Last week had me stay a night in Hamburg. I love Hamburg, always have. The people here are a completely different mentality to the ones around my home area. But despite their rather rough and direct exterior, I do get on well with them. And as for Hamburg? It is just a beautiful city with a very relaxed atmosphere. In recent years I have only occasionally visited for work though. But whenever I do have a night in Hamburgon my work agenda, I am really looking forward to it. As these always turn out to be rather special. From visits to the Hamburg Christmas market, to a spontaneous concert at the (then newly opened) Elbphilharmonie.
My trip actually started with an early morning flight to Cologne, followed by a long car journey to my meeting. And ultimately a train journey from Göttingen to Hamburg. So not quite as straight forward as I would have liked.
As I arrived in Hamburg, I quickly checked into my hotel and was ready to go and meet my friends. They moved to Hamburg a couple of months ago, so it was a good opportunity for me to finally meet up with them again.
A night in Hamburg: Where did I stay?
To have a hotel that was fairly central and within easy reach of both the main train station (where I arrived) and the airport (where I departed the next morning), I opted for the Hotel Hafen Hamburg*. Which is located right opposite Hamburg Harbour (as the name suggests, Hafen means Harbour in German).
(*just to be clear, this is not a sponsored post. I did not receive any incentive to write about this hotel)
I had stayed in Hotel Hafen Hamburg a couple of years ago on a weekend with friends. I fondly remembered it as a rather grand hotel, so was really looking forward to staying there again.
And whilst I very much enjoyed the stay, I must say that clearly expectations have changed over the years. Don’t get me wrong, the hotel is still a really nice hotel and I’d happily stay there again. But it didn’t feel quite as luxurious any more as it did all those years ago. I am afraid that is what 6+ years of business travel does to you. Nowadays I look at hotels differently. It is more about convenience, suitable work desks and quick internet than about design or grandeur. And since there was a proper heatwave that week, I would have killed for an A/C unit in my room. As for the breakfast I so fondly remembered from my previous stay? I didn’t have it this time. As it wasn’t included in my booking and I knew I would only have a quick breakfast before dashing off, I couldn’t quite justify paying 20 Euros for the full hotel breakfast. But if you were to visit for a weekend, rather than just a single night in Hamburg, I would very much recommend it (at least if it is still as good as it was all those years ago).
The evening started with dinner and drinks at Strandpauli. A beach bar / restaurant down by the water. With it being a very hot day, the place was packed. Meaning we only managed to find a table inside. But at almost 40 degrees, indoors in the shade was probably the most sensible option anyway.
After dinner we went for a little walk and for the first time ever, I went down to the Old Elbtunnel. I had heard of the Elbtunnel before and had seen photos. But I had never actually been down there. And I wasn’t aware that it was located right opposite my hotel.
So down we went to explore it a little. If you haven’t been, I would recommend you go and check it out. But to be absolutely honest, we went down, had a look around, took some photos and went back up again. We didn’t actually walk to the other end.
After that, we continued our walk towards the Elbphilharmonie but didn’t actually go all the way.
As the main focus that evening was a catch up with my friends, rather than a full sightseeing tour of Hamburg, we decided to call it a day and go for drinks instead. And since it was almost time for sunset, we opted for the Tower Bar in the Hafen Hamburg. What shall I say? You do get a very nice view over the harbour from there (but if your friend is really scared of heights, sitting right by the window might not be the best option ever).
A Night in Hamburg: the next morning
As I had a little time the next morning (I wasn’t being picked up before 9), I decided to get up early and go for a run.
Extra early, so it wouldn’t be too hot. And so that I could enjoy Hamburg before all the tourists arrive.
A short run along the harbour towards the Elbphilharmonie, then through the Speicherstadt (the old dock buildings) and gradually back towards the hotel.
Not the biggest tour ever. But a very picturesque route, especially with the morning light and the almost empty streets.
As you might have noticed, this is only a very brief glimpse of what Hamburg has to offer. And even if you were to only spend one night in Hamburg, you could probably see a lot more. But as this wasn’t a Hamburg sightseeing trip, I didn’t have the ambition to see it all. But I am happy to come back and explore more another time. Maybe even bring Mr T and make a weekend of it again.
Have you been to Hamburg? Did you like it?