First the Unperfekthaus does have hotel rooms, but it's a living community and already taken. My hotel preference is the Holiday Inn in Essen where I reserved my room. Some participants are in the Holiday Inn Express in the next street.
The lowest price seems to be the Gasthaus Nordstern with just 26.50 Euro per night.
You can get rooms for the Lindenhof (starting at 40 Euro) or the Ambassador (starting at 45 Euro). Also 4 star hotels like the Welcome Hotel Essen or Holiday Inn (both starting at 55 Euro) are available.
On all bookings, make sure that you pick Essen in Germany, not in Belgium
The next airport from Essen is the airport Essen-Mülheim, but that is more an airport for sport flyers. Good if you fly yourself, but for a normal airline, you'd certainly prefer the Duesseldorf International airport. There you can get connections to nearly everywhere, including flights to the USA, Italy, France or UK. This airport has its own train station, where you can take RE trains (regional express) directly to Essen main station. Just a 22 minutes ride and a short walk inside Essen.
Some cheaper flights don't go to Düsseldorf airport, but to Düsseldorf-Weeze airport. That's a smaller airport 50km north east of Düsseldorf. But from there you can take the shuttle bus to Essen.
To drive you simply take Limbecker Platz as destination and park there. It's a big shopping mall, actually the biggest inside a city for Germany. But it closes around 8 pm, so over night, you may want to park somewhere else. The parking garage at the Weberplatz is open all day, so it may be a good choice.
Friends and Family
If you have someone who joins you on the visit and who is not into software development, we have special offers. Your family members or friends can visit Essen and join us for meals and social program.
see also: Low cost to the conference