Frankfurt Travel Guide
The Frankfurt Airport debuted a new hotel called the Hundepension last week, but unfortunately none of us will ever get to stay there. Why? Because it’s for dogs.
The airport appears to be vying for a piece of the dog-boarding pie and providing travelers with a convenient place to stash their pets before leaving. Given the fact that it's a small operation -- there are only 25 "rooms" -- we assume this to be a trial run of sorts for the concept. Airport operator, Fraport AG, said:
"When dog owners go on holidays or business trips, they often have difficulties finding someone to take care of their loyal companion. So, don’t bark up the wrong tree trying to find a solution as Frankfurt Airport is dedicated to the canine comforts of your four-legged family members."
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Think about the adjectives typically associated with Frankfurt, Germany. They're not exactly the most pleasant, are they? Perhaps that's why the Goldman 25Hours Hotel shakes up the scene with confident use of colors and whimsical design touches. In any case, our stay (1 night, paying a standard prepaid rate of 92 Euros) blessedly brightened what had been a dreary, sleep-deprived week
Never heard of the 25Hours boutique chain? Well neither had we until last year, when we found their Hamburg HafenCity location and promptly fell head over heels. Their Goldman Frankfurt property is not as new or large as Hamburg, but the brand's bravery with design and affordable rates are very much in house at all locations.
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While more and more hotels realize that perhaps their guests prefer a fitness experience other than a musty gym, we see more and more yoga mats in closets and jogging maps on desks. Recently, during a stay at the Goldman 25Hours in Frankfurt, Germany, we checked in at reception next to this little "Jogging Corner" cart.
The Jogging Corner is all the basics you'd need to have an enjoyable run, while traveling light. That means they provide the water bottles, the small sweat towels, wristlet keychains or branded sweatbands, all complimentary to guests.
We went for the sweatbands, since we quickly figured out that these serve more than the function of storing the tiny specially made jogging map of the area; we wore the sweatband and stored our bus and tram coins in it. Perfect! No fumbling in a wallet while trying to board public transportation.
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Is Europe ready to balance itself out?
This week it was announced that Element, the brand that once gave out free rooms to guests who showed up with recyclable plastic bottles, is finally making the move across the pond. Starting with...Frankfurt, Germany. Though from the sound of it, Starwood is just scratching the surface, as it plans to embark on a full-blown European expansion of the eco-conscious brand.
Hope those Germans have a soft spot for smoothie stations and healthy breakfast wraps!
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Over on Jaunted, you can get our inside looks at some of the world’s best airline lounges, so we thought we’d do something similar here and start talking about some of the hotel lounges we’ve frequented lately for our series on Hotel Club Lounges. Today, we're having a look inside the Executive Lounge at the very new Hilton within The Squaire complex at Frankfurt International Airport.
When you're an executive lounge at an airport hotel, it's probably a good idea to mirror the upscale airline lounges found next door, right? Right. So when the Hilton Frankfurt Airport finally opened last December, they kept that jet set appeal all the way up through the executive lounge.
We popped into the lounge only a few days ago, thanks to one of our buddies at Australian Business Traveller and his Hilton status. Upstairs in the shiny, zeppelin-like SQUAIRE complex, the Hilton's lounge overlooks the atrium lobby andif you're luckythe glass roof will give you brief glimpses of airplanes taking off right overhead.
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Finally finally Frankfurt Airport has more hotels to offer than the Sheraton with the horrible internet situation. Both the Hilton Frankfurt Airport and Hilton Garden Inn Frankfurt Airport debuted yesterday, though this December opening date is a long delay from March, when they originally planned on polishing the door handles.
Whatever. We're just happy we don't have to stay in that Sheraton again.
So, what does the duo of Hiltons have to offer? First off, they're in a striking new building with an odd name the "Squaire." It's connected to the airport via walkways, but it's got far more going for it than that; this is a mega center with restaurants, shops, landscaped atriums andthe real clinchera major transit hub on its ground level. Zipping below your hotel rooms are 185 daily high-speed rail links across Europe.
That's our most favorite featureits convenient location to both the airport and the German ICE trainsbut our second favorite is the promise of Free WiFi at the Garden Inn, and more:
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This week, Con Nast Traveler took a minute to examine some of the world's most unique and gorgeous hotel bathrooms. Ever. Sure, a few classics made it onto the list—like the Mandarin Oriental New York and the Hyatt on the Bund—but the above photo caught our eye. It's of the public mens bathroom inside the Goldman 25hours in Frankfurt, Germany. We wonder what gets used to clean these things: a toilet swab, or a toothbrush?
Sorry, Starwood; we're just not that into your Sheraton Hotel & Towers at Germany's Frankfurt International Airport. Mainly our hate is due to some of the suckiest hotel WiFi we've ever encountered (and a friend who was there last week confirms it's still bad), but also because we're about to get some options. As we reported earlier, the super modern, super shiny Squaire building across from the airport was due to open both a Hilton and a Hilton Garden Inn this spring. Sadly, both seem to be delayed until September.
Focusing on the Hilton for a bit, it's worth pointing out that this hotel isn't designed to be some massive airport conference hotel; its 248 rooms and suites will instead focus on design, with a boutique hotel attitude. Rooms are projected to begin around 199 Euro per night, and it's going to have the best location for catching one of the German ICE trainsthe hotel sits atop a station that sees some 185 high-speed trains daily.
See that slick new, futuristic building in the photo above? It's called "The Squaire" and it's all cozied up to the major European hub of Frankfurt Airport; check out an awesome photo of it here. The Squaire, though only several months old, is already gearing up to open a hotel to end the tyranny of the airport's Sheraton Hotel. The new oneset to debut in March 2011will be The Hilton Frankfurt Airport, and it should be quite the shiny playground for business travelers.
With only 248 rooms and suites, it's not planning to become a behemoth conference hotel, but to be the boutique-y, stylish standout on airport grounds. Plus, since it's within The Squaire, that means landscaped atriums, art installations, shopping, restaurants and even a medical center in the same building. Not to mention that The Squaire is also a major rail station on its ground level, with "185 daily high-speed rail links across Europe." Indeed, last time we whizzed through Germany on one of the ICE trains, we remember going underneath this building.
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Even though many budget-friendly hotels have adopted free internet as part of the room rate, the fight for complimentary WiFi is far from over. Our latest battlefront is the Sheraton Hotel & Tower at Frankfurt Airport in Germany, which had the most appallingly bad internet policy and connection we've ever used.
Thankfully we got around paying $250 a night for this airport hotel by being a guest of Lufthansa, but we still had the pesky internet charge. And here's the policy: Guests get a free 30 minutes of internet per day in the lobby only. In the rooms, connectivity costs 8 Euro per hour, or a flat 19 Euro for 24 hours. You must create a user ID for your account.
After successfully hooking up to the free half-hour in the lobby on our iPhone at check-in, the situation looked manageable. That is, until we sat down in our room to begin the real work.
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The largest hotel suite in all of Germany, as we showed you yesterday, sits at the top of a palatial private villa turned 5-star hotel, in the ritzy neighborhood of Sachsenhausen in Frankfurt. This property, the Villa Kennedy of the Rocco Forte Collection, is a restored historical complex originally built for a banker family in 1904, and which also housed the Max Planck Institut for the Advancement of Science before becoming a luxury hotel.
These days, the expansive courtyard and sprawling suites are known more for housing celebs, politicians and CEOs than test tubes and scientists, but one thing remains the same: that this is an exclusive, pristine property.
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Above the staircase where President Kennedy once stood during his famous visit to Germany to give his "Ich bin ein Berliner" speech, now sits the country's largest hotel suite. Villa Kennedy's Speyer Suite measures an impressive 3,509 square feet, has three bedrooms, a chef's kitchen with Gaggenau appliances, and completely bulletproof windows.
Chances are, since the Villa Kennedy (of the Rocco Forte Collection of hotels) is the best show in town when it comes to 5-star hotels in Frankfurt, that when the big celebrities and politicians are in town, they stay in this suite. It also helps that it's got a private elevator, panic buttons in the rooms (just in case), a massive entrance hall, and an impressive dining room inside one of the Villa's turrets, that lends itself well to interviews and photoshoots.
No, we didn't stay here, but just had a drool-tastic look around.