STAY in Hamburg:
Located between St. George and the Outer Alster, The George Hotel draws in guests with British charm and an elegant colonial style. Chesterfield chairs, a view of the English Garden, queen size beds - noble elegance everywhere you look. But there's more: a classic library, a Marrakesh-style spa, a private dining room, a roof terrace and the restaurant DaCaio, which serves delicious Italian cuisine. One night in a double room from Euro 300,-.
Even among the most stylish hotels in Hamburg the 5-star SIDE Hotel stands all alone. Actually it's located on Gänsemarkt. Designer Matteo Thun from Milan created the hotel and the rooms in a purist and surprisingly colourful fashion, and each of the pieces of furniture is a masterpiece in its own right. The 24-metre-high atrium, brought to life by lighting by Robert Wilson, is a highlight for fans of architecture. One night in a double room from Euro 500.
If you feel more at home in a cosy guesthouse than a luxury hotel, then check in at Pension von Blumfeld. Having wiped away the sleep from your eyes you can be forgiven for thinking that you're staying at an alpine cabin: chequered bed sheets, rustic wooden beds and a timbre corner bench in the breakfast room. The guesthouse is welcoming, clean and central - all in all a suitable base for a tour of Hamburg. Double room from EUR 60.
SHOPPING in Hamburg:
The name says it all. Stoffsüchtig (in Engl.: addicted to fabrics) displays selected fashion from 30 aspiring designers amidst the Hamburg harbour city on 320 square metres and 25 metres exhibition space in a newly erected industrial building. Names like Dawid Tomaszewski or Mila Miyahara may not be on everyone's lips yet but you have probably already heard of Kilian Kerner. But more important in this fashion store is to feel - as the fabrics are focused on here. And so is the wearing comfort. Customary euro-pallets provide for an extraordinary presentation of the designer pieces and leave no doubt about the stars in here. And if you get hungry you better check out the bistro in the basement. In the daytime they serve regional dishes (including vegetarian options), at night you can order finger food and cold tapas. The right wine will accompany the delicacies. Curtains and light modify the atmosphere of the little dining area with a chambre séparée and especially the bronze and brown shades turn out beautifully.
The finest gifts for Christenings and birthdays. Perfect for parents who want to give their little ones a sense of taste. Beautiful clothes, great care products, charming toys, high-quality furniture and countless gift ideas are available. Fashion conscious mums will no doubt find these baby presents delightful. Furnishing an entire baby room at Battesimo can be expensive, but that something special can certainly be found here.
If you are looking for just the right pen, Trixi Gronau has the answers. Even if you're not looking, you're still likely to leave with something. Pens and pencils, wrapping paper, timers, jewellery and candles - a colourful mix of items that is sure to surprise any customer expecting to find mere copier paper. The shop is a delight for those who like to poke around and pick out a little something for themselves or others. The fact that many of the items available are actually made by Trixi Gronau herself is an extra treat.
EAT in Hamburg:
Built on the grounds of the big wholesaler meat market, this restaurant seats no fewer than 180 diners. And every single one of the seats is necessary as three days a week Tim Mälzer - the popular and admired TV chef himself - can be found in the kitchen, preparing the finest food to spoil his guests, who of course remembered to reserve in advance. Dishes include quail breast, poussin, Burrata and Calamaretti. The old brick house exudes charm, the cuisine is wonderful and the ambience is upmarket without being pompous.
If you pay a visit, it's worth knowing that Alsterperle was once a toilet block. Yet the scent of yesteryear has long gone as Alsterperle is now a popular stop for day trippers, strollers and those just looking to chill out and relax. The view over the Alster is beautiful and the adjacent playground allows parents to sit in peace while the kids tire themselves out. On offer are plane fare and trendy drinks. Tip: if you can't find a place on the terrace when the weather is fine, you can spread out on the grass.
For over 25 years now Matsumi has been serving the best that Japanese cuisine has to offer. The restaurant was originally opened for Japanese guests, quickly becoming a success by standing out from the many homogenous Asian competitors. Needless to say sushi is on the menu, while the hotplate sunk into the table is always popular. You'll be surprised how tasty sake can really be: at Matsumi you can try out 10 to 15 rice wines. The unrivalled highlight, however, is the blowfish. The chef belongs to a small group of cooks in Europe who have a licence to prepare the delicacy.
SIGHTS in Hamburg:
The weekend is here, the night is young, what better place to start than Große Freiheit - the street that will take you on an adventure, where an endless sea of clubs and bars await revellers and tourists alike. But what awaits them in the early hours of the morning? Complete freedom. In the ?Kiez' there's absolutely everything: strip clubs, techno clubs, sausage stands, student pubs, sex shops, an operetta house, wax stars and real girls to suit every taste. Legendary status has been achieved by the table dancing bar Dollhouse and the Safari Club, which is now Hamburg's last remaining club with a live stage show. Note: the notorious Herbertstraße is only open to men. Respect this rule to avoid trouble.
Kunsthalle is home to a first-class collection, which covers no fewer than seven centuries. Here each of the big art families has its own room or house: the old masters are also represented, as are the authorities from the 19th century and the modern classics. The media collection, which includes audio and video works, deserves a special mention. Among others it features work by Günter Brus, Dennis Oppenheim, Valie Export and Gordon Matta-Clark. The Gallery of Contemporary Art - a four-storey, white cube - is dedicated to art from 1960 onwards boasting many interesting pieces.
Oh to be a grocer's widow... as these lucky women had the honour of living in the Krameramtsstuben at the foot of St. Michaelis Church. The timbre-frame houses, which were built in the 17th century, mimic doll's houses. Today the houses are home to a bookshop, a gallery, a museum and a restaurant. Amazingly the houses remained untouched by the great fire in the 19th century as well as the bombs dropped in the wars. If St. Michaelis Church is the heart of Hamburg, the Krameramtsstuben are the soul.