When it comes to fashionable hotels Frankfurt may not be the first city to pop into your head.
As the home to the European Central Bank, and the financial centre of Germany, one might feel its hospitality scene may be better suited to a business traveller, someone who is looking for nothing more than a comfy bed and a good cup of coffee.
But Gekko House is certainly working to change all that. Having opened earlier this year, this new-kid-on-the-block has managed to maintain both a sense of luxury, and a youthful exuberance, and you can feel that as soon as you walk through the front door. Situated in the up-and-coming neighbourhood of Gallusviertel, when I entered Gekko House I left Kansas behind to find a colourful Oz in the heart of Frankfurt.
Designers Morgen Interiors wanted to create an urban destination where refined modern design meets plush French boudoir. Reclaimed school chairs and street art are combined with velvet curtains and mood lighting. The aim is to appeal to everyone: artists, couples, families, party-goers and, yes, even business travellers, creating an egalitarian, exciting, engaging atmosphere.
It is the latest offering from hoteliers Micky Rosen and Alex Ursenau, who hold one of Germany’s foremost portfolios of boutique hotels, and with the motto “Life is Crazy”, they are keen to create properties with personality. This is a remit that Gekko House certainly fulfils.
Its 128 guest rooms are split into Superior double room, Premium King room, Premium Twin room, Select Balcony room or a Junior Suite. They each marry exposed concrete walls with parquet flooring, luxe furnishings and hand blown statement glass lighting features. It is a clean aesthetic, with soft greys and olive greens that feel right up-to-date. There is little art on the walls, but heavy velvet curtains and carefully curated lighting schemes give the rooms warmth. Suites have stylised freestanding baths that almost resemble a tin can, but offer a chance to bathe in front of a fantastic vista.
In fact, in every room floor to ceiling windows take advantage of the views this eight-floor purpose-built building is privy to. I gazed across the neighbourhood towards Frankfurt’s most sparkling of skyscrapers, a skyline so iconic it has earned the city the nickname ‘the Manhattan of Germany’.
The rooms also use the latest in hospitality technology through SuitePads, a tablet designed for travellers on the go. There is no telephone, you simply call the front desk through the pad, and it features everything one might want to know, from great local restaurants and bars, to city guides. Guests are also treated to Marshall Music Boxes, Nespresso coffee machines, and toiletries by eco-brand Grown Alchemist.
THE FOOD & DRINK
The heart and soul of Gekko House is located on the ground floor in its BBQ restaurant. Chicago Williams is a Berlin-born concept and promises “serious barbecuing since 2012”. The brand was created by a friend and former employee of the Gekko Group, Nawid Samawat, and the restaurant serves breakfast, lunch and dinner.
A spacious lounge bar leads to the restaurant with an open kitchen serving up German beer and meat specialties like baby back ribs, beef brisket and macaroni & cheese. Again, the designers have injected a bit of fun into an upscale setting. The room features rich red tones and copper detailing, but the bare oak tables have kitchen roll holders, rather than napkins, and classic ketchup bottles. It feels like a blend between 50s diner, industrial warehouse and school cafeteria, but manages to stay cosy as well as cool.
The breakfast was served buffet style, and features a range of foods from waffles, to bircher muesli, to smoked salmon. Freshly made items, including omelette and bacon, can be ordered from the kitchen, and there was even a bowl of bounties and snickers bars for the child inside.
The people at Gekko House want to build something more than a base for fleeting travellers, they wanted to create a hub that local people would be attracted to as well. This is certainly what they have achieved with Chicago Beach Rooftop.
This eighth floor bar launched when the city reopened after lockdown this Summer, and in just a few short months it has already become an attraction for Frankfurt’s most stylish residents. They have designed “an urban city garden”, with views over that famous skyline. Design features include comfortable day beds, bean-bags and deck chairs, while the menu features local beers, belvedere vodka, and specially crafted cocktails, as well as elevated street food. They even do rooftop yoga in the summer.
As is the way in the modern world, we must think about staying safe when travelling. Gekko House, and the entire Gekko Group, have committed to increased cleaning schedules, staff wearing masks, and the removal of shared items such as magazines, pens or menus.
They have also implemented social distancing and contactless check-in and check-out. Hand sanitiser is available, as are thermometers and first-aid kits. Overall, I felt very safe at Gekko House, and the staff had a good knowledge of what was required of them, and were happy to help with anything I needed.