Thurn-und-Taxis Platz 2, 60313 Frankfurt am Main, Germany; 49-69-297-2370; jumeirah.com; 218 rooms from $320. No eco-rating.
Teutonic efficiency and elegance combine with Arabian hospitality at the five-star Jumeirah Frankfurt. Opened last fall, it is the Dubai-based Jumeirah Group's first foray into continental Europe. And the luxury hoteliers, who are responsible for Dubai's seven-star Burj Al Arab, do not disappoint.
The Jumeirah Frankfurt offers impeccable service, comfortable amenities and advanced technology, all set in understated luxury. But perhaps the most impressive feature is the location. Strategically situated in the heart of Frankfurt, the hotel is an excellent base for exploring – on foot. The hotel connects directly to the MyZeil shopping mall and St. Bartholomeus Cathedral and Römerberg, the historical old town centre, are nearby.
The 25-storey building looks like a modern sculpture, contrasting with the ruler-straight towers around it and 15th-century Eschenheimer Tower just down the street. In the lobby, black and white shiny surfaces give the hotel entrance a contemporary, minimalist feel, which is enhanced by a large abstract artwork. But look up and there's a hint of Jumeirah's trademark decadence – a spiral of hanging crystals runs the length of the ceiling. Next to the reception is the comfortable, cozy lobby bar and a chocolaterie, which offers excellent French patisseries.
Floor-to-ceiling windows in my room looked out to one of the best skyscraper skylines in Europe, especially captivating at sunset. But even before the sun goes down I feel soothed by the restful colours of walnut, honey and nutmeg, and plugged in with free Wi-Fi, a 42-inch flat-screen plasma TV, Bose surround-sound system, a Nespresso coffee machine and iPod docking station. The TV swivels so you can watch it from the bed or the sitting area. Or I could just linger over the large original painting by Hartwig Ebersbach, an important European contemporary painter; there's one in every room.
An innovative, energy-efficient air tempering system uses heating and cooling pipes in the ceiling: no noisy fans or drafts here. Body-heat detectors and motion sensors determine when I'm in the room and adjust the air-conditioning accordingly. Heating, cooling and even the lights are programmable.
The bathrooms offer a large tub and a separate rain shower.
The service starts with genuinely warm greetings from the bellhop and concierge staff. English is spoken fluently, albeit with a pleasant German accent. If anything is remiss or additional service is needed, it is attended to with amazing German efficiency and Arabian courtesy. For example, when we arrived for lunch, the ladies felt a bit cool. Within minutes, the waiter returned with an armful of Pashmina shawls. The cloth was warm and luxurious, and they were able to colour co-ordinate the wraps with their own ensembles.
Max on One is the showcase restaurant and it deserves its reputation as one of the finest in Frankfurt. Executive chef Martin Steiner, formerly of Savoy Hotel, London, serves German cuisine with Austrian overtones. The décor, by Japanese designer, Takashi Sugimoto, is warm and inviting with an open kitchen. Honey at the breakfast buffet comes from four hives on the roof, and other special touches include a gleaming golden dalla (coffee pot) with Arabic coffee. The menu also offers a choice of 21 different waters from around the world. The hotel has two other locales for enjoying food and drink: the le Petit Bistro on the ground floor and the Ember Lounge and Bar, off the lobby.
Talise Spa offers two saunas, seven treatment rooms and elegant rest areas to rejuvenate after a long transatlantic flight. A variety of body and facial treatments are offered, many using Sodashi energizing massage oils. Guests also have full privileges at the Platinum Fitness Club in the adjacent MyZeil mall, but with a direct entrance from the hotel.
The Jumeirah Frankfurt places travellers within easy walking distance of historic attractions, entertainment, shopping and the business centre. But it's not easy to leave the hotel with its spacious rooms and sweeping views. The Jumeirah Group has created a very comfortable conundrum.