Sunday 19 December 2010

Grand Hotel Karel V, Geertebolwerk, Utrecht

Slap, bang in the middle of Utrecht, the Grand Hotel Karel V is a luxurious and fairly-traditional establishment that may be resting on its laurels. Built in the grounds of a medieval monastery, the hotel is an ensemble of white buildings, some with tall elegant sloping roofs, which manages to conjure up a sense of peace and quiet in a prime location near the attractive canals, restaurants, bars and shops in the heart of this ancient city. However, some of the bedrooms are in a bland modern block. They are comfortable and quiet, but the decor is a bit gaudy and they have clinical laminate-wooden floors. Still, the en-suite bathrooms, equipped with showers, rather than baths, are up-to-date with heated towel-rails and smart olive tiles. There is no WiFi in the rooms and getting on the Internet via the ethernet cables can be fraught with technical glitches. However, there is free WiFi, which works well enough, in the quirky lobby, where you can admire the brash modern art from one of the blue leather sofas. The Karel V's buffet breakfast has just about everything you might want, including decent speciality breads, scrambled eggs and smoked salmon. But the machine coffee is lackluster and the fruit salad lame. Overall, a bit disappointing for a "grand" hotel. 6/10