Stuttgart, the major city of Southwest Germany, sits in a bowl surrounded by a ring of hills that are green with forests and vineyards. At the rim of one of these hills, adjoining a large forest park is Waldhotel Stuttgart, where we stayed for a week while visiting the city and its neighboring half-timbered towns.
From the moment we stepped into the spacious lobby we were attracted to the eye-catching art that highlights its walls. We later learned that it is all the work of one local artist, Christa Winter, done on handmade paper and in themes reflecting the surrounding forest and its wildlife. We were delighted to find more of her original works on the walls of our room. Her themes of birds and plants made our room seem part of the garden and forest scene that a whole wall of glass seemed to bring right into our room.
Although the hotel is set in an historic building, the wing with guest rooms is modern, with contemporary design and decor. Our Superior King Room was large, with a wide balcony overlooking the lawn and park. Although we could see people enjoying the walking trail along the edge of the forest, they were too far away for voices to carry.
In addition to the sublimely comfortable king-sized bed with a down comforter and a choice of pillows, the room was furnished with a love seat, chair, a small table and a large desk. The lighting was excellent. In addition to the natural light from the wall of windows, there was a light on the desk, a lamp for the loveseat and reading lights at each side of the bed. There was no drawer space, but the closet as fitted with shelves that made our clothes much easier to see. We were able to unpack completely for our six-night stay. In the closet we found soft robes, slippers, detachable hangers and a safe large enough for our laptops and cameras.
I was happy to find a separate tea kettle, so I didn’t need to drink coffee-flavored tea made in the in-room coffee machine. And the teabags provided here and in the restaurant were top quality. Which brings me to breakfast. The buffet was bountiful, with fresh-cut seasonal fruit, a selection of cheeses, local ham and smoked salmon, several hot entrees and a wide selection of delicious breads, grainy rolls and breakfast pastries.
The frosted walls of the large rain-bath shower separated the bedroom from the bathroom, where there was a wide vanity and a well-lit mirror in addition to the lighted make-up mirror, which adjusted easily to any height. The only complaint we had about the bathroom was that the light glowed through the frosted glass into the bedroom.
The staff was well trained and highly responsive to every question and request. At least two English-speaking receptionists were always on duty, and able to give detailed directions to even some very obscure attractions, like Stuttgart’s Pig Museum. The U-Bahn city transit line was about seven minutes’ walk from the hotel, and we used it the entire time, appreciating the direct connection to the center of the city. It was easy to use, especially since we were able to buy a deeply discounted pass, an arrangement the hotel makes for its guests.
We didn’t take advantage of the Waldhotel’s spa services, but we did enjoy the sauna and the adjoining lounge area and terrace. Some rooms have convenient kitchenettes for longer stays, but we enjoyed the hotel’s own restaurant, Finch, and sampling the variety of restaurants that are within a five-minute walk of the door. During our stay we dined at nearby restaurants with Italian, Greek and traditional Swabian menus. Each of these had a pleasant outdoor dining terrace to catch the summer breezes.
Waldhotel Stuttgart gave us the right atmosphere and location for a long stay. It provided easy and direct access to the art museums and attractions in the city center and to the main train station for visiting nearby Ludwigsburg Palace and surrounding Medieval towns. But when our sightseeing was finished we could return to a peaceful retreat to relax, walk in the woods and stroll to dinner in the evening.