FRANKFURT: Hilton Frankfurt Airport

When I travel outside the U.S., I tend to gravitate to local hotels that embody the local character instead of staying in large multi-national chains, which can be somewhat predictable. However, on the recommendation of a business contact who had lived in Frankfurt, I decided to stay at the Hilton Frankfurt Airport and found it a delightful place to call home during my brief visit.

Approach to Hilton Frankfurt Airport

Built just two years ago, the Hilton Frankfurt Airport is of the modern design popular with Germans: lots of glass, sleek lines, and modern furniture and fixtures. It was constructed in a new mixed-use office, retail and conference complex built of steel and glass that was completed in 2011. Counter to its appearance and that of its surroundings, service at the hotel was distinctly old fashioned in a very positive way.

Check-in was quick and efficient. Even though I arrived about 10:00, well before the standard check-in time of 14:00 (2:00 p.m.), my room was ready so I was able to unpack and freshen up a bit before an 11:00 meeting.

The elevators to the guest floors are glass on all four sides, contributing to an open feel as they ascend within the five-story open lobby. Double glass doors that lead from the elevator lobbies to the guest room hallways are triggered by motion sensors and open automatically as the guest approaches. I felt like Maxwell Smart walking through the halls of Control on the old “Get Smart!” TV series. If you’re a Baby Boomer, you’ll get the reference. I’m not sure that’s an image they intended but I thought it provided a touch of whimsy and made me smile every time.

Corner suite living area

During two separate visits, I stayed in two King Executive Corner suites. Each included a separate living room, a full bath with a separate tub and shower as well as a second half-bath, a dressing area with more than ample closet space, modern fixtures with lots of chrome and glass, and contemporary furniture covered in leatherette and featuring low profiles.

Bathrobes and slippers were hanging in the closet and the suite was equipped with all the amenities we expect today, including flat-screen TVs (one in each room of the suite), iron and ironing board, hair dryer, and high end Peter Allen Roth amenities in the bath and half-bath. In an area off to the side, the room had both a Nespresso coffee maker and a hot pot with instant coffee and tea, and an increasingly rare mini-bar.

The rooms had workstations with power outlets in four configurations: two German, one United Kingdom, and one North American, making it unnecessary to dig out the adapter plugs as long as your appliances handle 220-240 volts; most power blocks for today’s laptop computers, tablets and cell phones handle from 100 to 240 volts A/C, but check yours before plugging it in, just to be sure. The rooms also had both wired and wireless Internet access. The modern, glass-topped desks provided a minor challenge because my optical mouse doesn’t work well on the glass tops. I solved the problem by taping a sheet of paper where my mouse pad would be.

Corner suite bedroom

According to the hotel’s web site, the suites were approximately 53 square meters, or about 570 square feet. While the suites were lovely and luxurious, standard guest rooms at the Hilton Frankfurt Airport average 30 square meters, or about 320 square feet, which is quite generous compared to the average European hotel.

As I’ve noted previously, service can make or break even the nicest property. The service at the Hilton Frankfurt Airport was top notch. For example, an issue with the air conditioning brought assistance within minutes, followed by a quick resolution of my problem.

While Germans are not as outgoing with strangers as Americans, team members at the hotel pressed past their cultural tendencies and were uniformly friendly and welcoming. Everyone I encountered welcomed me with a smile and either a “Good morning,” “Morgen,” “Hallo,” or “Guten tag.” Most everyone spoke excellent English but also helped me out when I attempted to use what German I do speak, whether ordering breakfast or dinner, or negotiating check-in and check-out at the front desk.

However, that also speaks to one of the advantages of staying at the Hilton Frankfurt Airport. Even if you don’t speak a word of German, everyone speaks English to one degree or another, so you’ll be able to easily get whatever you might need. And even if you do speak German, speaking another language that you don’t use every day requires concentration, so it’s nice to have a place to retreat at the end of a busy day, whether you've been meetings and conferences or sight-seeing, and be able to relax.

The hotel has an Executive Lounge on the 10th floor and access included with certain rooms and rates. The lounge provides free Internet terminals, space to meet with colleagues or clients, a buffet Früstuck (breakfast) in the morning and a manager’s reception with complimentary beer, wine, and spirits accompanying light hors d’oeuvres in the evenings.

Full bath with separate shower

Breakfast, lunch and dinner are also available in the RISE Restaurant on the hotel’s main floor. The FIFTH Lounge & Bar in the atrium offers snacks to sandwiches and salads for lunch, dinner, and into the evening. There is also a restaurant in the Hilton Garden Inn next door, restaurants ranging from full-service to take-away in adjacent mixed-use space called The Squaire, as well as several fast food and quick-serve restaurants in the lower levels beneath the airport.

Another of the advantages of the Hilton Frankfurt Airport is its location.

The hotel is in a new, mixed-use space called The Squaire, a combination of the words “square” and “air,” which is connected to both the airport and the train station beneath, so travelers can get off their planes, go through customs, get their bags, and even do some shopping as they walk to their hotel or their connecting train without ever having to go outside.

In addition, visitors can catch either the S-8 or S-9 S-Bahn train for a short train ride to the city's main Hauptbahnhof (Hbf or train station) in central Frankfurt for business or vacation activities. They can also climb aboard regional Inter-City Express (ICE) or other long-distance trains to more distant cities in the station below the hotel without having to go to the main Hbf.

While not located in the middle of town, the Frankfurt Airport Hilton is convenient to the city’s center, and its amenities and service make it an excellent choice indeed for those visiting Frankfurt.

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Photos by Carl Dombek
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