In this adventure find out how long it takes to get up in the air from City Airport and then lounge around in five-star luxury in Frankfurt. I mix the old with the new, well why not and take a triple gin challenge far too late into the night!
From standstill to being airborne took just 16 seconds of sheer power in my Embrea AR 190 down the 1500m runway at London’s City Airport. It was then 89 minutes before I was at Frankfurt, a further 12 before I was in the centre of the city where my hotel was located, a simple and short journey to the financial hub of Europe’s largest economy Frankfurt.
My visit was to check out the luxury five-star Jumeirah Frankfurt Hotel that has gained quite a reputation for attention to detail and quality food in their restaurant Max on One. The 25th floor suite I was in offered fantastic views of the city. The large space had added intrigue of an open bathroom with the option of a series of sliding dividers. Pretty cool to have that kind of view from your bathtub! The WC and shower you’ll be relieved to hear were behind closed doors.
This is the sort of place that opens your door and takes the luggage from the car without asking but providing big smiles. The staff were superb at making me feel at home. Nothing was too much trouble. After my travels I felt like a private meal so ordered from the extensive room service menu. This can be hit and miss in some hotels, cold food, not as described etc. Not here, my rack of lamb was superb (pink as it should be) served with roasted peppers. French cheeses were to follow all washed down with a bottle of Solabol Crianza 2014.
At 9pm the hotel offers something quite special. I was invited to visit 26th floor for the ‘sunset experience’. There are no rooms on this floor just all the plant machinery, but I was guided through corridors and up stairs to a vast room that has the biggest window I’ve ever seen looking out across the financial skyscrapers of the city (my room was facing the opposite direction). Before me was a mini New York. I watched the Manhattanesque vista twinkle into life as the sun descended. You can have a drink up there and lounge in comfortable leather sofas for as long as you like. If you get there early enough you might see some of the 4,000 bees returning after a hard day’s gathering to their rooftop hive. The honey they produce is served in the restaurant.
Ember is the plush dark as you like bar that has a womb like quality serving perfect cocktails amidst the soft amber lighting and big art on the walls by Hartwig Ebsersbach; it seemed the perfect place to pass away the rest of the evening. In the daytime it doubles as a cool lunch venue (more of that later) and if you have little ones in tow a neat little sweet/snack station is on hand.
A good night’s sleep was almost certain after my busy day but with the firm but comfortable large bed it was inevitable. The room had everything I needed, high speed Wi-Fi, air con I could understand and turn off if I wanted (but it was almost silent) and the tranquility that being 25 floors up brings one.
Breakfasts here are good, with eggs etc being cooked to order and any number of healthy options available. Fortified, I set out to explore Frankfurt. It is a city of contrasts. On the one hand you have the shiny new buildings of the banking world with glass and concrete towering above everything and then on the other a smaller, more urbane stylish Frankfurt nestling at the bottom. The two rub along together quite well and on the street you’ll hear 10 languages in as many minutes, in short it’s a cosmopolitan small city that knows its worth and is one of the most popular places to live in Germany. It was here that Apple opened their first German store not in Berlin the capital. There are 220 banks in business here many of them have their headquarters located in the city.
Along with the investment of the banks naturally follows homes, food and the cool people. Frankfurt has plenty of them and you’ll find them eating at places like Walon & Rosetti, a bar and grill that ‘screams attitude’. It’s impossible to get a table so you’d be better off going to Kleinmarkthalle, which is possibly the best food market I have ever visited. Stupendous arrays of high quality food abound here, you can taste before you buy, stop for a coffee or just chill. It’s brilliant and class free, the rich or even richer (we are in Germany after all) all shop here because they know it’s the best.
Among the hotel’s many attributes there was one I was particularly looking forward to. The spa was small but perfectly formed. Lucia who is Spanish gave me a honey-cream scrub (the honey came from the 4,000 non-paying guests on the roof), which proved to be an exercise in vigorous relaxation. Lucia is at the top of her art form, bliss was ensured before dinner.
The chef’s table sits high (as did I on a bar stool) so you can see the all the kitchen action. Except there wasn’t any ‘Gordon Ramseyesque’ shouting or tantrums, all I saw was a calm work environment with expert chefs going about their jobs. Tamar was the chef that night and she was great, each dish was faultless as were the staff. Restaurant manager Felix Riedel had something of the Christophe Waltz about him, charming, knowing and constantly smiling. A stand out dish for me came early on chicken in ravioli with a sublime pea sauce and the deconstructed Pavlova I had for dessert was incredible.
Later that evening I tried out the gin ‘tasting menu’ which involves three quality German gins with different Fever Tree tonics. Superb gins but not for the fainthearted especially after a splendid tasting menu!
My last day was as easy as when I arrived. The shine hadn’t worn off the staff, who were still friendly and helpful. My lunch at Ember, which looked and felt totally different in the daytime, was what they call 3 in 1. A simple fixed menu of small starter, modest main and light dessert. After my perfect lunch I felt perfectly set up for my journey home after what turned out to be a perfect stay in a perfect hotel.
It’s hard to top a Jumeirah hotel wherever it might be as they have a continuing personality, but I do think that the team in Frankfurt have gone the extra kilometer and made it an excellent place to stay if you’re in the money or not.
Jumeirah Frankfurt, Thurn-und-Taxis-Platz 2, 60313 Frankfurt am Main, Germany
Tel: +49 (0)69 297 237 0
The hotel is located in the centre of Frankfurt right by Galeria Kaufhof. Frankfurt Airport is a 20-30 minute drive, depending on the traffic, alternatively there are regular trains running from Frankfurt Airport to Frankfurt Main Station, which a short taxi ride away or you can hop on the S-Bahn on platforms 101 and 102, going to the city centre. Get off the train at Hauptwache, which is the second stop and exit at Große Eschenheimer Straße. The hotel entrance is just after Galeria Kaufhof on the right-hand side.
Type of Hotel: 5-Star Hotel
Number of Rooms: 218 rooms including 49 suites plus complimentary Wi-Fi and complimentary access to the neighbouring Fitness First Platinum Swim Club
Insider Tip: Try to venture up to the 26th floor one evening to watch the sun setting over Frankfurt with a cocktail in one hand and enjoy the moment.
Price Band: High
Reviewer’s Rating: 10/10
Neil Hennessy-Vass is Contributing Editor for Our Man On The Ground as well as a widely-published globetrotting food and travel writer and photographer.
Photographs by Neil Hennessy-Vass