by Liz Fleming

Der TeufelhofCourtesy of Der Teufelhof

"PLEASE MADAME," said the concierge quickly, "We will have a man carry those up for you." Glancing quickly at my bulging luggage, she added, "A strong man."

Good plan. The walk up to my room at the ultra-charming Der Teufelhof Basel, a whimsical combination of museum, theater, cafe bistro, restaurant and hotel involved a little stroll through a sunny courtyard and outdoor terrace, followed by a climb up two longish flights of wooden circular stairs. I paused to photograph an antique stained glass window that stretched for several storeys, then found myself sorely tempted by a trolley of glorious Swiss cheeses waiting to be rolled into the elegant restaurant just below my suite. There is no efficient way to walk through Der Teufelhof - there's just too much to see.

Teufelhof staircaseCourtesy of Der Teufelhof

Suite #3 in the "Artist's Hotel" was an explosion of life-sized phot-like paintings and painting-like photos on every inch of wall space - ceiling included. The pressed floor board was a riot of splashes and splotches of paint while two simple, European-style beds, tightly tucked with ultra-luxe white linens nestled against the wall. Antique chairs covered in burgundy chenille invited the first-time guest to sit down, take a breath and absorb the art installation - so I did. 

Teufelhof RoomCourtesy of Der Teufelhof

Even locating the bathroom door took a few moments. The wall was so cleverly disguised, the outline of the door and its handle simply disappeared into the images. A similar search revealed the closet, where I found two neatly folded robes and slipper sets, and even a small pot of real black show polish.

Teufelhof RestaurantCourtesy of Der Teufelhof

During the evening, I heard the soft laughter of guests enjoying dinner below and others arriving to watch a production in the small theatre. Later, I slipped downstairs to stroll through the tiny museum that showcases remains of the original city wall on which the hotel is built, in the heart of old Basel.

Der Teufelhof's boutique style makes it a very special choice, made more so by myriad extra touches - like the copy of Edgar Allen Poe's The Murders at the Rue Morgue waiting on my pillow for night time reading, and the crowning touch - a handwritten postcard on my desk that read: "We hope you have  a devilishly good time at Der Teufelhof, and we will be your helping angels during your stay."

Originally published in Cruise & Travel Lifestyles Spring/Summer 2017 issue.  

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