As you wind along the lane in quiet Cochem, en route to the Weissmuhle, the only sound to disturb the silence is the chuckle of the little Endert stream which once boasted 24 mills along its banks. This secluded little backwater, completely surrounded by forest, makes a welcome contrast to the seemingly endless line of hotels on the main roads, most of them unbearably close to the traffic or railway lines, which visitors to the Mosel and Rhine valleys invariably encounter.
   In this setting the Weissmuhle's Alpine-style exterior seems perfectly appropriate, but its conspicuous modernity inside comes as something of a disappointment. Bedrooms are functional, but most have a balcony and views down the valley towards Cochem.
   Locally, the Weissmuhle is known for its trout specialities (you can catch your own in a pond behind the hotel). Meals can be taken in the beautifully furnished restaurant, or on the terrace while you soak in the magical setting.
   As a base to retreat to after a hard day of castle visits, river cruises and wine-tastings, the Weissmuhle is unbeatable.