The ALFA Hotel is located one block off a small downtown plaza popular with the locals to gather for a drink or a meal and two blocks from a streetcar stop, giving it a very convenient location. You don't have to walk more than a few blocks to sample a variety of cuisines: Italian, Mexican, Greek, Thai, and traditional German, as well as many others. The hotel is situated on a corner, and the lobby is inviting, nicely furnished, and clean, if rather small. The lobby desk is staffed 24 hours, and the staff were always attentive and helpful, although none were fluent in English--not surprising given that Karlsruhe is not really a tourist destination.
The hotel is small, only three floors, and the rooms are also compact. However creative furniture choices and use of built-ins kept the room from feeling cramped. My window opened to an interior court, with a view of the skylight. Even while the windows were open, street noise was not noticeable, and with the windows closed, the room was very quiet. The bed was comfortable, with spotless white duvet and linens. Four pillows were provided, and the pillow filling seemed to be small cubes of foam rubber. They were comfortable when you first went to bed, but they quickly morphed into lumpy, uncomfortable shapes. The bath was small, but efficiently laid out; linens were clean and in ample supply. Heat was supplied by radiators, which you can adjust or turn off. There is no minibar or supplies to make coffee.
The TV had a good selection of German channels, but CNN World was the only English language channel. Wi-Fi was free, with a strong signal. The front desk will give you as many passwords as you need for all your devices, and the password lasts the length of your stay. I didn't try streaming a video, so I can't express an opinion on connection speed.
The hotel provides a breakfast buffet, and depending on how you made your reservation, it may be included in your room fee or cost €10. The buffet is fairly typical, with an assortment of breads, cold cuts, and other sandwich-making supplies. Also available are a small assortment of dry cereals, yogurt, and fresh fruit. As for hot foods, there were 1 or 2 kinds of sausage, crepes, bacon (undercooked every day), and scrambled eggs. Overall, selection and quantity of food was adequate, but it is more modest than other buffets I've encountered. Coffee was prepared on demand, and it was very weak. I suggest bringing Starbucks Via packets if you like strong coffee--Karlsruhe has at least three Starbucks if you need to replenish your supply. If you plan to use the buffet, and you're an early riser, check with with the desk staff if a German holiday will coincide with your visit. On holidays, the buffet opens an hour late. This happened during my stay, and no advance notice was given--another indication that the hotel caters to German guests who would be familiar with the holiday calendar.
Except for one glitch--the maid skipped my room one day--the 4-night stay went without a hitch.
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