Tried & Tested

Hotel check: Villa Kennedy

1 May 2006 by business traveller

WHAT'S IT LIKE? Built around the 102-year-old Villa Speyer, this five-star hotel is the first of three Rocco Forte properties opening in Germany over the next 12 months. Three new wings have been added to the original villa, creating a peaceful internal courtyard, while in the villa many of the original features have been retained including a listed staircase and period ceilings.

WHERE IS IT?Just south of the River Main, within walking distance of Frankfurt's main museums, and a five-minute drive from the city centre and Hauptbahn (central station).

HOW MANY ROOMS? 163 rooms, including 29 suites.

ROOM FACILITIES Most of the rooms are located in the new building, with the exception of the eight deluxe suites and presidential suite, which are in the floors above the main entrance in the Villa Speyer. Rooms have a mixture of internal courtyard and road views, and are virtually soundproof due to heavy doors and thick windows – those rooms facing the busy main road have four panes of glass in every window to ensure a good night's sleep (the presidential suite goes one further, with bullet proof glass to offer guests the ultimate security). The hotel's interiors have been designed by Martin Brudnizki, responsible for projects including the refurbishment of Belgo in New York and Scott's in London, and the rooms are decorated in cool greens and beiges, with wooden floors in the lobby areas, huge full-length mirrors and mosaic floors in the bathrooms. The classic rooms measure at least 35sqm, and feature a queen-sized bed with fine linen and Jim Thompson cushions,L-shaped sofa, coffee table, LCD TV with interactive music and video on demand, safe, minibar and desk with broadband internet connection and angle poise lamp. All bathrooms have separate shower cubicles with two shower attachments, and to overcome the lack of daylight in the classic bathrooms, Brudnizki has cleverly designed coloured translucent panels on either side of the bathroom mirror, which look through to the bright bedrooms. Some of the classic rooms overlooking the courtyard have access to balconies running along the first floor, although these have yet to be partitioned off with plants. The lift system is a little confusing at first, as some of the lifts require you to swipe your room card while others don't.

RESTAURANTS AND BARS Both JFK's Bar and Lounge and Gusto restaurant are located on the ground floor in one of the new wings, and look out onto the central courtyard (there are plans to make use of the courtyard for drinks and dining in the summertime). JFK's is a popular, stylish lounge bar that has already found a following with non-resident regulars, and there is live piano and jazz music Tuesday through to Saturday evenings. Gusto serves predominantly Italian fare, with homemade pastas and risottos being the chef's speciality. The restaurant is decorated with imposing metallic light features, large mirrors and chocolate-brown seating. The food was excellent, although slow to arrive given that the restaurant was not full.

BUSINESS AND MEETING FACILITIES There is a separate entrance to the conference area at the side of the hotel, which, the general manager was proud to tell me, is large enough to drive a car through for product launches. Seven meeting rooms hold between six and 45 people, while the Konrad Adenauer Ballroom can take up to 450 delegates. All rooms have natural daylight and wifi access (this is available throughout the hotel to guests, charged at €20 for 24 hours). There is also underground parking at the hotel for 150 cars.

LEISURE FACILITIES Leisure time at Villa Kennedy is all about the spa. Spread over three levels and 750sqm, facilities include eight treatment rooms (including one double room), separate sauna and steam rooms for men and women, a15m green granite swimming pool and a unisex spa bath. Treatments include everything from shiatsu, Swedish and Thai massages starting at €100, to facials using natural Hungarian products such as sweet red rose, and chocolate and cherries (€140). There is a well-equipped gym with cardiovascular equipment and free weights, and a yoga and pilates studio for private lessons, along with a relaxation floor overlooking the pool, with personal music channels and a refreshment bar.

The spa facilities are open to all residents, while casual visitors can purchase day packages or annual membership. If staying in the old villa it's a bit of a palaver getting back to your room, as the lift from the spa is at the other end of the building – I ended up wandering endlessly along corridors in my dressing gown, albeit in a very relaxed state.

VERDICT As you would expect from a Rocco Forte hotel, Villa Kennedy is luxurious, high-tech and healthy. The designers have managed seamlessly to marry the old and new parts of the hotel to create a first class hotel in Germany's financial hub.

PRICE Internet rates for a midweek or weekend stay in May started at E250 for a classic room, rising to €355 for a junior suite. Rates are room only,but note they must be cancelled before 1pm, 48 hours before arrival to avoid cancellation charges.

CONTACT Villa Kennedy, Kennedyallee 70, D-60596, Frankfurt Am Main, Germany, tel +49 69 717 120,

Mark Caswell

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