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Subject: Booked for Essen (some info for you) rss

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SAKURA in KYOTO 2018 Back to Kansai
North Yorkshire
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It's a shame nobody else is posting about Essen. I'm getting excited again...

I have finally got my trip to Essen booked. I went to a local travel agent, but was not impressed, so I've booked online myself. I've gone for the Hotel Ypsilon (just love that name, it's a Y-shaped hotel). It's a Best Western, very nice, but a bit of a walk from the Messe Essen (the exhibition halls), about 15 minutes walk, only 1 stop on the underground. I stayed with them 2 years ago, a good hotel, nice helpful staff, good breakfast.

I couldn't find my stuff from the last trip 2 years ago, so I went on memory. And the more I thought, the more I remembered.

My german friends stayed at the Hotel Ibis, next to the railway station in town, but that means it's next to the main railway line. It's cheap, but with trains going past all night, no wonder.

Much closer, one street from the Messe is the Hotel An Der Gruga, but it's all booked up. No doubt the business people, the game companies use that. The English visitors apparently stay at the Hotel Jung, closer to the Messe, but that's all booked up. Just near the Jung is Hotel Arosa, looking like an office block. I'm not staying there because they bumped me last time. They bumped me to the Ypsilon, so I'm going where I know.

I looked at booking online but I wasn't happy with the profusion of websites offering bookings for all sorts.
(this is the one I found most useful)
This is the Ypsilon. I'm not sure how many stars it is, but I've just noticed you can rent a bicycle for free! I might try that.

The different sites did show rates and rooms and you can check availablity. I was confused last time when the said how far they were from the fairground, but it now occurs to me that they mean the Messe Essen and not some funfair!

But I was wary. The Ibis had a rate of around 60 euros a night, the Ypsilon had rooms at 100 euros. I found my receipt from 2 years ago, so I just emailed the Ypsilon and asked for an offer, mentioning my previous visit. And they gave me an offer of 81 euros a night because I was booking 5 nights. That's 20 euros dearer than the Ibis, working out at 100 euros for the week (= 100 USD). But it's cheaper than 2 years ago, so I took it.

One thing I noticed was that some sites would take a booking fee, and none referred to breakfast, except one said it was 9 euros extra. But the email offer from the Ypsilon included breakfast, so I think I've got a reasonable deal. It's a bit of a drag to get there, but hey, I'll get a taxi! I'm rich (not), it's my only proper holiday away, I can spalsh out, because I'm worth it.

Next I looked at flights, and again I wasn't happy with the profusion of sites offering comparisons. But I went through Flights4Less, which is part of LastMinute. I'm booked from Manchester to Dusseldorf return for 100GBP all in, taxes included. Again, I'm wary, simply because I've not tried booking online before. I don't get a ticket either, it's electronic and I collect it at the check-in. I'm booked with Lufthansa, but my experience is that is meaningless. Last time I went to Vienna I flew out on Air Lauda (fabulous, real german beer and superb bread rolls), coming back I was on British Midland (terrible, a cattle truck, I had a chicken wrap THROWN at me by the steward). The booking seems to only affect the price, not which airline actually flies the plane.

I'd really like to see some comments on this stuff. Does anybody have favoured webistes for hotels or flights? Good experiences or bad?

It would be useful if the geek had info on Essen in one place.
Here's the Essen city website
Click on the Union Flag for the english pages. The hotel booking form is rubbish, they don't reply by email, they reply by snail mail, with you hotel booking confirmed. So it's really pot luck.
The city map is rubbish too;

I found a much better map at EVAG, the Essen local transport authority.
This is a downlaodable road map, but the rail map is much better;
Zoom in to 200% view, start at the central railway station (with the fat pink line going through it), and follow the blue rail lines South. U11 is the one that runs to Messe Essen.
My Hotel Ypsilon (love that name) is on Müller-Breslau-Strasse 18-20, just up and to the right a bit. It's a very good map, with so many street names clearly visible.

More later...
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