Touch down Hamburg, and still a little dazed from my 15 hour flight from Kuala Lumpur. I was happy though that I was headed towards a rather interesting hotel, which would be home for the next two days.
Incidentally, if you have a couple of days in Hamburg, here are some exciting things you can do with only 48 hours on your hands.
Located between the river Elbe and Lake Alster, I would be staying at an old converted water tower in the middle of Sternschanze park.
That is correct, and you read right.
A Water Tower.
The Movenpick Hotel Hamburg is a sight for sore eyes. There’s no hotel that looks like it! A vertical, orange-red brick tower (slightly phallic) rising from the ground, it’s hard to miss.
So how does one get here? Using the S1 from the airport directly, I changed in Ohlsdorf (which is only one stop) to the underground. Going by U1 from Ohlsdorf to Kellinghusenstraße, then changing to U3, which is really easy, because the track is on the opposite side, I found myself at the hotel in around 40 minutes. Station Sternschanze is directly in front of the hotel.
So the story goes.. once upon a time, this place was a water tower, constructed in the nineteenth century.
Now, it looks all modern and trendy on the inside, with arty corners at every turn, while keeping the old charm of the brick facade.. I can see what all the hype is about. This place is way cool.
You will enter the building from the outside, via a 25-metre conveyor belt and as you journey into the lobby, you will see water projections on the wall, and hear the sound of gurgling water.. all geared towards that true ‘water tower’ experience I suppose. Cheesy? Maybe, if you’re reading it. But if you are there in person, it actually works. The building ́s uniqueness is emphasised by the Memory art project – traces of which can be found throughout the entire hotel.
Ah, one tip. If you ever get lost, just head towards the Hamburg TV tower, another iconic and very obvious landmark that’s located along the way to the hotel. I found it useful when I was running back from Altser lake and had to navigate home. Yup – the TV tower is definitely a good focal point in getting your bearings right.
Anyway, where was I? Yes, stepping into the 19th century water tower, is a pretty cool experience.
The lobby features brick walls and vaulted ceilings, while steel from the structure were used to frame guestroom doors. The rooms while all, cozy and well lit are also stylishly modern, but the higher you climb up the hotel, the more luxurious the rooms get.
Right at the top is the penthouse that’s amazing – with a circular split level, you get a gorgeous birds eye view of Hamburg below
So romantic – automated shades so that you can have your privacy…
The Hamburg TV tower.. you can see the revolving restaurant.. but you sure hope they can’t see you!
Love the “blue print” like etchings that tell you which floor you are located on as well – every room has this.
The hotel has in total 226 rooms with wifi and all the usual comforts that come with. The many amenities here include an excellent restaurant serving international and Swiss cuisine, as well as a gym, pool, and spa.
Movenpick’s restaurant is open 24 hours a day and serves international and traditional Swiss cuisine.
My two most favourite things in the world.. Pork Schnitzel and White Asparagus.. what luck, one was in season, and the other, they have ample of anyway;)
A medium rare, super delectable and unctuous steak. Wow, life doesn’t get better than this
Breakfast every morning was held here too, at the Mövenpick Hotel Restaurant
Al fresco dining – I was lucky to have sunshine on most all days, with mild weather of 16°C during my visit to Hamburg..
Breakfast was really something else. People say that continental breakfasts are rubbish, with very little to choose from(compared with the spread you get in South East Asia that can feed a king and his entourage), but Movenpick’s breakfast spread was the bomb. I had all manner of omelet, sausages, bacon.. AND spaetzle, hashbrowns, pastries.. i.e. unending helpings of protein, carbs and later fiber in the form of salad and fruits as well as juice, champagne and coffee over two mornings. Really, what a great selection of food. I usually draw the line at alcohol entering my bloodstream only after 12 noon, but I’m not one to resist bubbly for very long. Plus I already ran 11.5K, so, I felt slightly entitled!
Come evening, it was time to kick back with a cocktail or two.. and Movenpick’s happy hour selection is extensive as it is affordable.
The lifestyle bar “Cave” is down in the water tower’s brick vault, which is over 160 years old.
They serve great cocktails here at discounted prices (something like €6.50 per cocktail) during happy in the evenings. A must try is the classic martini (right), with olives of course, no less.
Apart from Spa, Bar and Restaurant, there is the Conference side of things too. The hotel conference center features meeting rooms and conference space – I love the smaller break out rooms with that gorgeous glass roof that lets in tons of natural daylight. Not sure if I won’t be daydreaming at the meeting though:P
There’s a Fitness and spa centre, but if you prefer the great outdoors like I do, you can walk, jog or cycle in the park nearby. I found a running route to Altser lake and back which was 11.5KM. Just perfect.
If in doubt, ask the helpful concierge as they have the various running routes all mapped out on a simple card.
Altser lake.. freaking gorgeous! And what perfect sunny conditions too. It’s like Hamburg put on her best face for me all week
Hamburg is so green! With most neighborhood streets tree-lined, and with an abundance of rivers, canals and lakes. The Alster River was dammed up hundreds of years ago, and has since been the recreational heart of the town.
There is a small Binnenalster lake directly in the town center. The Binnenalster lake is separated by the bigger Aussenalster by a causeway and bridge.
The Aussenalster, though, is THE place to run! It is full of runners. In fact, it’s the main running track, comparable to the Central Park reservoir in New York, with lots of joggers at peak times. But the Aussenalster is even better: the scenery is nicer and you don’t have to do tons of laps to get in a decent run. I ran from Movenpick to the lake and back giving me a cool 11.5K distance! Loved it.
So seriously runners, if you stay at the Movenpick, you can enjoy all this. Enough said.
Running back to the hotel, just follow the direction beacon – the Hamburg TV Tower.
Running around the area, when I got back I realised that the neighboring Karolinen and Schanze districts were lively, trendy areas featuring a great variety of dining possibilities, all within walking distance, and it’s also close to the train station and the underground and rapid transit station Sternschanze. Wow, this place keeps getting better.. later that day I decided to explore the harbour area.. a mere two stops by subway, from the hotel.
Movenpick Hamburg, definitely a great hotel to choose for their dependable Swiss traditions, while enjoying the quirkiness of their unique feature, the water tower.Instagram : @agentcikay
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