Review: Gewandhaus Dresden, Marriott Autograph Collection

Filed Under: Hotels, Marriott

Over the weekend we decided to do a quick trip from Berlin to Dresden, which is about two hours from Berlin (either by car or train). We decided to stay at the 94-room Gewandhaus Dresden, which is a Marriott Autograph Collection property, and generally regarded as one of the best hotels in the city.

Booking Gewandhaus Dresden

Gewandhaus Dresden is a Category 3 Marriott Bonvoy property, meaning that a free night ranges in cost anywhere from 15,000 points per night (off-peak) to 20,000 points per night (peak).

Marriott was running a promo where all hotels were pricing at the off-peak rate, so we paid just 15,000 points for a one night stay. I value Bonvoy points at ~0.7 cents each, so to me that was like paying ~$105 for a night, which compared favorably to the paid rate of 170 EUR (~$200).

Gewandhaus Dresden review

Our stay here was quick and this is a city hotel, so I’ll keep this review relatively short. Let’s take a look at the lobby area of the hotel, our room, the breakfast restaurant, the pool & gym, and the service.

Gewandhaus Dresden lobby

Gewandhaus Dresden is super charming — it’s right in the heart of Dresden, and the exterior doesn’t at all look like a property you’d expect to be managed by a global hotel group, which is always a good sign. 😉

The hotel has quite a history dating back to 1770, though it has served as a hotel since 1967.

Gewandhaus Dresden exterior


Gewandhaus Dresden entrance

Inside the entrance to the lobby and to the right was something that doubled as both the check-in desk and the bar.

Gewandhaus Dresden check-in desk & bar

Across from that was the lobby bar seating, which felt much more generic, and like it could be in any Marriott or Sheraton lobby, though it was still relatively cute.


Gewandhaus Dresden lobby


Gewandhaus Dresden lobby


Gewandhaus Dresden lobby

Past the main part of the lobby was a gorgeous atrium of sorts, which spanned all four floors of the hotel.


Gewandhaus Dresden atrium


Gewandhaus Dresden atrium

Gewandhaus Dresden superior room

We were assigned room 228, a superior room on the second floor. The hotel only has three suites, and after that the superior room is the next best room type. I was extremely impressed, since you don’t usually expect much from something marketed as a “superior room,” but it also felt more like a junior suite.

Before even talking about the rooms, I have to mention that I loved the hallway design.

Gewandhaus Dresden hallway


Gewandhaus Dresden hallway

Anyway, our room was just outside the elevator and to the right.


Gewandhaus Dresden room exterior

The room featured a long entryway with a closet just inside the entrance and to the left.


Gewandhaus Dresden superior room entryway


Gewandhaus Dresden superior room entryway

This closet had a Nespresso machine and a mini-fridge.


Gewandhaus Dresden superior room coffee machine


Gewandhaus Dresden superior room in-room fridge

The rest of the room was at the end of the entryway and to the right.


Gewandhaus Dresden superior room


Gewandhaus Dresden superior room

The room featured an “L” shaped desk in the very corner.


Gewandhaus Dresden superior room desk

Then there was a sitting area with a loveseat and chair.


Gewandhaus Dresden superior room sitting area

On the table was a sweet welcome amenity.


Gewandhaus Dresden welcome amenity

Then there was a king size bed. As is the norm in Germany, there were two separate comforters. While the mattress itself was quite comfortable, there were only two large pillows (and they weren’t even large).


Gewandhaus Dresden superior room king size bed

The bathroom was back towards the entrance, and featured a sink, shower/tub combo, and toilet.


Gewandhaus Dresden superior room bathroom


Gewandhaus Dresden superior room bathroom


Gewandhaus Dresden superior room bathroom

Toiletries were from Rituals, and were in reusable bottles.


Gewandhaus Dresden superior room toiletries

While Gewandhaus is right on the border of the Dresden Altstadt and only a few minutes walk from most major attractions, the hotel doesn’t have all that much in the way of views, as it just faces a major street.


Gewandhaus Dresden superior room view


Gewandhaus Dresden superior room view

There was wifi throughout the hotel, though I was having issues with wifi towards the far end of the room, from bed. It wasn’t a huge deal since I could tether, but I’ve had better wifi.

Gewandhaus Dresden breakfast

Breakfast at Gewandhaus was served from 7AM until 12PM in Meatery Bar & Restaurant, which is the hotel’s all-day dining restaurant. This restaurant is described as an “elegant steakrestaurant,” though I think I have a slightly different definition of elegant than this place, because even with white tablecloths I just can’t picture it…

Gewandhaus Dresden Meatery Bar & Restaurant


Gewandhaus Dresden Meatery Bar & Restaurant


Gewandhaus Dresden Meatery Bar & Restaurant

Rather annoyingly the hotel recommends making reservations for breakfast. Personally one of the things that I like most about staying in hotels is not having to worry about the little details, and among those is not having to decide the night before at what time I want to go for breakfast.

This wasn’t an issue, except for the fact that most of the good tables had “reserved” signs on them, even though they stayed empty the entire time we were there…

Breakfast here usually costs 25EUR per person, though thanks to my Marriott elite status I could select breakfast as my welcome amenity for free. Drinks, egg dishes, and pancakes, could be ordered off a menu, which read as follows:

The cappuccino was unfortunately one of those machine ones, though the filter coffee was quite good.

Gewandhaus Dresden breakfast cappuccino

Other than that, the hotel had a totally normal buffet. Coronawho?


Gewandhaus Dresden breakfast buffet

The buffet itself was quite good (if you can get over the fact that there was one to begin with), especially by German standards, with fruit, yogurt, cereal, cold cuts, eggs, and much more.


Gewandhaus Dresden breakfast buffet


Gewandhaus Dresden breakfast buffet


Gewandhaus Dresden breakfast buffet


Gewandhaus Dresden breakfast buffet


Gewandhaus Dresden breakfast buffet


Gewandhaus Dresden breakfast buffet


Gewandhaus Dresden breakfast buffet


Gewandhaus Dresden breakfast buffet


Gewandhaus Dresden breakfast buffet


Gewandhaus Dresden breakfast buffet

Gewandhaus Dresden breakfast buffet

I decided to order a veggie omelet, which was tasty.


Gewandhaus Dresden breakfast

Gewandhaus Dresden pool & gym

On the basement level Gewandhaus has a pool and gym, which are open daily from 6AM until 11PM. The pool was cute, though I don’t have the same fascination with pools that many Germans seem to have (though I get it, I’m also from Florida, so…).

Gewandhaus Dresden pool


Gewandhaus Dresden pool

The gym, by comparison, was extremely basic, with just three machines for cardio, and then free weights.


Gewandhaus Dresden gym


Gewandhaus Dresden gym


Gewandhaus Dresden gym

Gewandhaus Dresden service

Service at Gewandhaus was underwhelming.

One evening we decided to order drinks before dinner in the lobby bar. There’s an impressively long cocktail list, which makes you think that they’d be able to make most things. Ford tried to order a negroni (which isn’t exactly complicated), to which the server responded “I’m just the waiter, I’m not the bartender, can you order something from the list?” That’s not even accounting for it taking 10 minutes to get someone to take our order, and then another 15 minutes before our drinks were brought out.

Then there was the breakfast situation. While the breakfast servers were friendly, the breakfast restaurant was way understaffed, and it took forever to get any sort of service. Then there was the situation with them reserving tables.

Admittedly we weren’t at a resort for a week, but overall my impression of service at the hotel wasn’t great.

Impressions of Dresden

Dresden is considered by many to be one of the most beautiful cities in Germany. It’s also a city with a lot of history, as it was heavily bombed in 1945, meaning that much of the city has been rebuilt since then. The city is interesting to see and has so much history, so it’s definitely worth a visit.

That being said, I think a couple of nights here does the trick, and I feel like we even saw most of the highlights in a full day.

Dresden, Germany


Dresden, Germany


Dresden, Germany


Dresden, Germany


Dresden, Germany

Coronavirus precautions in Dresden

I really need to get around to writing a post about my perceptions of coronavirus in hospitality in Germany, because boy has it shifted in recent weeks. As far as our time in Dresden goes:

  • Many employees and guests at the hotel were wearing masks, though other than that there were virtually no precautions; there was a buffet, and I didn’t even see any hand sanitizer stations, or anything
  • Outside of the hotel you full-on wouldn’t have thought coronavirus was a thing; restaurant servers weren’t wearing masks, there was no hand sanitizer anywhere, there were parties of 20 inside restaurants celebrating birthdays and getting very drunk, etc.

Obviously we still took our own precautions, but it was surprising to observe…

Bottom line

At just 15,000 Bonvoy points per night, Gewandhaus Dresden was an exceptional value. The hotel has a great location, our room was gorgeous, and breakfast was solid as well (strange as a full-on buffet may be nowadays).

This does seem to be the best option in Dresden, so I’d return if I found myself back in the city. I’d note that the other good hotel in the city is Hotel Taschenbergpalais Kempinski. We briefly checked out the lobby, and it felt very outdated.

If you’ve been to Dresden and/or stayed at Gewandhaus, what was your experience like?

Comments
  1. Not to stir the pot (so you can be sure I’m about to stir the pot), but Germany has an infection rate that is an order of magnitude less than the US. It’s a disease that is eminently treatable and more survivable than the flu for all but the oldest and sickest. It’s likely that the coronavirus is going to be endemic in the population from here on out–even with a vaccine. At what point (and I don’t mean this rhetorically) can we stop with masks and hand sanitizer and the like (which is to say nothing about the fact that it’s likely that neither masks nor hand sanitizer are really very effective). I might not say that about Wisconsin, but I’d feel pretty darn safe in Germany as long as I remained basically distanced.

    Also, Dresden is a very nice city. I think it’s one of the nicer places to visit in Germany–especially their Christmas Market (which is only running at about half this year).

  2. I would heavily recommend the hotel indigo in Dresden. Stayed there last year and got upgraded to the junior suite which was well furnished in a mid century modern vibe. My go to when I go back

  3. Thats a cool picture of the Frauenkirche showing the remaining original side and the reconstruction.

  4. First: You have to make reservations for breakfast because of corona. So it doesn’t get too crowded. That’s why they can have the buffet.
    Second: Every state can make their own rules, and they vary very much. Some need to have gloves, some masks, some nothing. It very much depends on where you are.
    Third: Yes, the service at this hotel was always underwhelming. Don’t know why. Was there twice and never impressed by the people working there.
    Fourth: you can be happy, that you were allowed to stay because until recently people from hotspots were not in Saxony and you live in Berlin currently. 😉

  5. I had a nice stay at the Hilton Dresden. It was, like you did, a quick trip from Berlin to check it out for a couple of days. I had a good redemption at the Hilton (pre-Rona). Good breakfast included in the rate. It was a nice stay. I didn’t get upgraded to the executive floor.

    Its a typical modern Hilton corporate design. Modern and comfortable. But not as interesting as the Gewandhaus. I love that atrium design. Thanks for sharing it.

  6. Great review. I was in Dresden last year, but stayed in the Westin Bellevue on the other side of the Elbe. I think since then it left Marriott. The lobby was nice but the rooms were quite outdated, but they were doing lots of renovations while I was there. One question. Since Berlin is a Risikogebiet did you have to provide any negative COVID-19 Test at check-in? I know they are doing this in Schleswig-Holstein and Bavaria but I am guessing not in Sachsen

  7. With hotels half full and 1 million people flying Sunday, clearly many people are traveling right now – I like the fact you are still posting hotel reviews and I would like to see a lot more reviews and updates from travel blogs in the current experience as I expect to do some travel over the next few months

  8. Thanks for the nice review, really appreciated!

    Yes, I observe very different approaches to breakfast, from a “doggy bag” delivered at the reception over a la carte table service, served buffet, only hot items served/rest self-serve until the full self-service buffet, like this one. I really prefer if there are some protection measures, but really hate the cheap doggy bag …

  9. “especially by German standards”
    I don’t get this. Maybe there is a misunderstanding from my side as German breakfasts tend to be much better than breakfasts in other countries (especially the US).

    Breakfast at Gewandhaus is mediocre considering the class of the hotel.

    I stayed there for like 100 euro a couple of months ago (suite upgrade) and was also underwhelmed by the service.
    I liked the Hilton much more and considering value for the money I’d go for the courtyard.

    I don’t think that you can see everything within a day. I think you just walked around old town and that’s it. Not the other side of Elbe, not the new town, and surely not all the amazing stuff around Dresden like Moritzburg and all the other palaces and enormous castles.
    There is no place known to me which is as rich in culture, classical architecture, hip areas and nature as Dresden area.

  10. I agree with derreisende. There’s much more to Dresden than Old Town. While very nicely done, the city’s real character lies in other, less touristy areas such as New Town or near Blaue Wunder. The close proximity to Sächsische Schweiz (you can take the S-Bahn there) would also make for a very nice day trip next time you’re there.

    The second hotel room view picture is actually city hall btw, though I totally agree it’s an underwhelming view nonetheless 😉

  11. Thank You for the review ! My daughter lives 1.5 hours from Dresden, so will be treating her to a stay here ! And Maybe myself when I return .

    Susan

  12. You continue to fail to understand how Marriott operates. This hotel is NOT managed by Marriott. Just like a few weeks ago when you claimed the 100 or whatever hotels leaving Marriott for Sonesta were managed or operated by Marriott. Marriott does NOT manage the vast majority of its hotels across all brands in North America. It manages a majority of its Ritz-Carlton and J.W. Marriott branded properties internationally along with a much smaller number of Renaissance or Marriott properties. I presume it inherited management for some Sheratons, Westins and St. Regis properties internationally.

  13. What’s the fuss about buffets? It’s been confirmed months ago that Covid is not foodborne and the spread via contaminned surfaces is also extemely rare.

    Regarding Covid rules in general, I highly recommend taking a trip to Sweden while you’re in Germany, to get a different perspective. Despite their messy start in the spring, they now report one of lowest numbers of new cases per capita in the EU (and while there is some increase, it’s much slower than in most EU states), while also maintaining very high level of normalcy. I’m currently in Stockholm and it really changed my view about the whole thing.

  14. I spend much of my time travelling within Europe. One of the more elegant breakfast buffets I enjoyed was at the hotel Nicolaus in Bari (previously a Sheraton). The buffet was always a combination of elegance, sanitary precautions and individual service. Despite unclear expectations, southern Italy has always been very careful with sanitary conditions.
    I really am uncomfortable with Jams and Jellies provided in bulk buffet dishes, as is common in Germany. there is often no sneeze guard and i wonder whether the same portion is reused.

    My litmus test of buffet service is the mode and caliber of jams offered. Some Hotels use individual glass bottles, some use bulk plates and some reserve the individual bottles for lounge guests only.

  15. @ Nate nate:
    You hit the nail on the head. One of the really fascinating things about Dresden is how much of it was destroyed in WW2 and how much of was rebuilt incorporating what survived. The blackened exteriors show that. Surprised Ben didn’t mention that aspect about the buildings

    The Residenz (across from the Kempinski which itself was rebuilt) is another great example.

  16. Gewandhaus is cheap, but the service is crap, as you said.
    Taschenbergpalais Kempinski is far better and also Hilton Dresden is an overall better choice than Gewandhaus with a nice lounge.

  17. You say the city was “heavily bombed”; many would go rather further and characterise it as the victim of a completely unnecessary, entirely vindictive attack on a defenceless civilian population of zero military significance, essentially constituting a war crime…

  18. I stayed at the Hilton Dresden and it looked way better than the Gewandhaus. Give the Hilton a try with direct room views to the Frauenkirche. For the same price you get better look and feel. Next trip Leipzig?

  19. While I fully recognise the risk and danger of both the virus and the pandemic, I appreciate that in Germany areas with little to no infections (if your stay was a a couple of days back) try to be flexible and allow more freedom as it raises compliance and understanding for stricter measures when necessary. Forcing everyone to comply with strict measures is absolutely necessary with higher infection rates like the ones we are facing now but should not be followed through blindly if not required.

  20. @Samo

    Sweden had higher deaths and per capita infections than many of it’s neighbors who had stricter lockdowns and measures. It’s economy also shrank and a higher rate that many of it’s less open neighbors as well.

  21. @Paolo: While this may be true, it should be noted the same rationale is employed by German Neonazis to come to Dresden for one of their largest demonstrations in Germany every year, commemorating German victims of the war. Dresden counters this with wide protests.

    It’s a thin line…

  22. @Aaron – Read my post again. I specifically wrote “despite their messy start in the spring”. Yes, their performance half a year ago wasn’t too good due to certain specific mistakes (particularly care homes), that is acknowledged by everyone. However right now, they are one of the best performing EU states. Low number of new cases, low growth rate, low number of new deaths. This has been the case for several months now.

    As I said, I’m here right now. Seeing how little is needed to achieve great results is an eye-opening experience.

  23. Please stop with the buffet covid complaints. There is no evidence of covid spread via food and even the contact transfer chance is extremely low, as opposed to what people thought at the beginning. There is absolutely nothing wrong with a buffet as long as there arent to many people at the same time (which they achieved with the reservation system) and the room is freshly aired every now and then.

  24. @Alex
    Thanks for the information; I didn’t know that. It’s horrifying to think they’re essentially ‘dancing on graves’ in such a manner.

  25. Very nice hotel. Thanks for dropping the review. Love German breakfasts, hate their bedroom comforters. I always sweat to death under those things, even in the coldest of rooms. Though I suspect it makes housekeeping a bit easier, not having multiple layers to remove and replace on the beds.

  26. I’ve also stayed at the INNSIDE Dresden, right next to the Frauenkirche. It looked exactly like the pictures you showed of the Gewandhaus, and I think it’s about 75% the price (but no Bonvoy points or rewards reservations). It’s also very conveniently located near the S-Bahn stop, so very easy from the Hauptbahnhof.

  27. Coming from Dresden, I’d not recommend the Gewandhaus to anyone. With a comparable price and if you can book through Virtuoso then the best hotel in town is the Kempinski. It’s luxuriously charming and the staffs will go above and beyond.

  28. As someone who grew up in Dresden and moved to Stuttgart two months ago, I can confirm that people don’t think COVID is a thing in saxony. To be fair, two months ago there were only 60 active cases with fairly good testing but the precautions are still nothing compared to Stuttgart.
    As someone who grew up in Dresden, I can also confirm what some others have said: you can really see Altstadt in a few days but you shouldn’t miss the rest of the city and the surrounding area.

  29. The Gewandhaus is nice, but I would rather stay at the NH or better still, the QF Hotel or Altes Dresden serviced apartments, both of which directly overlook the Frauenkirche. Dresden actually has more than enough to keep you occupied for several days, especially if you are there during the (non-Covid) Christmas season. I no longer stay in Marriott properties due to their absolute refusal to provide room safes. No, they are no guarantee of protection for valuables, but they help deter theft. Moreover, I know people who have had insurance claims denied because the valuables stolen from their room weren’t in a hotel safe. The insurers didn’t care that the room didn’t actually have a safe. The last time I stayed in a Marriott property, the hotel “safe” for guests was a bunch of stacked tiny wire baskets kept near the check-in area that could easily be broken into. No thanks.

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