hopes up and then let you down at the last minute.
Motel One is a brand that I can now honestly say, does exactly what it says it will do. From the friendly welcome to the quality of the finished design this is a modern, boutique hotel great for the price-conscious.
Each hotel follows a distinctive colour palette – cyan blues, charcoal greys and dark, warm browns. Add to this the cozy, inviting lounge and bar area available at each hotel and you have a brand that people will take notice of.
During our stay we were impressed with the size of the room, the fact that there was a completely separate area to work in and a very large rain shower to relax under.
But that is not the only thing that stands out at this hotel.
They are responsible hoteliers.
All of the products in the shower room are organic, all of the food at breakfast is responsibly resourced and they even have a training programme for those that are less fortunate in the world.
To me, this is a hotel that has really thought about more than just where you lay your head. The CEO has really thought about how Motel One appears to the rest of the world.
So, if style, location and affordability are for you then in our opinion Motel One should be at the top of your list, when considering where to book for your next city break.
Where is Motel One
Motel One Essen is just one of over 60 hotels to choose from across Europe.
With properties in Germany, Austria, The Czech Republic, Switzerland, France, Spain and UK there is a wealth of style just waiting for you to explore.
One thing is for sure, whenever we travel, should there be a Motel One available this will be our hotel of choice.
We did receive a complimentary stay whilst in Essen, but regardless of this all views and opinions are our own. We would like to Thank everyone at Motel One in Essen for a fantastic stay.