I) BEST LOCATION ~ WORST LOCATION
BEST LOCATION indeed, because it is in the middle of everything and you can go walking everywhere. Kaiserstrasse is only one block away; Willy Brandt Platz is three blocks from this Clarion. Three more blocks and you are in Hauptwache, from where you can follow the large pedestrian street all the way to Konstablerwache.
And, most of all, it is only ONE BLOCK from the main train station (Hauptbahnhof) where you have more than twenty different lines of local TRAINS, TRAMS, SUBWAYS and BUSSES to go everywhere, including to the airport in fifteen minutes if you leave from Terminal 1 on Lufthansa or United (among other airlines), or 25 minutes if you leave from terminal 2 with AA, as you must add a good 10 minutes to change terminals.
Remember to purchase a DAY PASS at the airport because each ticket in Frankfurt will cost more than 2 € each way. A day pass is 8.30 € (a/o July 29, 2013) but you will be able to take all subways (including from and back to the airport), trams and busses that you want during one day.
A WEEKLY PASS will only cost 23.80 €. This means that if you use it for three days, you save one Euro. But if you use it four days or more, your savings will be more substantial. Unlike Vienna, there is nothing between 1 and 7 days.
Unlike Paris, where the weekly "NaviGo" always goes from Monday to Sunday, no matter when you buy it, in Frankfurt, more honestly (let's not be afraid to use the appropriate word!) it is good for seven days from the day you buy it. I bought my second pass on Wednesday, July 31, and it was good until my departure on Tuesday, August 6.
However, remember that, as it is the case in Paris, London, Madrid and every other big city I can think of, your pass will become a pumpkin at midnight, like Cinderella's carriage... But it is true that I only know two cities where it is good for a real 24 hours starting from the time you buy it: Las Vegas (Nevada) and Vienna (the real one, in Austria, not the US ones!)
Finally, this is an EXCELLENT LOCATION also because you have the ONLY LAUNDROMAT that I know in the center of Frankfurt, just two blocks away, on Moselstrasse. This is the same street of the Clarion, which is at the intersection of Taunusstrasse and Moselstrasse. The place is called WASCH SALON on Moselstrasse 17, Frankfurt 60329 ~ Email: email@example.com. It is about 20 yards from the Comfort Hotel, where I couldn't stay because they only had rooms without AC available when I arrived to Frankfurt.
This LAUNDROMAT is open Monday to Friday from 9 am to 11 pm and Saturday from 10 am to 11 pm (closed Sunday) and there is an attendant in the afternoon, unlike Paris locations, where there is not a soul around to help you if there is a problem.
I washed my cloth there August 3 and I only spent 4 € to wash with the soap included, and 1 € to dry during 15 minutes, which was enough for 5 days of clothes: 5 shirts, 5 socks and underwear + 1 pant + 1 sports jacket.
Five Euros (circa $6.60 US) is also what I usually pay to do my laundry in Paris. Now, compare this to the 8 € that I spent in Madrid on June 7, or the 9.80 € (which is $13 US!!!) that I had to pay to do the same thing at the only Laundromat that I found in Vienna last June 28, 2013! Of course, you will say that I only pay $1.50 to wash and $1.50 to dry in my building in Miami Beach, but this is Europe, where everything is two or three times the price as in the US!
For all those reasons, I say that this is an OUTSTANDING LOCATION.
HOWEVER, this is also a RATHER BAD NEIGHBORHOOD because this hotel is in a "red light" area, surrounded by Casinos, Sex Shops, "social" workers and a bunch of strange people in orbit 24/7 that I would not like to see in my dining room...
I should also add that it is NOISY. In spite of a double glass at each window (the bathroom also has a double glass one) you will still hear a continuous "boum, boum" due to the music coming from one of those gracious places...
Not the best environment for an old timer like me!
However, let's not forget what French playwright Jean ANOUILH (subject of my Doctoral Thesis at the Sorbonne many, many moons ago) wrote in "Cher Antoine", his masterpiece: "After the age of fifty, there's nothing left but the stomach".
Therefore, if you are back in your room by 9 pm like me, you won't have any problems with the bad environment. For those who are only familiar with the Tropics and have never traveled north of the Tropic of Cancer, let me point out that at this time of the year, it is still daylight at 9 pm in Europe.
Talking about stomach, in this area you have the choice between CHEAP FAST FOOD (you get "thirteen to a dozen" of those, as we say in France) or fancy, expensive restaurants.
If you want a reasonable lunch, you won't find many places around this Clarion, and will have to take tram 16 to go to "Schweizerstrasse" or to "Lokalbahnhof", only ten minutes from the main train station. I posted several reviews about those reasonable restaurants right here, in Trip Advisor.
From Lokalbahnhof, you just walk a couple of blocks towards the river and you will see GIOIA Italian restaurant or German Dauth-Schneider on your right hand side, both of which I reviewed already.
Or, if you are in an area where you see trams 14 or 18, you may take either one to go to the other end of this interesting sector with plenty of restaurants, although the Dauth-Schneider or the GIOIA will be farther, at the other end of the complex. The tram stop in this case is easy to remember: "Frankenstein Platz..."
II) BIG ROOMS 104 & 404 BUT POORLY FURNISHED: ONLY ONE CHAIR!
As usual, I requested a big room on the top floor. I even sent an E-mail the day before, but nobody bothered to read it. Therefore, instead of having the top floor, I got room 104 on the first floor during the first two days...
Since I booked three days in a row, I was upgraded from the "single" closet, to which I was entitled at this rate, to a "queen bed", as clearly written in my reservation. But there is no such thing in here. You have the choice between an army bed in a small room (what they call "single" room in London, half way between a phone booth and a closet...), a double bed (what they call "cama matrimonial" in Madrid) in a bigger room, or two single beds side by side in a still bigger room like this one.
This room 104 with two single beds, which I finally chose because it was the best (!?), is about the size of a double room at the Econo Lodge on Virginia Ave. (Atlanta airport), which is BIG by European standards...
It has an individual AC unit over the room entrance with a manual temperature selector on the wall, at the antipodes of the digital remote control that I had at the cheap "El Principe" hotel in Barajas, where I paid 35 € with breakfast, and for which I posted a review. Here, you must set the temperature for 10° C (50° F) in order to get 25° C (77° F).
This room opens right over one of the casinos and a couple of sex shops of the area on Moselstrasse, and has a big window with double glass which reduces the noise without eliminating it completely.
There is a mini bar where all expensive bottles for sale have been limited to one level and you have the second level empty, where you can put your own stuff, unlike the Best Western Scala, where there was no room left for you to put a glass of water to cool!
It has a mini desk (High School size...) with two AC outlets on the wall (but the lamp uses one of them) and ONE (ONLY ONE!) padded CHAIR.
And that's it for the furniture. NO table, NO club chair and, of course, NO microwave.
Have you ever seen a Clarion with one mini desk and ONLY ONE CHAIR? I confess that this was a premiere for me! I asked the clerk who showed me several rooms, and she said that all rooms only have one chair. As for the club chair, she didn't even know what I was talking about... Therefore, if you travel with your wife, she will have to sit on your lap to watch TV, as I wrote in mi review of "Hotel Klee" in Montevideo last year. Except that over there, at least, it was not a chair but a comfortable club chair with armrests!
How could they grant four stars to a hotel where there is NOT ONE single comfortable CLUB CHAIR in any room?
The Clarion where I slept in Las Vegas had a room twice as big, with a big desk, an executive chair, a table with more chairs and a reclining club chair with ottoman to watch the news.
The one where I slept in Troyes (France) last June 2013, had a smaller desk than Las Vegas (but twice as big as this one!), an executive chair, a table and two comfortable club chairs in the room plus two other club chairs on the balcony.
It is true that this Frankfurt hotel has the very first IRON and ironing board that I have ever seen outside of the US. But I would gladly trade those items that I never use, for a comfortable club chair where I could watch the news and read during several hours every evening!
The BATHROOM is also BIG by European standards, with a big sink and a big bathtub, while room 105 next door only has a shower.
There is a nice shelf over the sink where you can put your amenity kit, which is not always the case, and an even larger one under the window where you may put your transistor and listen to your favorite music.
I found two CLASSICAL STATIONS in Frankfurt with lots and lots of talking (auf deutsch, natürlich!) between two numbers: 96.7 FM + 98.0 FM. There is also 91.8 FM with soft music and traditional songs in English, and an ALL ENGLISH RADIO STATION at 98.7 FM: AFN (American Forces Network, which was my favorite station in the 1960s), broadcasting from Wiesbaden.
After seeing half a dozen rooms on different floors, I think that x04 seem to be the best ones, such as 104 or 404, where I moved the third day, which is identical to the one on the first floor, and where I spent a fourth day because the manager cleverly accepted to extend my stay until Tuesday at the same weekend rate.
Naturally, there is NO ICE MACHINE, but I have never seen an ice machine in any hotel outside of the US, whether in Europe, Africa or South America. However, there is a bar in premises where I got a big glass of ice every day, unlike the five or six small ice cubes that they gave me during ten days at the four stars Florida Norte hotel in Madrid!
Let me finish with three GOOD POINTS besides the outstanding location:
The staff is very kind and helpful, and even the maid speaks English, which is not always the case, even in London!
WiFi is FREE in your room, although the signal is very weak most of the time, even if you stand behind the door. But there are also two computers in the lobby that you can use for free, with the possibility of printing. This may come very handy for some folks.
Finally, there are about seventy TV channels in several languages. Channels 1 to 36 are all in German, but starting with channel 37 (CNN), there is a series of foreign stations in English like BBC, Nat. Geo., etc. (BUT NO Fox News); in French (TV 5 Monde and two other stations); in Spanish (TVE); about three Italian RAI channels and several Arabic channels.
IN SHORT, at 42.40 € ($56.20 US a/o August 2, 2013) per day without breakfast during the weekend, this is an OUTSTANDING VALUE for Frankfurt, where you will pay more everywhere to sleep in a closet with an army size bed and without AC. However, at 77 € ($102.25 without breakfast) Internet rate for the other days of the week, I would NOT go that far and would only say "Good Value".
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- Also Known As:
- Center Plaza Frankfurt
- Center Plaza Hotel Frankfurt