What's it like: Warm and traditional without being stuffy. Part of the Kempinski group, the hotel is known locally as the "White Castle on the Alster" and has been looking after princes, emperors and kings for almost 100 years.
Where is it? On the banks of the Aussenalster, near the main railway station, in the centre of town.
Room facilities: Although on a main road, rooms are blissfully quiet. Most have been recently refurbished and are decorated in subtle beige and gold colours. The older rooms are a little tired but still comfortable and available at cheaper rates. My deluxe room, which had been made-over, had a separate living and sleeping area and a large bathroom. Wifi is available in all rooms and the desk had plenty of power and modem points. Some deluxe rooms have balconies that look onto a pretty courtyard. Those with bigger budgets might like to book what is known as the James Bond suite after it was featured in the 1997 movie Tomorrow Never Dies. It was from this room that 007 (played by Pierce Brosnan) drove his car straight off the balcony and into an Avis showroom to return it.
Restaurants/bars: The lobby bar area with its crackling fireplace and resident pianist is particularly welcoming during the winter months - especially if you stay around Christmas time when carols are sung around the piano. If you prefer a more formal atmosphere, the Atlantic Restaurant is definitely worth a visit and has a view of Hamburg's Aussenalster. Make sure you leave room for dessert as these are the specialty. The hotel also has a Chinese restaurant and two bars. Visitors also have an opportunity to host functions in the recently opened Privatemax. This is the first hotel cinema in Germany and can broadcast movies of your choice as well as corporate presentations. The atmosphere is very intimate with a ceiling full of twinkling stars and plenty of comfy seats, making it perfect for intimate gatherings.
Business centre? Yes. This is well equipped and the staff extremely helpful.
Verdict: This hotel lives up to its reputation as a grand hotel and enjoys plenty of repeat bookings from guests who enjoy the elegant yet informal atmosphere. This is the best place to stay in Hamburg if you want to be treated like a VIP.
An der Alster 72-79
Tel: 49 40 28 88 0
Rates start from:EUR 187 per night for a double room with breakfast (EUR 93,50 per person) or EUR 147 per night for a single room with breakfast.