x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Hotel insider: Frankfurt's high-tech haven

A hotel in Frankfurt is the perfect place to stay in Germany's financial capital.

A Skyline Deluxe room at Jumeirah Frankfurt. Photo courtesy Jumeirah Group
A Skyline Deluxe room at Jumeirah Frankfurt. Photo courtesy Jumeirah Group

The welcome

I quickly spot the Jumeirah towering over Frankfurt's central shopping area but struggle to find the entrance. It is concealed in a cul-de-sac behind the iconic pedestrian shopping stretch, the Zeil, with no visible street-level signs or a doorman. At the reception desk, the confusion eases thanks to the staff's smiling efficiency, a cooling welcome drink and quick check-in.

The neighbourhood

The silver and glass shard-like structure looms over the square, Thurn-und-Taxis-Platz, at the heart of the city's commercial and historic zone. The kilometre-long Zeil sports luxury shops and two department stores. The town hall, Römer - in the Middle Ages market square, the Römerberg - are within walking distance, as is the museum dedicated to the city's most famous citizen, Goethe House. To the west lie the restaurant-filled Grosse Bockenheimer Strasse and the old opera house (Alte Oper).

The room

From my Skyline Deluxe room I look down into the spaceship-like MyZeil shopping centre, over spires and skyscrapers to the city's surrounding green belt. The 48-square metre room packs a spacious workstation, sofa and tables into its intelligent layout.

The scene

Late in the afternoon, the lobby-level Ember Lounge & Bar switches dress from a quiet daytime cafe, perfect for a business meeting or family relaxation, to a gathering place for smartly dressed locals. There is quite an après-business buzz in here from 5pm onwards, though still with nice chill-out music as a backdrop. On a weekend, you may have the place to yourself - as Frankfurt usually empties out.

The service

The check-in and out team are the friendliest in-house. I encounter gruff cleaning staff and my room is still un-serviced at 4.30pm on day one. I cringe at being told to queue for a breakfast table by an officious, humourless restaurant manager.

The food

The breakfast buffet is a smorgasbord of fresh regional produce, artisan yoghurts and fruit juice, organic goodies and house honey, plus pancakes, waffles and egg dishes. The warm, library-walled interiors of Max on One morph into a lunch and dinner restaurant, with a menu of local and Austrian dishes. The Wiener schnitzel, served with fried potatoes and wild cranberries, is highly recommended, priced at €26 (Dh121).

Loved

From the lobby to the rooms, the hotel is elevated with vibrant paintings by the contemporary artist Hartwig Ebersbach. I also like the high-tech touches; some of them energy-saving, such as the water-based ceiling cooling system, others for sheer comfort, such as the decor feature on the bathroom mirror that transforms into a mini TV screen, in direct line-of-vision of the free-standing tub. Finally the 60-minute, mineral-rich Sodashi Power + Enjoyment facial at the Talise Spa, which costs €129 (Dh613) takes me to another realm.

Hated

The glitches in the hotel lift technology. You input your floor before climbing aboard and the computer system orchestrates the movement of several lifts, pointing you towards elevator one, two or three. Yet I find myself constantly waiting on lifts that never come, transported to the wrong place or sent back to earth. The problems are compounded by one lift being out of order. Another downside is the "hotel gym" - this is access to the neighbouring, zoo-like Fitness First, where they seem to be saving on bills by providing no air-conditioning in the treadmill zone.

The verdict

The shortfalls do not detract from the smooth atmosphere of this hotel with its strongly local flavour and hard-to-beat location.

The bottom line

A double room costs from €240 (Dh1,138) per night, including taxes. Jumeirah Frankfurt, Thurn-und-Taxis-Platz 2 (www.jumeirah.com; 00 49 69 297 2370).

 

* Tamara Thiessen