“ Address: Stresemannstrasse 363-369 / D-22761 / Hamburg / Germany / Tel: +49 40 4210600 „
In March 2010 I was asked to attend a trade show in Hamburg and the hotel which our company had block-booked was the NH Hamburg Altona. I'm not sure why they chose this one as it was nowhere near the Conference Centre (messe) and the price wasn't particularly low but any German city during a big trade show is always expensive and pretty much full.
I'm a big fan of the Spanish hotel chains (of which NH is a good example) and the level of hospitality they give in Spain, so I was interested to see if they do as well in Germany - a place I think of as the land of 'hospitality-light' (which is my polite term for minimalist service). It was also a nice bonus that I'd been enrolled in the NH loyalty scheme when they took over another Spanish chain that I use often so my stay would earn me some 'points' and as we all know, points mean prizes (or something like that).
~Remind me not to eat next time~
When I arrived I was surprised to see that the hotel is situated right opposite one of my favourite Hamburg restaurants, a place called Gracelands which serves absolutely fabulous food. I'd never been too sure where Gracelands was so now I can happily say I don't really know where Gracelands OR the hotel was really situated although they are somewhere out in the western part of the city.
Location wise, you would probably not choose this hotel if you wanted to be there as a tourist since it's a bit out of the way but most likely it's cheaper than the NH Hamburg Central so if you're confident on the S-Bahn and the buses then it's worth considering.
Unfortunately it was unfashionably late for eating in Germany and I'd had a sandwich on the plane so I wasn't able to take advantage of this pleasant coincidence and had to just rely on memories of the great food.
~First Impressions (well Second considering the first was 'Wow! Gracelands!')~
From the outside, the hotel is nothing exceptional or particularly memorable. It's a mid-sized modern block with little to make it stand out and a low kerbside impact. Stepping inside the reception area was neat and tidy and the typically efficient staff soon had me checked in and sent off to my room. In addition to the reception desk, there's a large seating area, the entrance to the restaurant and access to a suite of meeting rooms.
I headed up to my room and was quite pleased with what I found. I am a great believer that the Spanish hotel chains try harder and give you more than most other national chains and the NH was a good example of this. Bog-standard German hotel rooms are so familiar to me by now that I can picture them with my eyes closed: a bed that much too soft, white cotton duvet cover, duvet folded annoyingly in half across the bed, too few pillows and each much too soft and a bathroom with almost no toiletries. This was much better. For starters, I got a double bed. I hate single beds and can't see why I should have to sleep in them in a hotel when I wouldn't do so at home. And it wasn't just white! The bed had a bright, jolly striped bedspread in shades of orange. And it wasn't softer than a pillow either. And talking of pillows, there were enough. Hoorah.
There was a very funky leather laid-back chair and matching footstool which looked very stylish but was totally impractical. It was the kind of chair you want to fall asleep in and despite having a spot light shining over your shoulder, the position was totally wrong for reading a book or magazine and I twice banged my head on the light. I suppose I could have sat back and watched the world through the window but suburban streets in the rain don't really inspire. There was a small corner desk unit which was well equipped with lots of plugs and a TV stand/mini-bar that held a rather old fashioned fat TV.
The bathroom had a bath with a shower over it which was nice as I often long for a proper bath after a journey and seldom get one in Germany. I was also pleased to see there were plenty of towels. So all my usual German gripes were addressed - the bed was good, they didn't expect me to dry myself and my hair on one small hand-towel and there were lots of sockets. What more could a girl ask for?
~ Business Facilities ~
Next morning my colleague had booked a meeting room and I arranged to meet a visitor in reception. When my colleague phoned to say he was delayed, I invited the visitor to join me for breakfast in the restaurant. The selection and service were both very good. The meeting room we'd been assigned proved to be a bit of a problem as it had been booked in the name of our travel agent rather than in my colleague's name or the company name. I asked twice at reception but they were pretty clueless and it was only after we called one of the secretaries at work that we got to the bottom of the confusion.
Once we worked out what was going on, we were pleased to find a large room, well equipped with a lot of things that hotels normally charge extra for including plenty of stationery supplies, flip pads, metaplan boards and coffee, tea and soft drinks. There was a good sized coat cupboard and the room temperature was comfortable and they didn't seem to be in a hurry to get us out when we ran over the booked time.
Overall, I was very impressed by the hotel and would recommend it if it's in the right area for you especially if you need a meeting room. More generally I'd recommend considering the NH chain wherever you come across them.
NH Hamburg Altona
D-22761 Hamburg (Germany)