Stuttgart, in southern Germany, has the Black Forest on one side and the Swabian Alps on the other. The city centre lies in a lush valley with the River Neckar flowing through its one end. The city is often described as lying between woodlands and vineyards and in fact some vineyards still exist in the middle of the buzzing metropolis.
Stuttgart’s located in the centre of the European continent and thus the difference in temperature between summer and winter is extreme. The severe summer heat experienced in the city centre has earned it the nickname ‘Kessel’ which means kettle in English. The best time to visit Stuttgart is in May, when summer is easing in or September before the onset of the cold.
Being the hometown of Porsche and Mercedes-Benz, it is not surprising that Stuttgart is referred to as the ‘cradle of the automobile’. But, the city’s tourism department with its slogan, ‘Stuttgart offers more’, begs to differ. And rightly so! The centre houses many examples of modern post-war architecture while the outskirts are dotted with sprawling castles from its past.
A Wave Of The Magic Wand
The façade of the building is painted in a brick red shade. It is a simple building on a quiet street, the kind that may be missed unless you are looking for it. It is the name that gives a hint that things may not be as commonplace as they appear – the hotel is called Der Zauberlehring, translated in English – Sorcerer’s Apprentice.
As you enter, it is clear that the exterior is a smokescreen; the sorcerer waves his wand, and the curtain lifts, and brings to view the interiors where imagination has definitely exploded.
Der Zauberlehring has 13 rooms and four suites; each one conceptualised and designed to appear as a microcosm of one unique style. The names encapsulate the experience that is held within.
The Paddington Room is all about Victorian grace with antiques from that era adding the special touch, the piece de resistance being a portrait of Agatha Christie’s Miss Maple.
In the Chalet Suite a lifelike figure of a stag, faux animal skins and the stone floors create the Swiss Alps setting, while a few doors away, the Nacht Suite with its bronze and gold accents and ‘mosaiced’ bathroom creates a more oriental ambience. The décor of the Titanic room is suited to appeal to aristocratic tastes and the Camouflage room with green vines painted across the walls would appeal to fun personalities.
Every door opens up a new culture and every element in the room, large and small, comes together to complete that experience which is promised.
Behind The Wheel
Mercedes-Benz prides itself on the advanced engineering of its vehicles. It is no wonder then that the new Mercedes-Benz museum building too is an architectural wonder. The building design is based on that of a clover where three circles overlap. This layout enables the visitor to tailor his visit as he wishes, either moving between time lines of the exhibits or following the chronological line of automobile development.
One of the key achievements of this vision is the creation of space – 16,500 square metres on a footprint of 4800 square metres. The Museum showcases more than 160 automobiles including the first one invented by Karl Benz in 1886. Another interesing vehicle is the Pope’s vehicle for his visit to Germany which has a bullet-proof glazing to ensure safety and at the same time allow people to see the Pope.
Mother’s Day Out
A three floor building in Stuttgart claims to be the haven for all women, especially the pregnant ones and the mothers. With the very first step into Mama Spa, it is evident that it is unlike the stereotypical spa with its Zen-like ambience, the theme here is modern with a splash of kitsch and retro.
Black and white stripes have been integrated into the colour scheme in all the spaces, either on the walls or the floor tiles or fixtures and accessories.
In the treatment rooms the soothing white is interspersed with an occasional wall in red and in the child care room, furniture and fixtures in bright hues create a playful ambience.
Every detail at Mama Spa has been planned to pamper and indulge the visitor during her time there.
Text By Himali Kothari