“Business travel is lonely business in many places these days. In Dusseldorf, I was the only guest in the legendary Breidenbacher Hof.” Kai Böcking

Normally, I travel the world 200 days a year and stay in hotels. Book, drive there, check in, done. Usually! But these weeks, as you know, nothing is normal anymore, especially for business travellers. I just had to go to Dusseldorf for a shoot. It was my first business trip in weeks. The German Capella flagship Breidenbacher Hof was ready to take me in. A great hotel, with a little more than 100 rooms and suites, comfortable, excellent service – an oasis of luxury hotels on the Rhine.

Since all the overnight hostels in North Rhine-Westphalia have also been put into a deep sleep, I had to confirm in writing before my arrival that my trip was planned professionally and by no means as a fun trip. Then followed the mail, which drastically showed me the full extent of the current situation: “Since you are our only guest, we ask you to order your dinner in advance”. Attached is a list of regulations concerning hygiene and a clearly arranged room service map.

How can a luxury hotel offer five-star service in this situation? Not even the Breidenbacher Hof can provide this. But you can make the best of the situation – for the hotel’s only guest.

Dining in front of the door

When I arrive in the evening, a nice lady is waiting for me at the reception, with beautiful eyes, the rest is covered by the breathing mask. Since she sees the same thing on my face, the ID card must confirm my identity. Of course, I don’t have to search for my room in this house, and I am – this time – directed to my room. They are still nice, comfortable and big. For a short period the thought shoots through my head that I am the only guest with the sauna, pool, bar and restaurants all to myself – a great vision, which of course is exactly that – a stupid idea.

The truth is that my dinner is parked BEFORE the door and then I have to drive the trolley to my room myself, remove the foil and lids from the food, open the wine and read the extremely nice greeting card from the longtime hotel director Cyrus Heydarian. Bye, bye pool, sauna, bar – and the recently opened restaurant “The Dutchy”. Kai alone in the hotel!

Nevertheless I slept wonderfully. Great that the virus has no influence on comfort and inaudible air conditioning. Five-star sleep can be so simple.

The next morning I met the landlord of the Breidenbacher Hof (F. r.), who, wearing a fancy respirator, warily sketched out the situation – thus far – like this: “2020 a lost year, 2021 a little return to normal life, 2022 as before the crisis”. Cyrus Heydarian is worried about his employees, most of whom he has had to put on short-time work, as he does everywhere in Germany. He promises that Breidenbacher Hof will return to its full potential as soon as possible. And I firmly believe in it – as the only guest in the five-star hotel.

Kai Böcking …

tried to conquer the city during the Dusseldorf trip. But for the native Rheinlander it became more of a quiet walk through an empty city, which he had never experienced before. This change quickly in the next few weeks, and he is convinced that business travellers, in particular, will travel again with enthusiasm.


At a glance

Getting there: 
Various airlines usually fly to Düsseldorf or Cologne-Bonn several times a day. If you arrive by train, the hotel is located about 1 km from the main station. Breidenbacher Hof is located between Königsallee and Heinrich-Heine-Allee with the hotel entrance on Theodor-Körner-Strasse. The Deutsche Oper am Rhein, the Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfales and the Düsseldorfer Schauspielhaus are in the immediate vicinity.

The Breidenbacher Hof is a hotel institution in Germany with a history of over 200 years and was reopened in 2008. It belongs to the ultra-luxury hotel group of Capella Hotels and is a member of the Selection of German Luxury Hotels. Here, 106 rooms and suites meet a City Spa with an attached specialist medical centre. The Dutchy Restaurant is a new addition with chef Philipp Ferber, and is famous for its afternoon tea in the Lobby Lounge.

Breidenbacher Hof, a Capella Hotel, Königsallee 11, 40212 Düsseldorf, Germany, +1 469-610-3608,

Fotos: © Kai Böcking, Breidenbacher Hof



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