The difference was truly staggering. The last time I approached that very same location on the shores of the outer Alster Lake in the centre of Hamburg a few years ago, a rather nondescript 9-storey high-rise home to the InterConti hotel did not add much to my excitement.
That said, I always loved the old InterConti. Still centrally located, it was nonetheless tucked away from the hustle and bustle of the centre’s main streets and the site’s proximity to the lake and lots of surrounding green spaces adds to an almost Mediterranean-like flair. In addition, over the years I enjoyed a number of really great events at the old hotel, including several at the top level bar offering amazing views over the lake. Thus I was a bit sad when its closure and demolition was announced.
However, this was to make place for a new, very exiting modern hotel development.
In Spring 2018, the new build The Fontenay finally opened its doors, the first five-star hotel in Hamburg to open in more than twenty years!
The new modern structure with its fluid lines, designed as a trio of interlocking circles now wows guests already from afar.
Upon arriving, I was met by a friendly doorman – who a while later when I asked for a taxi to the city centre still remembered my name. That might sound like a small thing but to me, it is what makes the difference!
My first impression was neatly followed by the next wow moment entering the bright and airy lobby. Check-in was handled efficiently and swiftly, after which I was whisked to my room on the fourth floor.
The structure of the hotel allows all 131 rooms to face the outside and to have their own small balconies. Many of the rooms also offer views over the beautiful Alster Lake.
I very much liked the modern yet understated elegance of my room. The cream, beige and light blue colour scheme sets a perfect contrast and yet blends into the outside, with floor-to-ceiling windows opening the view towards the lake.
All rooms have parquet flooring, spacious walk-in closet providing generous storege space for clothes and luggage (a rarity in many hotels), a small working desk, free WiFi and a complimentary mini bar.
I was also quite intrigued by the fact nearly everything in the room from lighting to temperature control, opening and closing the large curtains and even the shower in the bathroom was managed by a set of touchpad systems. Speak of smart homes!
My favourite spot in the hotel however was the 27 metres high atrium with its spectacular light installation. It’s safe to say, it is one of the most beautiful hotel lobbys I have ever seen! No wonder that throughout the day it is buzzing with people enjoying a cup of coffee, a light bistro-style lunch menu or the excellent afternoon tea.
If you fancy more tranquillity, you will find this just a few steps away in the small cosy library complete with a fireplace.
Or have a drink in the small downstairs bar where you can also shop some exclusive items of jewellery, accessories and fashion.
Speaking of having a drink, however, you should really do this in the breathtaking rooftop bar on the 6th floor.
The bar not only provides an incredible 360 degree view over the Alster and city-centre skyline.
At least as spectacular is the view downstairs into the atrium.
Germany’s first La Mer Spa is located on the sixth floor. Whilst I did not have the time to use the Spa, I managed to have a quick sneak-peak (but not taking photos as it was rather frequented at the time). The Spa features a beautiful indoor-outdoor infinity pool, a sauna, work-out room and several relaxation areas where you can also have some drinks and a light menu whilst relaxing on the loungers taking in the sweeping views over the surrounding area.
Another highlight of my stay was the breakfast buffet which is set up in the hotel’s Parkview restaurant. Expect a generous selection of freshly baked bread and pastries, charcuterie, cheeses, yoghurts, muesli, jams and fresh juices together with a hot breakfast served at the table.
In addition to the all-day Parkview restaurant serving breakfast, lunch and dinner based on traditional seasonal dishes, located on the 7th floor Lakeside offers a fine dining dinner menu. The restaurant has received raving reviews regarding its amazing design and sweeping views – whilst a bit mixed ones regarding the food.
I did not eat at either of the two restaurants (except breakfast) due to other dinner appointments; so this will be for another occasion.
It’s safe to say, The Fontenay is taking luxury accommodation to a whole new level and my stay was absolutely perfect.
Fontenay 10, Hamburg
Tel: 0049 (0)40 605 6 606 0