Wednesday, 16 March 2016

Back in Dusseldorf...

It was too cold and too late to wait for a train
Normally I fly with British Airways out of City Airport, but because I'd left it to the last minute, BA was looking a bit pricey so I opted for easyJet instead and flew out of Gatwick. I was on the 1605hrs train from Redhill to the airport and then, once there, took the shuttle to the North Terminal, went through security and then just wandered about until I was directed to gate 105 from where the plane took off.

The flight was good, although I missed the dulcet tones of the true Brit pilot that goes hand-in-hand with British Airways. I like the reassuring, "Welcome aboard this British Airways flight to Dusseldorf. My name is Captain Roger Finnegan and with me on the flight deck this morning is First Officer...". You get none of that reassuring stuff with other airlines and that includes easyJet.

In fact, the first really annoying thing about easyJet was the fact that there appears to be just one flight to Dusseldorf at 1810hrs and it doesn't arrive until around 2100hrs. This, I figured, would put me at a disadvantage when it comes to eating dinner. In a nutshell, it could put an end to any thoughts of dining at my favourite restaurant, Da Bruno, which I know is only a short walk from my hotel. An even shorter walk from the Burns Art Hotel than the Friends Hotel, which is saying something. In fact I didn't realise how easy it would be until I walked out of the hotel, having checked in, and almost tripped over the place.

View from room 32, Burns Art Hotel, Dusseldorf, Germany
On arriving at Dusseldorf Airport I normally take the Skytrain to the railway station and then walk to my hotel – and that was the plan on this occasion too. But first the ticket machine wouldn't accept either my credit or debit card and then there seemed to be a longish wait for the train in the cold. Furthermore, taking the train into town would mean no dinner and I was starving having had a small bottle of red wine and a couple of tiny packs of salted peanuts and cashews on the plane.

I had considered a Pollo Caprese flatbread, but then I remembered a text I had received earlier from easyJet saying that the oven on my plane was out of order and there wouldn't be any hot food. In a way it was a blessing in disguise because I did make it to my favourite Italian, albeit at just gone 10pm and enjoyed penne arrabbiata before hitting the sack.

The other view from room 32, Burns Art Hotel, Dusseldorf
I'm staying in the Burns Art Hotel. What a fantastic place! It's right next door to a Thai restaurant, where I've just had a light lunch having discovered that Da Bruno is packed to bursting and didn't have room for me. But the Thai restaurant was nothing to write home about. The hotel, on the other hand, is definitely worth a few words.

First, it's a 'boutique' hotel, which is another word for small and edgy and also a little bit 'trendy'. But that aside, they've put me in room 32 on the third floor and it's more like an apartment. There's a living area with a balcony, it's own television and a mini bar (that's full – not that I use minibars, but it's nice to know that the hotel trusts its guests, some don't). Then there's a bathroom where everything works, nothing is 'trendy' – meaning a tap is a tap, there's a plug in the sink that I can understand and use and all is well. At the other end of this double aspect 'room' is the sleeping quarters (a wardrobe, double bed, a desk and a flatscreen television plus, oddly, one of those cabinets in which a television is normally found,  but it's empty and surplus to requirements. The floors, throughout the hotel, including the rooms, are marble tiled and it's very quiet. There's also a fairly good wifi.

A late dinner at Da Bruno last night...
There isn't a restaurant, but that's not a problem as my all-time favourite Italian is under five minutes' walk away. There was, however, a decent breakfast offering down in the hotel's basement. The last time I was in Dusseldorf I stayed in the Friends Hotel, which was also a 'boutique' hotel characterised by 'trendy' things. The problem with the Friends was its breakfast offering, which I thought was piss poor. In fact, one of the chief reasons why I am not there now is because I didn't want their breakfast. Here at the Burns Art Hotel it's good: a selection of cereals, cooked meats, pastries, breads, fresh fruit and fresh fruit juices.

One thing did bug me slightly – the tea. It was wrapped up in sachets that were impossible to open so I did without and opted for a small glass of fresh orange juice instead.

It's costing me £280 for three nights, which ain't bad, and if you saw the size of the room you'd be amazed, honestly.

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