Tried & Tested

Hotel check: Sheraton Congress Frankfurt

20 May 2008 by Mark Caswell

WHAT’S IT LIKE? Built in 1973, the Sheraton Congress was the first hotel in the business district of Niederrad, to the south-west of Frankfurt city centre. The area has been somewhat superceded in recent years as firms have migrated to the newer district of Eschborn, but it is still home to companies including Nestlé, IBM and Siemens. At first sight, it is not an appealing location, being almost entirely non-residential and constructed in Seventies brutalist concrete, but redeeming features include superb transport links and proximity to the huge Frankfurt city woods. The Sheraton Congress is also a welcome surprise – from the outside, it is an unprepossessing tower block, but the interior is bright and welcoming, and the service and facilities are excellent.

WHERE IS IT? In the heart of Niederrad, ten minutes’ walk from the S-Bahn station (trains every ten minutes to both the airport and city centre) and five minutes by car from the Frankfurter Kreutz, Germany’s busiest autobahn interchange.

HOW MANY ROOMS? 396, including 227 Classic, 44 Superior and 119 Executive rooms, as well as six suites.

ROOM FACILITIES Both the lobby and the rooms have been recently refurbished in warm, cheerful colours, and provide a pleasant contrast to the greyness outside. All rooms come with a coffee machine, minibar, trouser press (ironing equipment is available on request) and easy-to-use air conditioning. Incredibly, there is no in-room safe, but valuables can be stored with reception. Bathrooms are equipped with own-brand toiletries, good mirrors, a hairdryer and a shower over the bath. Wired internet access is available in the rooms (€17 for 24 hours), and wifi is provided in the lobby by T-Mobile (E8 for one hour).

RESTAURANTS AND BARS An extensive breakfast buffet is available in the main restaurant (6-10.30am), while lunch and dinner are served both here and in the adjacent rustic-style Stube. The excellent cuisine is modern European with traditional touches, and a wide selection of wines is available by the glass as part of Sheraton’s “Wines of the World” programme. The L44 bar and lounge (pictured bottom right), to the left of the entrance, is a pleasant area for coffee and drinks (open 8am-midnight).

MEETING AND BUSINESS FACILITIES All the conference facilities are on the ground floor at the back of the hotel, including 13 meeting rooms and a huge terrace on the edge of the park. The largest, the Arabella Salle, can hold up to 500 theatre-style and has French windows opening out onto the terrace. When I visited, there was a single computer for guest use behind the Star Meeting Concierge office to the right of the entrance, but there are plans to convert this into a venue for Starwood’s new Link @ Sheraton concept. This will replace the traditional business centre with a larger and more relaxed working space, including a high-stool bar area, a counter serving coffee and snacks, flatscreen PCs and a “game” corner. The concept was pioneered in Sheraton’s Brussels property and has proved popular with business travellers.

LEISURE FACILITIES One of the hotel’s biggest selling points is its 15-metre swimming pool, which is housed in the basement along with a sauna and steam room. At the time of writing, there was no gym on site and guests had to take their towels down the road to a nearby facility, but the hotel plans to convert the seating area at the front of the pool into a fitness centre by the end of this summer. There are also plenty of jogging tracks in the park (maps are available from reception).

VERDICT A very well-equipped hotel with comfortable rooms, excellent food and a very convenient location – worth a visit if only for the swimming pool and forest access.

PRICE Fully flexible internet rates for a midweek stay in early July started at €159 for a Classic single room.

CONTACT Lyoner Strasse 44-48, Frankfurt; tel +49 69 66 330; sheraton.com.

Lucy Fitzgeorge-Parker

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