Tel: 49 351 49 220
If the idea of being submerged in a sea of modern art doesn't appeal to you, then don't even set foot inside this hotel. The entire interior is Milanese designer Denis Santachiara's canvas—stairways are lined with wavy banisters, 600 works by Dresden painter and sculptor A.R. Penck embellish the space, and guest rooms seem to have erupted from Pop Art paintings. The 174-room hotel even has a Warhol-inspired bar and restaurant called the Factory, and the Kunsthalle Dresden modern art galleries are right next door.
Tel: 49 351 80 030
This discreet Relais & Châteaux hotel features all the amenities you'd expect of a five-star property, coupled with an intimacy you rarely find in accommodation of such high standards. Tucked away in an atmospheric side street in one of the prettier parts of the Neustadt, Hotel Bülow Residenz is convenient to some of Dresden's most convivial bars and cafés. The on-site Michelin-starred restaurant, Caroussel, serves a mix of French and German cuisine in an elegant little dining room or outside in a covered courtyard when the weather is fine. Built in 1730, this exclusive but homey hideaway was entirely (and tastefully) renovated in 1993. The autumn color scheme may be a bit much—heavy red drapes, crimson-orange bedspreads, mustard-yellow furniture—but all in all, the 30 rooms and suites come off as classically stylish rather than overwrought.
Tel: 49 351 86 400
While Dresden might not live up to its prewar nickname, Elbflorenz (Florence on the River Elbe), this Italian-style hotel located beside the World Trade Center certainly does. The Quattro Cani della Citta restaurant does great pizza and pasta, and the hotel's piano bar, La Piazza, is a sophisticated spot to sip a cocktail. All 227 warm-toned red-and-yellow guest rooms are equipped with high-speed Internet and cable TV.
Tel: 49 351 49 120
This five-story former palace was built by Augustus the Strong to house his favorite mistress, the Countess Cosel. Like the Zwinger galleries across the street from the hotel, the building was designed by M.D. Poppelman in eye-popping style: It's a big, grand place with no subtlety about it. Destroyed by the Allied firebombing of 1945, it was left in ruin until the 1990s, when the Kempinski chain reconstructed the building as its Dresden residence. The location is impeccable, with a superb outlook on baroque Dresden from the front; however, with 182 rooms, including the side wings and the back, not everybody gets the million-dollar view. The lobby is a tad corporate-feeling for this exalted place, but furnishings both here and in guest rooms are top-notch, with dark wood veneers, tasteful blue-and-gold-dominated color schemes, and fancy linens. The expensive Intermezzo restaurant is worth a stop, with its mix of modern takes on Saxon dishes and Northern Italian alternatives. It's also got the best wine list in town, including many Saxon favorites.
Tel: 49 351 56 330 90
Dresden's newest and most centrally located hotel, the 67-room QF, was built to the town's high zoning standards—it had to look exactly like the building that stood on the site until WWII. Once inside, the modern boutique look takes over, with a small lobby finished in cut gray stone and a central atrium with glass elevator. Rooms are generously sized and finished in earth tones that look a trifle dated already but are nonetheless soothing to the eye. Services are limited, but high-speed Internet, Wi-Fi, and flat-screen TVs keep the feeling modern.
15-17 Rothenburger Strasse
Tel: 49 351 81 260
Opened in 1685, when the Neustadt was rebuilt after a fire, the 26-room Rothenburger Hof has the traditional feel of a historical, family-run inn, but its wealth of amenities—including Turkish bath, gym, sauna, and swimming pool, as well as a lovely sunroom and terrace—also draws luxury-seeking travelers. It's a bit off the beaten path from the restored monuments across the river, but Dresden's ultra-convenient tram connects the hotel to a wealth of other options in the Neustadt.
134 Bautzner Strasse
Tel: 49 351 80 990
A gothic-revival castle built by a pupil of Gottfried Semper in the 19th century, this folly has been turned into a wellness-oriented spa and hotel complex. Make sure you stay in the castle and not the less-expensive wellness pavilion called the Cavalier's House, a modern building with none of the castle's charm. The castle itself looks over the Elbe River from a hilltop a few miles upriver from Dresden. Renovations have left much of the original surfaces intact, resulting in a series of huge rooms with parquet floors, high ceilings, and plain walls. The 67 guest rooms are perhaps too plain, but four of the castle rooms have huge river-view terraces. The house restaurant serves excellent French-influenced cuisine.