I visited Hamburg in Germany recently for a conference and my choice of hotel was the one and only Hotel Atlantic Kempinski. The city’s ‘grand dame’, who has recently been the subject of a very tasteful refurbishment – and yes, it is the James Bond hotel.
– Was there any pre-arrival communication by the hotel with myself via email or social media?
Yes indeed. My stay had been planned months in advance, and we were quite well acquainted by the time I arrived at the hotel. Worth noting that the hotel is quite active on social media, which makes for a refreshing change, and uses it to interact with guests.
– Did I try to engage the hotel via Twitter? Did the hotel interact with me and made me feel welcome/special?
I did and we actually had quite a bit of fun.
– Has the hotel tried to gather any personal information (e.g. preferences) prior to my stay?
Not particularly, but then again I did not have any particular requests.
To be brutally honest, my hotel experience started at the airport. I had pre-booked a private transfer to the hotel and as I got out of the airport, I looked for a sign with my name. What I wasn’t quite expecting was to see David, one of the hotel’s star concierges waiting for me in full uniform and a great smile.
He was also very chatty and even offered to drive me around the city for a mini tour before we got to the hotel. I wasn’t in a rush, it was Sunday, there was no traffic and it was incredibly useful as I got more or less my bearings and helped with my orientation over the next couple of days.
– The wow factor! What was the hotel decor style?
We arrived at the hotel and I have to say I was quite surprised – it looked exactly as I thought it would from the outside, but I found the lobby area different to what I expected. The hotel has been recently refurbished and I was told by David that all the common areas were designed so they looked exactly the same way they did beforehand. So there was a lot of restoration rather than refurbishment.
– How quick and efficient was the hotel check-in?
In true German fashion, what could one expect? It was quick and very friendly.
– Was I addressed by name once reservation has been located? (it is all about the small details, some others are outstanding with this, and I love it, like I do when I board an airplane)
I was indeed.
– Did I get an upgrade from my confirmed pre-booked room type?
I wasn’t sure which room type I had been assigned, and was delighted with my junior suite with views of the lake.
– Did I feel genuinely welcomed by the hotel staff?
I did, and this continued throughout my stay – everyone I came across was incredibly friendly and helpful, and I must say, very good-looking (I do like these HR policies).
– Luggage – how many people did I have to tip before the luggage made it safely to my room? This is cultural, I know
I had a small carry on, which was taken from the car to my room quickly.
– Wi-fi – was I told anything about it? Was there a charge?
Wifi is complimentary and worked well during my stay.
– First impressions – décor, size and wow factor
My room, a junior suite, was very spacious and beautifully decorated. Each floor has an accent colour, and mine was purple.
– Welcome amenity
I had a fruit basket waiting for me, as well as 2 bottles of water.
– The bed
I would have preferred a king bed (namely as I was travelling without Mr. O and would get the bed all to myself, which doesn’t happen often!), but I had two twin beds which were comfortable, albeit on the hard side, but with excellent pillows.
– Closet/Wardrobe – proper hangers or those annoying ones where you need a PhD to get them out one by one? This is a personal pet peeve of mine. I can’t stand them.
No problems there. I needed some extra hangers which were promptly sent by housekeeping.
– Iphone Charger/Dock
I didn’t find one, but in all honesty, I didn’t need it.
– Bathrobes and slippers
They were lovely in true Kempinski style (you may want to read my review of a previous stay in St. Moritz), and for once, I actually used them!
– Coffee and Tea
The room had a Nespresso machine and equipped for all coffee and tea needs, but as always, I did not use.
– Free bottled water
Yes, on arrival and replenished daily on turn-down.
– Magazine selection – had some nice surprises and doesn’t happen often enough!
Nothing really worth mentioning, but it did have a very good shopping guide, which was quite handy as I was keen to help the local economy the following day before my conference started.
– Power sockets in useful places – we have more and more devices and we know where we want them! By the bed, by the working area.
Yes yes and yes. All very well positioned and I used them all!
– First impressions – décor, size and wow factor
The bathroom was excellent – and very spacious. It also had underfloor heating, which I love.
– Bath, shower and taps – I am looking for Duravits and Hansgrohes (or other fab brands) around the world. How fab was the shower? And a little pet peeve.. was I able to operate the shower without asking Mr. O for help?
I had a separate bath and shower (and only used the latter), and have to say, it was very powerful and I was able to operate it without any assistance.
– Towels – yes, please! How many and how soft and lovely?
Very good and plenty!
– Toiletries – own brand, super brand, baby ones or proper ones? I shall find out!
I had Molton Brown toiletries – loved the shower gel, but did not use the shampoo/conditioner as I brought my own.
– Amenity kit – I don’t want more sewing kits thank you very much, but I will need a shower cap.
Kempinski hotels always have great bathroom amenities and The Atlantic was no exception.
– Hairdryer – is it a human one, or just something stuck to a wall that only makes noise?
There was one, which looked ‘proper’, but I did not use as I had a blow dry the following day.
I have to say, the breakfast was excellent. Excellent, excellent! And I have to be honest – I had some made to order eggs and bacon on the first day, but when I spotted the Portuguese bread rolls after I had the eggs, those were the only things I had for the rest of my 4-day stay. I wasn’t expecting to find a Portuguese community in Hamburg, and see so many familiar things, and this was a lovely surprise. I had room service breakfast one day as well, and it was just perfect.
As it was sunny, I actually did not use the bar per se so much, but I did use its courtyard, which was beautiful and a perfect place to enjoy a Gin & Tonic. I spotted a display of a local gin, called Gin Sul, which was made in Hamburg but with Portuguese botanicals – which was a lovely surprise. I was also able to get my gin served in a wine glass (in the absence of a Portuguese style gin glass), which made me super happy.
– How good and reliable was the wi-fi?
The wifi worked well, but I had to connect a few times (it logged off if inactive). It was free of charge and very fast, I must say.
– Did the hotel interact with me via Twitter during my stay?
Indeed, and we had quite a bit of fun.
The hotel is right on Lake Alster and has truly beautiful views of the city. It is 10 minutes away by foot to the shopping area easy to reach.
– Cost – rooms starting from…
Rooms start from EUR 199 and a Junior Suite with Lake View starts from EUR 469.
– Airport transfers
I travelled to and from the airport using the hotel’s private transfer service (EUR 145 each way) and was driven by David on arrival and Joahnnes on departure and I have to say, both journeys were excellent and a great addition to the hotel experience. Why? Because both are actually employed by the hotel (and part of its super starred concierge team). I really enjoyed the conversation I had with each one, and got some ideas to go to some places which would have been difficult to capture in another way. I also had a very interesting conversation with Joahnnes on the way back to the airport about ‘how useful a concierge is’ at a luxury hotel nowadays – and his response ‘we have to be better than the internet’ really made me think about it. And by talking to both, it inspired me to dedicate some more time to this topic (and I will certainly be asking for their thoughts on an upcoming article).
– Would I recommend it to my best friend?
Absolutely. I felt very much at home at the hotel – very comfortable and very safe. I was travelling on my own and attending a conference, which required coming back to the room during the day to change etc, and arriving back late after the various functions and there was something quite homely about it. The staff were excellent and it never felt awkward to be on my own, which sometimes happens.
– Would I stay again?
Without a doubt. I was very impressed with Hamburg (and did not have enough spare time). Mr. O has also visited a few times on business and we both agreed we would come back for a weekend, as there is something about this city.
Have you visited this hotel? What were your thoughts?
Disclaimer: I was a guest of the Hotel Atlantic Kempinski during this stay, but hopefully you will see that this has not influenced my thoughts about the property.