Raffles Hotel Her Jahreszeiten

The glass-and-steel facade sets the tone for this contemporary business hotel, with high-speed Internet access in every room Overlooking the Outer Alster lake, a short walk from the main railway station 265 bright, colour-coordinated rooms (blue, pink, green or red) and 19 suites on eight floors Enthusiastic: there's a member of staff to deal with every conceivable eventuality, and numerous business-liaison staff Restaurant Le Ciel on the ninth floor has a Mediterranean menu and great views but lacks atmosphere Most of the rooms have panoramic views of the Alster. Make sure you request one, as the others overlook a retirement home The initial contents of the minibar – wine, beer, water and soft drinks – are all included in the room rate The Opus Lounge – the main bar and the first public space you encounter after the light-filled reception – is depressingly dark The work of 50 local artists that decorates the rooms and public spaces is the biggest private modern-art collection in Hamburg Doubles from ‚205; suites from ‚365 A 12-storey structure in steel, stone and glass with a retro-contemporary interior by designer Matteo Thun In the central Neustadt area, between Gansemarkt and Dammtor stations 168 rooms and 10 suites. Doubles are diminutive; suites range from S' to ‘XXL' Friendly and efficient, verging on the overbearing; use your Do not disturb' sign or be prepared for frequent interruptions Fusion, the hugely popular restaurant on the ground floor, offers Euro-Asian cuisine.

There is also a sushi bar An interesting vista of spires and office buildings which is especially impressive from the decked terrace on the eighth floor The swimming pool in the basement, with its brightly coloured walls and seating enclaves, spa, sauna and steam rooms Only the suites have hi-fis; the other rooms have small, retro TV sets, although more sophisticated kit can be requested The live-DJ bar attracts a young, hip, local crowd as well as residents, making it a great place to start or end an evening Doubles from ‚205; suites from ‚345 An impeccably maintained hotel dating from 1897, with stunning public areas full of marble, tapestries and chandeliers On the west side of the Inner Alster lake in the centre of Hamburg, close to the Jungfernstieg shopping area 123 rooms and 33 suites on five floors: the good-sized, individually furnished rooms are traditional without being fusty Hanseatic hospitality at its best: the staff go to great lengths to ensure guests' comfort; some suites come with personal butlers The Michelin-starred Restaurant Haerlin, Art Deco Jahreszeiten Grill, Euro-Asian Doc Cheng's and Cafe Condi One-third of the rooms have views of the Inner Alster lake, the rest overlook an internal, gravelled courtyard The Amrita Spa offers European and Asian treatments, including hot-stone massage Despite the fantastic views, only 14 bedrooms have balconies Eavesdrop on local gossip at the elegant Cafe Condi, a favourite with Hamburg ladies tempted by home-made chocolates Doubles from ‚265; suites from ‚ 400 An der Alster 52-56 (00 49 40 21000; Drehbahn 49 (00 49 40 309990; fax: 3099 Neuer Jungfernstieg 9-14 (00 49 40 fax: 2100 1111; www.lemeridien. Com) 9399; www.side-hamburg.

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De) 34940; fax: 3494 2601; www.raffles-hvj. De)

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