Hotel Bellevue – Dresden, Germany

It's day sixteen (for me) in the A-Z blog challenge! This month I'll be sharing all about my Christmas/New Year travels in NYC and Europe – providing insight into the places I went, reviewing the hotels I stayed at, and telling my story. Today's letter is S for Serene Hotel Bellevue – a lovely, quiet hotel in a busy city. :) Feel free to follow along as I make my way through the alphabet this month! :)


Destination: Dresden, Germany
Date: January 2016
Hotel: Hotel Bellevue
Brand: Westin
Elite Status: Preferred guest (so none)
# of travelers: 4
nights: 2

Making the Decision

This was the last hotel we decided on before our trip to Europe after Christmas and it may have been one of the most stressful decisions I made during the whole experience of planning.

Let me explain why…

1. I was researching hotels in December. Less than one month before we would be traveling!
2. I had no idea what our friends' budget was nor any clue what it is they look for in hotels. I have expensive taste and I know it. How do you tone that down? And how much do you tone it down? What did they expect and for what price range?
3. I was told to search for a hotel near a tram. Having never been to the city, how was I supposed to know where the tram was? In the end I just googled hotel name + tram. About 75% of the time a review would pop up and say "X hotel was Y distance from the tram which made getting around a breeze!" If I didn't find any reviews mentioning the tram, I assumed the hotel was too far outside of the city.
4. And parking. It was so sweet that our friends were willing to drive us to all of the locations, but when they asked me to find a hotel with parking they didn't say if it was suppose to be free parking … or paid? How much "paid parking" was too much? What was the going rate for parking a vehicle in Dresden anyway?

And so I compiled a list of the top 10 hotels using Tripadvisor and my affinity for choosing hotels with chains. (Y'know … so that maybe my 50th visit to that hotel chain will equate to a free stay, right?!) … I was on the verge of sending that list by email to our friends for their consideration when I thought to ask Justin "Is 10 hotels too much?"


You'll never guess what he said.

And so I did more research. I price-compared using our Sapphire rewards card and TripAdvisor to find the lowest competitive rates. I will never know how many times I googled X hotel and "tram" or "parking". I looked at reviews and TripAdvisor images to see which hotels had views.

In the end my goal was simple – Find a hotel with a view from the room (or rooftop) at an acceptable price point preferably with a hotel chain located near a tram with parking (paid or not).

Of course the list of 5 hotels I sent my friends were a mix of chains/not, views/not, fancy/less so, more expensive/not so… etc, etc… You get the picture.

And so it came down to two. And neither included the Palace hotel! ;)

While I can't remember what the other hotel was (and I'm too lazy to look it up), my husband and myself opted for the Westin Bellevue. It would provide a somewhat interesting living arrangement, an oddly cheap room (through the use of our Chase Sapphire points), give me the view I so desired, provide parking (for pay), be located near the tram, and give me points (for future visits to Europe! Woot!). :)

Getting There

In case you hadn't picked this little tidbit up from the section above, we drove.

Other great options include the train (because trains take you everywhere in Europe!), the tram (if you are already in Dresden), or a cab. I'm guessing a bus is also an option? But probably more so if you are traveling with a big group on tour or traveling between big cities.


Checking In

That odd moment when you are like: whose name is it under? … Well, the best one obviously!

But no, the weirdest part of checking in was filling out a form where I had to put down my address backwards. And then there was a place for my birthday and I wondered Do I fill this out the American way or the European way? With my husband and friends talking to the front desk clerk, I didn't have a chance to ask. I ended up just filling it out the American way. The Westin is an American chain and you'd have to be an idiot to get my birthdate and birth month mixed up. Oh there are more than 20 months in a year?!? ;)

After all the paperwork was filled out, it was time to go to our room.


Room, Bathroom, Amenities, & View

For this particular stay, we were trying something a little weird but, in my opinion, kind of cool. We, the four of us, were staying in a family suite. Basically, it was a half bath (no shower), a small bedroom made up of two twin size beds, and a master bedroom with a queen size bed and large bathroom (with shower) all off of a main room that included both a living area (tv, sofa) and dining area (large table).

Let me say that while I think the room worked for us (didn't hear any complaints yet), this may not be the best room for friends to share if…

1. You are going to argue over who gets the master bedroom.
2. You aren't willing to share a shower. (And no, I don't mean at the same time!)
3. Or your group is made up of two couples neither of which is comfortable sleeping on twin-size beds.


As for me, I very much enjoyed the room. I loved that we could spend time together as a group in the main area and then go our separate ways (whenever we needed space or sleep). And given that my husband and I were in the master room, I didn't even have a problem sharing our bathroom with our friends. I just tried to make sure I showered or whatever when they didn't need it. We tried to keep our room straight (no underwear on the floor! eww!) and leave the door open as often as possible (except when sleeping or changing) so that our friends would have easy access to the main bathroom as needed.

Now, an important thing to make note of: Before we stayed at this hotel, I had read an online review where someone said they had slipped in the bathroom after getting out of the shower. No big deal, right? … Until it happens to you! And happen to me, it did. And it hurt! Yes, I had a towel on the floor to step on when I got out of the shower, but that didn't help. I could feel myself sliding down with nothing to grab onto. And when I got up, I had a nice big blue mark on my leg. Beautiful, right? (Actually, it took a bit of time to appear, but still!) And my arm, if I twisted it the wrong way, owww!

As an aside, I had fallen on ice the day before and not gotten hurt nearly as bad as my slip in the bathroom. … I also think I'm just plain clumsy in Europe. I don't fall nearly as often in the US, if you can believe it! :)

Anyway, let's assume you are ok with staying in a family suite and dealing with slippery bathroom floors, what else can you expect from Hotel Bellevue?

Well, a tv, soaps, shampoos, and conditioners, a hair dryer, an awesome magnifying mirror for doing make-up, and … perhaps if you are staying in a suite a small fruit tray and bottle of water. :)

The view from the family suite was also very nice. Of course, I think the snow only helped. ;)

Front Desk Staff 

During our stay, my husband ran into a problem where one of the screws was falling out of his glasses. :( We went to talk to the front desk staff to see what they could do. Did they have a small screwdriver he could use to screw his glasses back together? Turns out they did not, but they did their best trying to help us problem-solve. :)


Later that day, Justin and I decided to go check out the pool. We walked down a long hallway nearly getting lost until we spotted an elevator toward the back of the building (pretty far away from our room). The sign in front of the elevator read that the pool and spa were closed temporarily.

Have they fixed the problem? Are the pool and spa now open?

Without being there, I can't know for sure. :-/


Even though the Westin Bellevue did not offer us anything like free breakfast or free coffee, we found that the hotel was quite convenient to a number of nearby restaurants and attractions. The tram stop was right outside our hotel and Altstadt was an easy walk across the Augustus Bridge. While I'm sure there are hotels in Dresden that are probably closer to the action than the Hotel Bellevue, I think our hotel did a pretty good job of having a good mix of easy accessibility to Dresden while maintaining a quite, out-of-the-way atmosphere for guests.

Overall Review
★★★ (average)

While the hotel itself has pretty bland reviews, I myself very much enjoyed our family suite and view. It was fun arriving to a plate full of fruits (some that we had never tried of or heard of before!) and it was nice knowing that we were located next to the tram pick up making getting around Dresden super easy! Parking was a bit expensive at 20 euros a day, but I have come to expect driving in general to be more costly in Europe than it is in the United States.

One of the main ways this hotel could have improved is if they had offered complimentary breakfast or coffee along with our stay. While not expected, it's always nice when a hotel offers services like these. It makes me, the customer, feel special. Plus, the rooms could use a bit of updating; they seemed to be a little tired and worn out. The couch was hard as a rock! (Better for cleaning I guess?) But the beds seemed fine…

Would I go again? Maybe. But I'm probably more likely to try another Dresden hotel. It's fun to have different experiences, and this hotel wasn't exactly five stars for the price of one; if it had been, you'd never find me in another hotel in Dresden ever again! ;)

Your Turn

Would you ever consider staying in a family suite with friends? What would it take for a hotel to receive a five star review from you?



  1. One of the perks of staying at a hotel is to have the (bath)room to myself (or my family), so I don't think I would want to share. I'm not a sound sleeper anyway, so I don't need more people who potentially toss and turn, snore, sniffle,...

    It'd be different if I was going on a girls' trip. Once - many, many years ago - we went to Las Vegas as a group, and we were 4 girls sharing a room. Took quite a while until everybody had a shower, their hair done, edited on their clothes, ;-)

    1. I think you misunderstood! Or maybe I did a bad job of explaining. :) We stayed in a suite, but each couple had their own bedroom. The only thing we actually shared was the common area (living + dining) and master bath when they needed to shower. They were able to access the half bath (with sink and toilet) when my husband and I were sleeping, changing, showering, whatever. So two bathrooms (only one with a shower), two bedrooms, one common room.

      Does that make more sense?

      I've definitely done as you suggest – sharing a room with in laws/parents/friends to save money, but it's only with people I know REALLY well. It is extraordinarily hard to share a bedroom with new (more? different?) people, and I typically get less sleep because of it. Then again, there are some nights that I want to kick my own husband out of the bedroom, so there's that! *sigh* :)


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