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Frankfurt is home to Germany's largest stock exchange, the German Federal Bank, the European Central Bank and some of Europe's largest corporations. It is one of the few European cities with a skyline dominated by skyscrapers and modern architecture, yet is also has some parts that give it the feel of "Old World Germany."
As I was planning a business trip to Frankfurt, I couldn't really find any type of guide regarding where to stay or what to do, so I thought I would provide some insight based on my experience in Frankfurt.
With respect to hotels, I am very "Points Oriented" so I generally stay at a hotel that allows me to either earn or use points, but at the same time I love hotels in general, especially luxury hotels, so I also like to check out some of the other great hotels in a city where points might not be an option. Below you will find my recommendations of hotels as well as some recommendations on where to eat and drink.
The three key things I look for in a hotel are the quality of the hotel itself, the amenities it offers and its location. As far as location goes, there are three things you want to be near in Frankfurt:
1. Shopping on Goethestrasse ("Goethe Street" it's the 5th Avenue of Frankfurt),
2. Römerberg (AKA Römerberg Square – The most beautiful square in Frankfurt, especially during December with the Christmas Market), and
3. Sachsenhausen (One of Frankfurt's most historic streets with timber framed buildings, restaurants, bars and nightclubs)
Hotels for those who want to earn or use "Points":
1. The Westin Grand Frankfurt
Konrad-Adenauer-Strasse 7, 60313
The Westin Grand Frankfurt is located right in the heart of the city and within short walking distance of the historic center, shopping district and financial district. In my opinion it has the best location of the "point earning" hotels in Frankfurt. The hotel has 371 rooms, including 18 suites, all of which have Westin's trademark Heavenly Beds and Heavenly Showers as well as a marble bathrooms.
As far as restaurants and amenities go, the Westin Grand Frankfurt offers two Asian restaurants. Restaurant san san offers Chinese cuisine and Sushimoto offers Japanese cuisine and Sushi. A Breakfast buffet is served at the Restaurant Motions and there is a lobby bar / cafe called Arabella bar & lounge which provides coffee, cake, cocktails and a business lunch.
The Emotion Spa offers an indoor pool with rooftop views of Old Frankfurt, a Finnish steam room, sauna, and spa. The Westin Workout facility is state of the art with treadmills, free weights and LifeFitness weight equipment. Overall, this is a very nice Westin with a great location.
Points: The Westin Grand Frankfurt is a SPG category 4 hotel with a free night requiring 10,000 Starpoints per night.
2. Marriott Frankfurt
Hamburger Allee 2
The Marriott Frankfurt is location across from the Frankfurt Convention Center ("Messe Frankfurt"), which is great for tradeshows, but not the best location for touring the city. However, it offers some great amenities and services. I stayed at this hotel for about 3 nights and was very impressed with what it had to offer. There was a nice little coffee bar and cafe, Espressivo Cafe & Bar, that made great espresso and cappuccino. On top of that, their muesli, yogurt and sandwiches were fantastic (think fresh crusty bread with fine prosciutto or salami, not the 3 day old prepackaged sandwiches you get at most Starbucks that are located in North American Marriott's). There was also a Champions Sports bar and French Brasserie, Brasserie ici.
As a Marriott Platinum, I stay at a lot of Marriott's and would have to rank the concierge lounge and fitness center at this place right at the top of all Marriott's. The lounge had a fairly substantial buffet for both breakfast and dinner. The fitness center was very large with treadmills, free weights, cardiovascular equipment and even had a juice bar that made protein drinks.
Points: The Marriott Frankfurt is a category 5 hotel with free nights requiring 25,000 Marriott Rewards Points per night (or 20,000 if you can get it as a PointSaver)
3. Frankfurt Hilton
Located next to the Frankfurt Stock Exchange, The Hilton Frankfurt Hotel, is a modern 12 story hotel located in a lush green park. They offer 342 standard, executive and deluxe guest rooms, including 14 suites, all of which have a modern, bright and airy feel to them.
The hotel offers 2 restaurants (Gekkos and Pacific Colors) and a café / bar / lounge (Vista Bar and Lounge) as well as an executive lounge and Fitness Center with steam room and sauna.
Points: The Hilton Frankfurt is a Hilton HHonors Reward Category 6 hotel with a free night requiring 40,000 HHonors Points per night.
4. Intercontinental Frankfurt
Wilhelm-Leuschner Strasse 43
Located on the Main River, the InterContinental Frankfurt is close to the city center and within a short walk of many local sightseeing attractions, including the Römerberg Square, Frankfurt Cathedral and St Paul's Church. One of the best things about the location of this hotel is the ability to walk out the hotel, cross the street and go for a run (or walk) down path along the Main River.
This hotel is actually comprised of two separate buildings, across the street from each other, with a total of 770 rooms. There are two restaurants and a bar – LEONS Italian Restaurant, Signatures Veranda Restaurant and DAXs Mainhatten Bar, as well as a 24 hour Health and Fitness Center. I would not consider this one of the better Intercontinental Hotels, but if you typically stay at IHG properties, it would be your best bet.
Points: A Free night at the Intercontinental Frankfurt will require 30,000 Priority Club Points (Intercontinental Hotels Range from 30,000 – 40,000 points)
5. Le Meridien ParkHotel
Located very close to the Frankfurt Central Train Station ("Hauptbahnhof") and one of only two Starwood hotels in the City Center, this was one of the more unusual hotel designs I have encountered. Half the hotel is an Old World Charming City hotel and the other half (a 70's add-on I would guess) is a contemporary business hotel. This was true not only on the exterior architecture, but of the 297 other as well. I stayed in one of the rooms from the older section, which was actually very nice with traditional furnishings, just a little small. The rooms on the contemporary side are much larger and more modern, geared more toward the business traveler.
Overall, I was not too impressed with this hotel – it did not have any of the amenities I would have expected from an "upper end" Starwood hotel. There was a decent restaurant, LeParc, but the bar, Casablanca, was very dark and dated. The hotel gym has a nice steam, sauna and treadmills, but was very light on the weights. I would stay at this hotel as a frequent SPG member if the Westin Grand Frankfurt is either sold out, has a much higher daily rate or if I needed to be close to the train station.
Points: The Le Meridien ParkHotel is a SPG category 4 hotel with a free night requiring 10,000 Starpoints per night. (This is the same number of points for a night at the Westin Grand Frankfurt, I would recommend the Westin either way, but definitely if you are using points)
Hotels for those who want a luxury hotel and aren't "Point Oriented":
1. Steigenberger Frankfurter Hof
Am Kaiserplatz, 60311
For old European grandeur in a prominent location, you can do no better than the five-star Steigenberger Frankfurter Hof. With more than 130 years of history, this hotel has the best address in the city, located just moments from the financial district and Frankfurt's best shopping and cultural destinations.
The hotel has 261 rooms and 42 suites, decorated in a variety of styles, all of which would be categorized as more traditional and elegant than some of the more modern hotels in the city.
Note: The hotel has been renovating its rooms and will be going through this extensive renovation until sometime around December 2012, so be aware if you will be staying during that time.
The Steigenberger Frankfurter Hof has four restaurants in total, including Restaurant Français, which has been awarded a Michelin Star. The others include Oscars, Restaurant Hofgarten, the outdoor summer Terrace and Restaurant IROHA, a Japanese restaurant. There is also a cigar bar, Cigarrum and Autorenbar which offers cocktails and "Royal High Tea". There is also a Fitness & Wellness center with a gym, sauna, steam bath and spa.
The Steigenberger Frankfurter Hof is a member of the Visa Luxury Collection of Hotels. Visa Signature card holders get some very nice benefits, like room upgrades, complimentary breakfast, etc …, so make sure you check out the option of booking a stay at this hotel through Visa for some nice added benefits. They also have a best available rate guarantee, so the nightly rate should be good.
2. Hotel Villa Kennedy (Rocco Forte)
Kennedyallee 70, 60596
The Hotel Villa Kennedy is a five-star hotel located just off the south bank of the Main River on Kennedyallee that does not look or feel like a city hotel at all. Located in extensive gardens, with a neo-gothic façade, the hundred-year-old Villa Speyer has been perfectly adapted into a luxury hotel centered around a beautiful courtyard with mature trees, and alfresco dining. As far as architecture and serenity go, this was my favorite hotel in Frankfurt.
The location is slightly different from the other hotels profiled here, as it is on the South Side of the Main River, in Sachsenhausen and just a short walk or cab ride from the other shopping, financial and cultural attractions of Frankfurt.
The Villa Kennedy has 163 rooms, 28 of which are suites, with what they call a "minimalist deluxe" design featuring neutral and gray tones throughout. The bathrooms are beautifully finished in marble and mosaic, heated flooring, a bathtub and a separate walk in shower.
The hotel also has a Villa Spa with a 15 meter indoor pool, gym, sauna, steambath and eight treatment rooms offering a range of health and beauty treatments
The Hotel Villa Kennedy is a member of the Leading Hotels of the World, so it actually does have a points earning feature through the Leaders Club (you can earn a free night at any LHW property after five stays completed in a year) however, you do have to pay either $ 100 or $ 1200 to be a Leaders Club member so I don't really classify it in the same category as the other hotel loyalty programs.
3. Jumeirah Frankfurt
Located in the heart of Frankfurt city center, The Jumeirah Frankfurt Hotel lies in the financial district, just a short distance from Frankfurt's best shopping including the luxury boutiques of Goethestrasse and myZeil, Germany's most frequented shopping center.
The Jumeirah Frankfurt is a beautiful new addition to Frankfurt's modern skyline. Featuring 157 guest rooms and 61 suites, the hotel is spread across 25 floors of striking new building in Frankfurt. All rooms feature a contemporary decor and are considered to be the largest rooms in Frankfurt.
As far as dining and nightlife goes, there are two restaurants and a bar. Max on One features inventive German and Australian cuisine, Le Petit Palais is more casual and offers lighter dishes and desserts. The Ember lounge is their bar / nightclub and is a much more active than the most hotel bars.
Gutleutstr 85, 60329
Located very close to the Frankfurt Train Station is Roomers. This hotel is for those that like the more edgy, trendy and lively boutique hotels such as those found in properties associated with W Hotels, Morgans Hotel Group and Thompson Hotels.
What was once an office building has been transformed into a luxury boutique hotel with 116 rooms, 11 suites and a very lively restaurant and bar scene. Catering to the "hipster-jetset" crowd, this is the hotel to stay in if you are into the nightlife.
Roomers is part of the Kiwi Collection of Hotels. It is owned by a hospitality group in Frankfurt that also owns The Pure, another hotel you may want to check out if you like Roomers.
Where to Eat and Drink in Frankfurt:
Here are just a couple of recommendations for lunch, dinner and drink, based on my experience in Frankfurt.
1. Ivory Club – Taunusanlage 15, 60325
Contemporary Colonial Cuisine (ie upscale and elegant Indian Cuisine), located in the financial district. They also have a great selection of spirits, which is rare in Germany. I was very happy to see my favorite spirit, Bulldog Gin, which I cannot get in my home state of Michigan and needs to be in any restaurant that wants to provide a great martini.
2. Zenzakan – Taunusanlage 15, 60325
Pan-Asian Cuisine (sister restaurant to Ivory Club) – great atmosphere, creative Asian cuisine, located in the financial district.
3. Adolf Wagner's – Schweizer Straße 71
Typical Frankfurt Apfelwein tavern located in Sachsenhausen. Very lively bench style, communal seating. Great food, but no beer. If you are looking for the traditional German food and Apple Wine, this is the place to go.
4. Zum Storch am Dom – Saalgasse 5 60311
One of the oldest restaurants in Frankfurt with an excellent German kitchen and great service, located just off Römerberg Square.
5. Frankfurter Kleinmarkthalle – Hasengasse 7
If you like going to local food markets to get a feel for the local cuisine, this is a place you would love. It's an indoor market ,, located just off Römerberg Square, with over 60 stalls offering the most sought after delicacies of the region – fresh meats, fish, sausage, cheese, wine, etc … If you are a foodie, you will want to add this to your itinerary.
6. Wacker's Kaffee – Kornmarkt 9
Wacker's Kaffee is the most popular coffee house in Frankfurt and has to be on the list of any coffee lover. They serve and sell just about any type of coffee and cake. There will almost always be a line out the door, but don't let this scare you off, they are probably the most efficient coffee shop I have ever been to, with respect to making espresso, cappuccino and latte's. It is also located just off Römerberg Square