voco Strasbourg Review: The Garden
New city, new hotel brand. Things don’t always work out that way, but they did in the case of my visit to Strasbourg. The voco Strasbourg turned out to be an excellent choice. I was completely unfamiliar with the brand prior to the trip, but it made a good impression overall, and I’d happily seek out voco properties elsewhere. The brand is a breath of fresh air within the IHG portfolio, which is dominated by the likes of unremarkable, midscale Holiday Inn Express properties.
In this review I detail what I liked about the voco Strasbourg and what could be better.
Overview & Pricing
February certainly isn’t the best time to visit the Rhine Valley. Later in the spring would have certainly been better. But it was the window I had to work with. Still, a winter visit meant that hotel rates were cheaper overall. There are a good number of options in Strasbourg, and I settled on the voco mainly because I had the points and it was a better location that other points options.
This was my first stay with the voco brand. The brand as a whole only launched in 2018, and there are currently about 40 properties globally. Seeking to be a combine upscale amenities and service with an relaxed, inviting atmosphere, voco hotels offer a more laid-back, boutique experience. It’s a soft brand, allowing for some variety among the hotels that join it. I think it’s a great addition to the IHG portfolio. It, along with Hotel Indigo, are my favorite IHG brands.
Nightly rates a the voco Strasbourg Centre are usually in the range of €100-150. Even in midsummer season, you typically don’t see crazy rates. I’ve observed award nights to range from 18,000 to 30,000 points per night.
My 2-night stay was on the cheapest end of what I’d seen, costing just 36,000 IHG points total (18,000 per night). Compared to the $297 cash rate, this was an excellent deal. I got over 0.8 cent per IHG point, which is above average.
The voco Strasbourg doesn’t offer an ideal location. It’s better than some other options (including all other IHG options), but it’s far from fantastic. If there is anything to complain about, it is this. It’s maybe a 10-minute walk from the main train station, which isn’t bad. But you aren’t in the old city. I don’t mind walking, though, so the 15-20 minute jaunt on foot to the heart of Strasbourg didn’t bother me. Just factor it into your planning.
Lobby & Check-In Experience
The walk was cold from the train station, but I was warmly welcomed at check in. The front desk provided a city guide and a gluten free welcome cookie. I was told about some of the city highlights, and they invited me to enjoy the restaurant that evening.
The lobby isn’t big, but it is inviting. There is a bar and lounge area to the right, a foosball table near the door, and the restaurant to the left. I liked the combination of greenery and warm colors. The voco Strasbourg’s full name is: voco Strasbourg Centre – the Garden, an IHG Hotel. They hit the garden aspect pretty hard for an urban hotel.
The front desk offered me the choice between welcome drink, welcome points, and breakfast each day. There’s never been an easier decision. I’ll take breakfast, thank you.
Key, city guide, and cookie in hand, I headed back to the rear tower. The voco Strasbourg has a front section and rear tower. It’s a bit of a maze (I struggled to find the gym and pool later).
voco Strasbourg Room
I enjoyed a modest upgrade to a queen bed premium room. Rooms at the voco Strasbourg are generally compact. The hotel does offer some king bed suites, but even these don’t exceed 40 square meters. The rooms are nicely appointed, however, and have a pleasant color scheme.
The primary difference between the premium room and a standard room is the sofa and a bit more space. It’s still compact. The closet is an open area next to the bed. There’s complimentary water provided in the mini-fridge, as well as coffee and tea next to the sofa. Staff had left a printed welcome card.
The bed was comfortable, and I slept well enough for someone still combating jet lag. The climate control didn’t get as cool as I would have liked, though. Rather than be set to a specific temperature, it is set relative to some benchmark. I don’t know what that is. I kicked it down the full three degrees Celsius, and that was comfortable.
It was nice to have USB outlets above the nightstands, but the voco Strasbourg rooms don’t offer universal power outlets. This is something I really appreciate in many new hotels, as I invariably either forget my converter, or need to plug in more than one thing at a time.
The view isn’t much. Although I was several floors up, my room faced inward, toward the other hotel tower.
The bathroom is small, but clean, stylish, and functional. I found the bathroom door very difficult to pull fully closed. The overhead shower head is great, but water splatters well outside. This is the typical problem with the half shower screen design. While I’ll take this over a tub/shower combo, it’s an incredibly dumb design.
Overall, I was pleased with my voco Strasbourg room – glad to call it home for a couple nights.
As a select-service boutique hotel, the voco Strasbourg doesn’t have quite the array of amenities you’d expect from a typical full-service chain. But it has enough for the majority of travelers.
The hotel restaurant is open for breakfast and dinner. It does offer room service, but you can also order from your room and walk down to pick it up. You can also enjoy the bar in the evenings.
As the Garden hotel, the voco Strasbourg does have an inviting interior courtyard garden. It wasn’t open for dining, given the poor winter weather. But it is an option in the summer.
There’s also a relatively small meeting room (45 person capacity).
The wellness spa is nice, but it comes at an additional cost. It is €9 for an hour, and you have to make an appointment ahead of time to use the space, as it is small and the hotel limits capacity (I don’t know what to, but I’d guess ~6 max). The wellness spa hours are from 7:00 AM to 11:00 PM. Kids younger than 12 years old aren’t allowed.
You enter into a mixed-gender locker room with individual shower rooms. That’s once you find the place. Getting to the voco wellness area was confusing. As with all the other areas of the hotel, it’s keeping up the garden them.
The wellness area itself consists of a pool, hammam, and a pair of massage chairs. The lighting is cool. And the pool is very warm. It still feels plenty cool after spending 5-10 minutes at a time in the hammam. I relaxed for most of an hour, splitting my time between the hammam and pool, doing my best to avoid the couple who was also using the space. They were into each other. A little too much. If only the front desk had told me, I’d have booked a different hour.
The hotel gym is located next to the wellness area. It doesn’t require reservations or an extra fee, fortunately. I meant to use it, but didn’t plan enough time to do so before I had to leave for my next city.
Food & Drink
I’m glad that the voco Strasbourg restaurant opens as early as 6:30 AM on weekdays. The space is nicely designed, with plenty of greenery and warm lighting. The service was good at both breakfast and dinner.
Since I arrived in the evening and there are few options nearby, I ate dinner at the restaurant my first night. I’d thought I’d bought enough food to tide me over during the train ride up from Switzerland, but my stomach was growling. I needed something.
The cheese and sausage plate hit the spot, accompanied by a glass of Bordeaux. Prices are reasonable enough, at least compared to Switzerland where I’d just been. The total came to €17. I enjoyed the meat and cheese, but the Bordeaux wine was not as good as I’d hoped – it certainly wasn’t as full-bodied as others I’ve tried.
Breakfast the next day was a mixed bag. It normally costs €19 per person per day, making the free breakfast amenity choice far and away the best deal. However, I wouldn’t pay €19 for this buffet even if given the choice.
The scrambled eggs looked terrible. I’m willing to eat powdered eggs some hotels serve up, but these looked worse. The waffles looked very unappealing, too. Other hot options included bacon, sausage, and mushrooms. The following morning they offered potato pancakes.
I’d recommend to stick to the meats, cheeses, and bread. The cheese options included emmental, munster, brie, and comté. There’s cured ham and smoked salmon to accompany them. The croissants and crepes were decent as well. It was mainly the waffles, pancakes, and eggs that were an utter failure. As someone who likes eggs for breakfast, this made me sad.
I did get the opportunity to try Bilberry jam and Lorainne plum jam. Both were delicious.
You. Must. Visit. Strasbourg.
I have nothing but good things to say about visiting Strasbourg. When planning the trip, I sought opinions on whether to visit Strasbourg or Colmar, as I’d have time for one or the other. Strasbourg proved to be an excellent choice, and I’m glad I picked it. As far as European cities go, it’s one of my favorites.
The cathedral is stunning. It dominates the town. There are some great museums as well, plus some of the most picturesque neighborhoods to wander. I spent hours just walking the streets. The boat tour around the island was also a highlight.
Don’t skip the astronomical clock. It is super cheap and entirely worth your time.
voco Strasbourg Review: Final Thoughts
Overall, I was happy with my stay at the voco Strasbourg. The rooms are compact, but stylish and comfortable. The staff are excellent, and I like the overall design and vibe of the hotel. The location isn’t ideal, but it’s acceptable. The wellness area is a plus or minus, depending on how you look at it. With kids, I’d avoid booking the voco. We need a pool, not a spa. It’s also an extra cost. But as I was solo this trip, it worked for me.
The restaurant is the main item that needs improvement. The voco could easily go from good to excellent with some additional focus on breakfast.
All things considered, it’s a solid option. Rates are reasonable, and I’m glad I picked it for my two nights in Strasbourg.
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