checking in | 25hours hotel hafencity, hamburg
Hello, sailor! If you’re looking for somewhere to drop anchor in Hamburg, we’d heartily recommend this relaxed design hotel from the funky 25hours group that’s slap bang in the middle of HafenCity. With a strong suit in irony and humour, the hotel plays up to its harbourside location and shipbuilding heritage with tongue-in-cheek references everywhere you look. Designed in the style of a cosy seaman’s home (a rather well-off seaman, it has to be said), you sleep in a cabin, not a room, with soft shagpile underfoot while the beds’ headboards are gently curved to mimic ship bunks.
Seafaring references and stories abound with loving attention to detail: think rope ladder shelving, a steamer trunk that’s been repurposed as a (well-stocked but pricey) bar and desk, not to mention the intricate wallpaper that we spent a long time gazing at. Drawn by Berlin illustrator Jindrich Novotny, it hints at the 25 international seafarers’ stories that are told in full in the logbooks in each cabin. Seamen like their music, apparently, so you’ll find a UE Boom Bluetooth speaker in the room, too. Head downstairs, and it’s more of a warehouse vibe, with tall racks and stencil-like numbering echoing the style of container terminals. We feel right at home here and we don’t think it’s just because our grandfather was in the Navy.
On a rainy day, it’s quite easy not to leave the hotel at all – we spent a fair bit of time working our way through the records (from 70s disco to Cologne electronica) in the fantastic vinyl room complete with Technics turntables. There’s also a chillout area with expansive leather sofas, help-yourself tea and coffee and, our favourite, table football. No prizes for guessing what we did while we waited for the rain to stop. Head up to the sixth floor and there’s another surprise in store: a Finnish-style sauna with a breezy – bring a jumper – seating area and floor-to-ceiling windows, offering expansive views out over the city. Bliss. Oh, and did we mention you can get fruit and beer brought to you?
Literally around the corner is its slightly more grown-up sister hotel (this time we’re in the captain’s home), the Altes Hafenamt, housed in the oldest building in the HafenCity. It’s well worth checking out, not least for its Neni restaurant, which serves up delicious and creative Eastern Mediterranean dishes.
Location-wise, you’re well placed for visiting Herzog & De Meuron’s new (and wildly expensive) concert hall, the Elbphilharmonie, or exploring the historic warehouse district. After dark, though, the area grinds to a bit of a halt. But no matter, you’re only a 20-minute walk (or 10-minute tube ride from right outside the hotel) to areas like St Pauli, with its buzzing bars and restaurants, or, if you prefer to keep it local, the hotel’s Heimat bar and restaurant often hosts live gigs. If this is what the seafaring life is like, sign us up now!
Photo credits: Stephan Lemke
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25hours Hotel HafenCity, Hamburg, Germany