City of change

Compared to Berlin, Munich and Frankfurt, Hamburg has long enjoyed a relatively low profile. But many travellers are beginning to see the allure of this historic city on the river Elbe, and it has quietly picked up a number of accolades in recent years, firmly placing it on the map for business travellers and tourists. From The Economist ranking Hamburg as one of the top ten most liveable cities in the world, to Lonely Planet placing the city as the fourth must-visit location in 2018, Germany’s “gateway to the world” is entering a thrilling new chapter.

Forward-thinking evolution

The newly established district HafenCity (Harbor City) is not just one of the largest urban renewal projects in Europe, but it’s also breathing new life into a city that is constantly evolving. Designed by renowned architects Herzog & de Meuron, the striking Elbphilharmonie concert hall sits as the jewel in this new development. Elbphilharmonie was officially opened in early 2017 and has already earned its place as one of the top concert halls in the world, with 850,000 concert-goers enjoying 600 shows in its first year.

Much of HafenCity was a “free port zone” before redevelopment began to transform this area into a modern and progressive neighbourhood, which will house around 12,000 residents, luxury apartments and a university when completed in 2025. The historical Speicherstadt area is technically also a part of HafenCity, although it is considered a separate zone by locals, and provides a counterbalance to the contemporary surroundings of new HafenCity. The imposing brick facades found throughout Speicherstadt make up the world’s largest continuous warehouse complex and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The 4-star Lindner Hotel Am Michel is set down a quiet residential street in the heart of Hamburg, across the street from the intimate Brahms-Museum, where visitors can view musical works, writings and artefacts of famed composer Johannes Brahms. The 225-room, Hanseatic-style brick building houses two restaurants, Restaurant Hamburger Stube and Restaurant Sonnin, as well as a relaxed Lacoon Bar where guests can sample the extensive cocktail and draft beer menu.

Decor at Lindner is clean and elegant, if slightly conservative, with seven state-of-the-art conference rooms and two boardrooms making this an ideal area for small conferences and events. A short walk from the Lindner is the famous Reeperbahn district. The area still showcases Hamburg’s creative streak all these years after The Beatles performed extensively in its clubs and pubs during their rise to fame. Reeperbahn is still full of nightclubs, bars and restaurants, alongside several theatres to entertain clients and colleagues after work.

For travellers looking for a home-away-from-home experience, 4-star apartment hotel Citadines Michel Hamburg is the perfect solution. Even the smallest of the 127 rooms is spacious and provides a fully-fitted kitchen, allowing residents to cook their favourite meals in the comfort of their apartment. The modern Lobby Lounge is a great breakout space to catch up on some emails or take a break in between sightseeing, with Citadines being a solid base for long-stay business travellers who find themselves in Hamburg for a few weeks or months.

The iconic St. Michael’s Church, or “Michel” as it’s known locally, is just a few minutes walk from Citadines and remains a prominent feature of Hamburg’s skyline, more than 350 years after its creation. Michel’s Baroque spire stands at 132-metres high and long greeted ships come up the Elbe river, with visitors regularly taking in the 360-degree panoramic view of central Hamburg from the Michel viewing platform.

Business essentials

Since 2017, Hamburg’s Congress Centre has been undergoing a fundamental renovation and remodelling project, set to finish in 2020. When completed, a total of 12,000 sqm of exhibitions space and 12,000 seats in 50 halls and rooms will be available. The Hamburg Messe fair site is still open and ready to welcome guests in 11 exhibition halls providing 87,000 sqm of space, alongside an additional 10,000 sqm of outdoor space – best of all, the site is a few minutes walk away from the Congress Centre.

Contemporary hotel Scandic Hamburg Emporio is located just over a mile away from both venues and, thanks to the nearby Gänsemarkt U-Bahn station, you can reach them in a short time. Scandinavian design features can be found in every aspect of Scandic, as well themes on water, which point to the hotel group’s commitment to sustainability. Taking pride of place on Gänsemarkt Square, the hotel was expanded last year to create 15 new superior rooms and a Living Room.

The innovative Living Room concept mixes the benefits of an executive lounge with a relaxed, cosy atmosphere. Breakfast is available and snacks are served throughout the day, making this an ideal place to work away from your room. INNSIDE by Meliá Hamburg Hafen is one of the newest hotels in the city but in the year since its launch, the 4-star property on the Mittelland Canal near Hafencity has built up quite a reputation. Excellent transport links make INNSIDE ideal for a business trip to see multiple clients around the city due to a bus stop directly outside the hotel and a U1 underground station and Hamburg central station both being less than 10 minutes away.

The rooms are decorated in a stylish monochrome design, with all public areas of the hotel having an open-plan layout, featuring contemporary artwork and splashes of youthful colours. Two conference rooms that can hold up to 120 guests and a 40 sqm “BIG IDEA SPACE” offering the latest technology are available, too.

Culture shot

Less than 15 minutes’ walk from INNSIDE is the Kunstmeile (art mile), which is home to five acclaimed museums. Hamburger Kunsthalle stands as the main art museum and holds collections from Old Masters and features pieces from the golden age of Dutch painting in the 17th century, including examples by Rembrandt, Abraham Bloemaert and Pieter de Hooch. A new three-day pass that gives access to all institutions costs just €25. Today, an array of museums line the Speicherstadt district and showcase historic connections the area has with global trade. The former customs office, Kornhausbrücke, now houses the German Customs Museum, with coffee-addicts well catered for at the Kaffeemuseum Burg (Museum of Coffee) and niche Spicy’s Spice Museum explaining the story of the spice trade.

Design-focused SIDE Hotel recently underwent a complete redesign by Italian designer and architect Matteo Thun to create a 178-room property located near the delightful inner Alster lake. High-specification design elements transform this space into an urban oasis, with business guests perfectly catered for at the eighth floor Sky Lounge and its accompanying views across the city.

For a respite from the hustle and bustle of central Hamburg, 5-star Privathotel Lindtner offers a different view of the area. Located in the southern Harburg quarter, known for its rural and green scenery, the hotel is classically designed and has a refined aesthetic, but personalised service is the trademark of Lindtner. Guests can indulge at the on-site Lindtner Medical Spa & Beauty centre, where a range of relaxing treatments from traditional massages to advanced Ayurvedic therapies can be experienced.

Visitors can bring back a slice of Lindtner home as the family also run a pastry shop in the centre of Hamburg, where all manner of fine cakes and petits fours are on offer. Another must-visit place for those with a sweet tooth is the Wohnhalle Lounge at The Fairmont Vier Jahreszeiten. Guests can enjoy a distinctly county-home atmosphere, where a classic British Afternoon Tea is served up with freshly prepared scones, traditional finger-sandwiches, éclairs and mille-feuilles.

Private dining at the Privathotel Lindtner Hamburg

Few European cities are as dynamic as Hamburg. Cranes building the skyscrapers of tomorrow sit next to the world’s oldest merchant bank, Berenberg Bank, and storied port structures contrast with architectural marvels like Elbphilharmonie. Visitors lucky enough to discover the surprises held in this unique city will be richly rewarded, even for a brief stay.