As a large familly group we stayed in the hotel during the christmas week, hoping to be able to do some skiing every day. Our stay was booked quite a bit in advance. When we arrived the hotel was apparently fully booked. The weather was attrocious and it rained 6 out of 7 days.
Upon arrival our rooms were ready around 3 pm. All rooms are oddly shaped because of the "Gherkin" shape of the building (The germans say "egg"). At all cost avoid rooms 103, 104, 203 and 204 as they are slap bang opposite the bar and offices and, unless you draw the curtains at all times, you have no privacy whatsoever!!!! Because the entire hotel decor is devoid of anything fluffy it is great for people with allergies, but dust flocks appear after 1 day. If you did not hang up your "clean room" sign, rooms were sometimes not cleaned untill after 5 pm, although when requested they were done by the very friendly and very busy cleaning lady.
There was no kettle in the rooms and no free water (€3.50 per bottle), but the tap water is good. Very comfy beds, large telly, spa bag with towelling robe, large towel and disposable adult or child slippers. Bathrooms very new and clean. Some bigger than others. Nasty bruise from sticking out towel rail! Excellent showers, plastic glasses, no conditionner.
The hotel is style orientated to the extend that creature comforts are ignored. Stylish furniture, but definitively not comfy. Stylish, but sometimes annoyingly bright lighting and in some cases utterly insufficient lighting (bedroom, bar, restaurant). Constant Sky sports on tv in the lounge.
The restaurant does a fantastic breakfast, but the dinners were drawn out and took a long time, despite there being a set menue with no choice apart from meat or fish! Meat/fish were cooked to perfection, but six days cabbage varieties and a milk based pudding with a crumb variety (pumpernickel, spekulas, lebkuchen, stollen etc) became a bit tiresome. Kids meals o.k. although portion sizes varied and some chips would have been nice. (We did not "get infected by the European and Asian exuberance of the kitchen, nor did we get whisked onto cloud nine" as mentioned in the brochure)
It would have been nice if the hotel had put on some film entertainment or had some games for the children in the hotel as the weather was so bad. Christmas decoration was at a minimum in Winterberg itself as well as at the hotel and in fact the ornaments were taken out of the tree the day after christmas although the tree with lights remained. (This might have been a local custom). Adults did get a Christmas chocolate and kids did get a plastic disc sledge each.
The swimming pool was absolutely fantastic, especially as their was an absolutely huge inflatable spider in the pool for the kids to climb onto and jump off as well the opportunity to use the diving area in the pool. A nice baby pool and a warm water pool were also available. The outdoor small pool was closed. Less impressive was that the guard choose to go for a jacuzi break in the spa area when there were around 20 small kids playing on and around the huge spider and, because there was no supervision, some adult blokes decided to jump against the spider from the diving board, just for the hell of it!
The whole spa, gym and swimming area were absolutely beautiful, clean, fantastic etc. etc. etc.
HOWEVER.... the hotel documentation did not at any time in English nor Dutch mention that the pool was also a public pool!! That adults as well as CHILDREN are obliged to be naked in the spa area. That as hotel guests, everybody is obliged to go through the spa area to get to the pool. All minors (underaged children) are forced to mingle with naked adults, of all sexes, whether they (or their parents) like to or not. This might be very German, but not very Cosmopolitan! In fact, most UK newspapers would have a field day with "Hotel management forces Minors to strip naked to share Spa with naked Adults ". It being also available to the public means that any Jim, Fred or Gary could anonymously visit the facilities and have a completele legal field day "feeling cosy in the water*"!!! (* brochure quote)
Oversum is a fantastic conference destination and it caters very well for a Germanic clientele, but it is definitively not Cosmopolitan and it's brochure, after having been there, definitively made amusing reading. The staff are all very hard working and friendly and are constantly multi tasking right up to managerial level. (Not necessarily the "young motivated team" as stated in the brochure!). The building is modern and it is the most fire safe hotel I have ever stayed in. Once the newly planted vegetation has grown, it's starkness in the landscape will be softened. A bit less style and a bit more comfort and more realistic brochure copy would better prepare its international guest for what to expect.
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