City Guide: Cologne
From Roman ruins to howling monkeys and chocolate fountains, Germany’s famous cathedral city offers a wealth of family-friendly attractions
Grandhotel Schloss Bensberg
Pity poor Prince Johann Wilhelm II. He went to great pains to impress his lovely new Italian wife Maria-Luisa (a Medici, no less), designing a palatial pad on the outskirts of Cologne for them to live in. The palace was completed in 1705, but the Prince died before the couple had ever had the chance to use it. Since then, this beauteous baroque behemoth has been used as everything from hospital to a barracks for Belgian troops before being acquired by hotelier Thomas Althoff and transformed into a luxury hotel. Something of a gourmand, Althoff has installed star chef Joachim Wissler in the kitchen. Dine in the hotel's Vendome restaurant and you'll eat like a king. And while the hotel may seem grand and imposing, children are made to feel especially welcome. On arrival, little guests will find a feast of chocolate and fruit goodies waiting for them. Tucked away in the grounds is a playground. And during the year the hotel hosts a range of fun events, from egg hunts at Easter to a fengu-shui inspired Christmas market and Santa visit.
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