I'm helping a friend plan a trip to Germany (and Austria) for later this year, possibly August and September. She wants to spend several days visiting Dresden, mainly to see the Frauenkirche and the Zwinger and to take a scenic cruise up the Elbe river into the Sandsteingebirge. She's 81 and can't walk very long and very far anymore and will definitely turn in quite early every evening. I think she needs a bed and breakfast or a hotel near the attractions and very near public transportation. Since she'll be spending more time in the hotel room than the average tourist, it ought be pleasant and also near some restaurants. If anyone has any personal recommendations for a nice place we'd appreciate it. Her budget is moderate, not the Ritz but nothing too spartan. She would also like to visit Meissen, primarily to see the Porzellan Museum. I imagine this would take an entire day (at least for her). We wonder how many days she should plan for Dresden/Meissen, considering that she wont be able to pack into each day as much as younger people. Any advice will be much appreciated.
My only suggestion would be a hotel near the train station. It's a pleasant area, and good especially because she can take the trams to get everywhere. I stayed somewhere else and would not recommend the hotel but I've seen people report back that they were very happy near the station.
I think she needs a bed and breakfast or a hotel near the attractions
and very near public transportation. Since she'll be spending more
time in the hotel room than the average tourist, it ought be pleasant
and also near some restaurants.
The problem here is that Dresdens centre was flattened in WW2, and when the buildings were (at least partly) reconstructed only the big hotel chains could afford it there. The B&Bs are on the other side of the river, in the so called Neustadt (new town). This undestroyed part of the city however is rather young and lively and maybe not the best place for a lady of that age. The third possibility is the area around the Blue Wonder Bridge, the most beautiful part of the city, which became the new centre after 1945 when the old town was lost. I think that's the area your friend would like the most. It's basically a cute wine village with old half-timbered houses, posh villas, beer gardens and cafes. But sadly it takes quite a while to get to the old town, although public transport is good. Have a look here:
She would also like to visit Meissen, primarily to see the Porzellan
Museum. I imagine this would take an entire day (at least for her)
Yes, especially since you should visit the old town too, which look s a bit like Prague in small. You can take one of these, I don't know how to call them, "model trains" from the very picturesque market square up to the castle.
We wonder how many days she should plan for Dresden/Meissen,
considering that she wont be able to pack into each day as much as
It really depends on your interests. If you want to see most of the (great) museums you already need 2 days. The small old town needs 1/2 day, the trips to Meissen and Saxon Switzerland are day trips. I would also recommend to see Pillnitz castle, which has a wonderful park. This takes 1/2 day. And Dresden is a great base for day trips, so you can easily spend a week or more there.
Check out the historic Green Vault (timed ticket required) and the regular Green Vault. Treasures galore.
The Hilton is well-located for her needs. There are even other restaurants adjacent. Haven't been there in ten years. B&B's don't always have dedicated Concierges, which it sounds like she would like. The boat stops in Meissen sometimes, but perhaps the gangplank and ?stairs? from the dock would take too much out of her. There are good views of Saxon Switzerland from the boat. You'll have to find out if any of the viewpoints are accessible by taxi. She doesn't have to get off the boat if she doesn't want to, and can go back to downtown Dresden. Germany can be very hot in August. Also, there are periodic problems with low water in the Elbe - I don't know if Dresden is one of those areas.
She must know that museums have a lot of standing and walking. Perhaps a folding stool? Some museums have them to loan.
Based on your rewuirements the Hilton would be my recommendation. I'd also recommend to consider using taxis in Dresden rather than try and rely solely on public transport. Public transport is more sparse in Dresden than other German cities and usually require more walking than she might be able to handle.
You could also have a look at the Intercity Hotel Dresden, which is in a great location right across from the main rail station, and there's also a Tram stop right outside the hotel. The hotel is very modern and comfortable, the staff are very helpful and they serve a great breakfast. It's close to a large pedestrian shopping area, and there are lots of restaurants and stores along there. There's also a restaurant right in the hotel, and more in the rail station.
If budget is less of a concern, the Steigenberger der Saxe hotel has an ideal location in the restores old town, and it's an excellent hotel. As Martin noted, your only options in this area of the city are business class hotels.
Thank you to all the responders for your thoughtful suggestions. We've already checked some of them out on the internet but she hasn't made any decisions yet on where to stay. Probably close in but with the idea of visiting some of the places farther away. The suggestions of taking taxis is a good one, too.
I stayed at the Steinberger de Saxe and it is an excellent hotel within walking distance of the Fraunkirche and numerous restaurants.