Architecture, art and laid-back lakeside luxury. The last one might be hard to pronounce in one go, but Hamburg’s modern luxury hotel, The Fontenay, is a must-visit for those enjoying the finer things in life. Today, these things are time, relaxation, gastronomy and excellent service. Without further ado, let me take you on a journey to one of the grandest hotels in Hamburg’s.
Named after the 19th century shipbroker, John Fontenay, the hotel’s appearance might be modern, but it also draws a clear line to historical references and events. The street next to the hotel, which nowadays is simply called ‘Fontenay’, is located on that exact spot where the same Mr. Fontenay acquired a large plot of land in 1816. And so, you might feel the breath of history when setting foot on the grounds of the hotel that has been named “Hamburg’s new luxury lakeside hotel”. With good reason, cause the beautiful Aussenalster is located just a few steps away from the hotel itself, and water is a constantly present element throughout the interior decor. As a native Dane, that’s something I truly cherish.
Before I dive into the inside of The Fontenay, let me take a few minutes to dwell on the outside. Cause no architectural work has caused as much stir in Germany’s second-largest city as the white, wavy curves of The Fontenay. Some locals might regard it as a thorn in the eye in a somewhat traditional environment, but you can’t get around the fact that the organic architecture is impressive. Build and owned by Klaus-Michael Kühne, the building represents an ultimate urban escape that evolves from three fusing circles. Fascinating from both ground level and from the air. Of course, the building is also an ode to its maritime surroundings and Hamburg’s intriguing past as a Hanseatic city.
Moving inside, you’re met by an open reception area and the Atrium Lounge, which has a height of 27 meters. The entire building, the 130 rooms included, is flooded with light, and you’ll find natural elements and references everywhere you look. There’s a Scandinavian simplicity about the atmosphere, which somehow ties Germany to the Nordic countries, and that is an interesting story in itself. Still, the interior appeals to both national and international travellers who value subtle luxury and timeless elegance. This is expressed through light wood, lavish colours, soft materials and floor-to-ceiling windows that furthermore amplifies the sense of space. In certain areas of the hotel, it feels like the inside and outside are merging into one.
You can opt for one of the guest rooms and suites while you’re there, but the Alster and Fontenay Suites will blow you away. Both of these categories come with large balconies, two separate rooms (or more) and views across the lake. Oh yes, and you’ll get between 180-200 m2 just to yourself. Talking about an urban playground!
My stay, however, took place in a wonderful suite, which is also a treat for the eye. There are 17 of them, and they all have parquet flooring, large balconies, walk-in closets and park- or lakeside views. A suite starts at €700 per night.
Should you wish to pamper yourself during your stay, I can only recommend what has become one of my favourite hotel spa’s of all time. Located on top of The Fontenay with an excellent view of Hamburg and the lake, you can chill inside or swim directly outside in the heated infinity pool. Although the hotel is quite big, the spa itself feels intimate and welcoming. Due to the current Covid-19 restrictions, the capacity of guests are limited and require a time slot. Treatments are still not available for the same reason.
Before I check out, I need to highlight the dining experience(s) here – and the breakfast, as you know that’s my favourite part of a hotel stay!
The Fontenay houses two restaurants, Parkview (casual dining on the ground floor) and Lakeside (gourmet on the top floor). While I haven’t had the chance to dine in last-mentioned yet, I can only say good things about Parkview, which is also suitable for families. On my latest visit there, I dined with my partner and our 2,5-year old son; many parents would know this can be a tricky age, but due to the pleasant, laidback surroundings and very helpful staff, the experience became memorable. Even for our son!
High tea, coffee and cake is served in the Atrium Lounge, which is the heart of the hotel. Here, books and magazines are also available, but if you prefer a somewhat calmer and more intimate atmosphere, visit the cosy library next door. I personally had some of my best “Fontenay moments” in there, as the room invites you to relax and immerse yourself in a book, work or whatever else you’d like to focus on. Lastly, you can enjoy a drink in the Fontenay Bar with a wonderful panoramic view of Hamburg and some pretty decent cocktails to go with it.
So, what about the breakfast? A great start to the day means so much! What better way to begin a new day than by indulging in delicious treats served with attention to detail? That’s (unsurprisingly) the case here. I’ve stayed at The Fontenay twice now, and every time, the breakfast was one of the highlights. Now, portions are being served due to Covid-19 restrictions, but that doesn’t make the experience less wonderful. A wide array of small treats (cold cuts, cheese, salmon, sweets and pastries, jams and honey, bread, fruit and yogurt) are served on a tray along with your choice of coffee, juice, eggs, waffles and pancakes. To be perfectly honest, it’s actually more of a brunch – best enjoyed with a newspaper and lake view.
Generally, The Fontenay is a great hotel for families as there’s a lot of space and some children’s toys in the room upon request. It’s easy to feel that the staff truly care about children, which – let’s be honest – isn’t always the case when you’re visiting a high hotel with your little one(s). Family life comes natural here. At the moment, a special Family Package is available, and I can almost guarantee that it’ll make the trip so much easier if you’re traveling with children.
Next time you find yourself in need of a getaway and some self-pampering, The Fontenay could be your ideal destination. Whether it’s for 24 hours of several days, the staff will make you feel truly welcome and at home. To learn more about the hotel, click here.