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A Winter Weekend in Hamburg Part 1: Henri Hotel

Stepping into Hotel Henri is like stepping into a world made purely for you. The rush of warm air as you come in from of the icy streets of Hamburg is like coming home.

And ‘home’ really is the Henri feeling through and through. Why mention this? Because so many hotels try to capture that feeling of home, of comfort, of cosiness, and very few succeed. Even fewer manage to marry this feeling of homeliness with a sense of luxury and class. And Henri has achieved both.

The hotel is situated inside a clinker-brick building that was once a tea merchant’s house. Step into the main reception to find an open plan living area that will make you want to snuggle up into one of the snug armchairs and simply read a book all day. The colours of the decor are deep and inviting, chairs filled with oversized cushions, and the atmosphere is one of pure, quiet, civilised calm and relaxation, that will may make you never want to leave. The concept for the communal area is based on European youth hostels. They wanted to capture the laid-back, sociable vibe of travelling but with a luxurious twist, and they’ve hit the mark spot on, all created with the help of Munich designer Marc-Ludolf von Schmarsow. The ‘buffet-style’ breakfast area with work surfaces filled with help-yourself goodies every morning and cheeky afternoon treats as the day goes on helps to promote this communal feeling. And the range of intertwining work spaces and comfy sociable tables completes this vision, the starting point of course being the atmosphere of the staff.

The rooms are just as homely. The theme here is all about city chic, with inspiration from popular cities around the world worked into every ounce of the decor, from the Paris and London wallpaper to the hotel guide on the stylish writing table. More of a suite than simply a bedroom, my room included a dressing area adjacent to the main bedroom, to allow guests to separate their different times of day. The deep colouring of the downstairs decor continues into the bedrooms, the open-plan granite shower being a particular highlight, which gave my room a well-worked, industrial undertone. Everything in the room screamed modernity and class. Although the view wasn’t too spectacular (of a building across the street), what can you expect when you’re located right in the city centre of bustling Hamburg? From the glittering porch of the hotel you can practically touch the main shopping street and all of the wonderful Christmas lights which it sports in winter time, and if you’re out and about seeing the city, you won’t even look out your window until nightfall. Location, location, I say. There are 65 rooms range from M-Studios to L-Studios and Loft Suites. All rooms come with queen or king-size beds, coffee and tea-facilities and a fridge. The suites and lofts have an extra living room and — in some cases — bathtubs, kitchenettes and balconies, in very much Apartment Hotel style.

Other facilities in the hotel include a sauna, spa (costing (€7/£5.50 per person) and a well-equipped gym. Although I was too busy playing tourist seeing Hamburg at Christmas, hosted by Hamburg Tourism, they were well-presented, small in size but worth the views across Hamburg from the associated roof terrace.

In fact, the staff were helpful in all ways imaginable, providing expert city knowledge and tips and even letting me check in early after a painful morning flight, which is always a deal maker-or-breaker for hotels. And everything was done with a smile and a genuine sense of them wanting to help. So yes, you could say that a luxury youth hostel is the perfect way to describe Hotel Henri: a sociable, relaxing, classy establishment that, from the decor to the atmosphere to the wonderful staff inside, does feel quite simply like a second home.

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