Hotel Reviews: Crowne Plaza Hamburg – City Alster and Park Hyatt Hamburg

This is the third in a series covering my extended Labor Day weekend trip to Hamburg. You can check out an overview here.

I stayed in three different hotels in my four nights in Hamburg, for some strategic reasons.  In this post, I’ll cover the first two, the Crowne Plaza Hamburg- City Alster and the Park Hyatt Hamburg.  Both were perfectly fine, though I’m not sure I’d stay at the Crowne Plaza again.

Crowne Plaza Hamburg – City Alster

Crowne Plaza Hamburg – City Alster

The primary reason I stayed at the Crowne Plaza for my first night was the IHG Accelerate promo.  If I had done it correctly, I would’ve gotten 33,000 bonus points for the one night, 135 EUR stay.  Specifically, I had the following bonuses assigned to my account:

2,000 Stay Once, Get 2,000 bonus points
700 Eat, Drink and Earn – Spend $39 on food or beverages at IHG hotels and earn 700 bonus points.
1,500 Spend on your IHG® Rewards Club Credit Card – Book and pay for one stay with your IHG® Rewards Club Credit Card and earn bonus points.
25,800 Your Achievement Bonus – Complete 3 of the 4 offers and earn (an additional) 25,800 bonus points.
3,000 September Bonus Offer – Stay once in September and get 3,000 bonus points.

So all I had to do was spend $39 on food, not bad. Pretty good, as I just booked the new Crowne Plaza HY36 in New York for my 10-year law school reunion next summer for 30000 points.

The Crowne Plaza itself had decent reviews, though it is a bit outside of the center city, in the Hohenfelde district. It was about a twenty-minute walk through a residential neighborhood from the S-bahn from the airport; you could save some walking time by switching from the S-bahn to the U-bahn, but it’s still about a 10-minute walk to the Uhlandstrasse U-bahn stop. It was a nice day and I didn’t have a ton of luggage, so it was fine.  There is frequent bus service from right outside the hotel that goes into the center city, taking only about 15 minutes.  The closest dining and nightlife is in St. Georg, which is about a 10-minute walk.  Totally coincidentally, that is where most of the gay nightlife is, which worked for me. It’s also kind of the hip/bohemian quarter, so that’s good.

Entrance to Crowne Plaza Hamburg

From the outside, the Crowne Plaza looked more like an apartment building than a hotel, and was fairly nondescript.  Crowne Plaza’s lack of a brand identity shown through on this stay.  The hotel wasn’t really any more upscale than some of the nicer Holiday Inns I’ve stayed at, like the one in Bilbao or in Johannesburg-Rosebank. But it was definitely not Intercontinental level. There were a lot of tour groups at the hotel, and a fairly older crowd.  The lobby had a bit of a hip design, but otherwise it was a bit dated.

Lobby, Crowne Plaza Hamburg – City Alster

Although I arrived around 12:30pm, my room was already ready.  At check-in, I was told I’d been upgraded to a “Club room,” though I have no idea what that actually meant other than being on a high floor. The room was fairly small, and had no view from the small window. Access to the Club (lounge) wasn’t referenced, and since it was on a different floor, I didn’t bother to check—especially since the front desk had explicitly told me breakfast was not included.  I saw online that if you book a Club room, you supposedly have free minibar access, but since it wasn’t mentioned to me, I assumed I didn’t.

Club Room, Crowne Plaza Hamburg – City Alster

Other than room size, the room wasn’t that remarkable.  Everything was clean and tidy, and not too out of date.  There was a desk and small sitting area with a small table, and two twin beds pushed together.  The bathroom was white and gleaming which didn’t really go with the color scheme of the rest of the room, but, meh.  There was an electric kettle and some instant coffee/tea, as well as a bathroom and slippers on the bed – plus the Crowne Plaza signature “sleep pack” of aromatherapy mist.

Bathroom, Crowne Plaza Hamburg – City Alster

There was a small fitness room on the ground floor, which didn’t have a ton of equipment but did the trick for the short stay.

Fitness center – Crowne Plaza Hamburg

For dinner, because of my Accelerate promo, I stayed on property, and went to the King George Bar and Restaurant. In and of itself, not a reason to eat at the hotel–it was a bit overpriced, but not exorbitant. I could have been more frugal and got a burger, but got schnitzel and potatoes, for 24 EUR, and then two glasses of wine, easily hitting my $39 mark — or so I thought.  I hadn’t realized that they would back out the VAT from the spend, so even though the items I ordered on the menu came to 36 EUR—42 USD— I only got credit for spending 34 USD.  Grrrrr. So I have a little trip coming up in December where I’ll spend a little more in Mexico City. The food and service were fine though.

King George Bar and Restaurant

Mmm… schnitzel

Overall, fine hotel. But there are a lot of hotels in Hamburg, particularly several that are great deals on points, and the Crowne Plaza was not that cheap for what it was.

Park Hyatt Hamburg

For some reason, Germany provides excellent value for Hyatt Visa annual cardholder certificates.  They’re only good at category 1 through 4 properties, which can be very limiting in desirable locations. I’ve twice before used the certificates at the excellent Grand Hyatt Berlin, and I was pleased to see the Park Hyatt Hamburg was only a category 4 property as well.  It was a lovely property, living up to the Park Hyatt brand standard, though I’m not sure if the location was for me as it lacked character.

Park Hyatt Hamburg, main entrance

The Park Hyatt is right in the heart of the shopping district of the center city in a building called the Levantehaus, an old building now converted into an expensive shopping mall.  The main entrance is on a small street in the back, but you can also enter through the mall from Mönckebergstrasse, the city’s main shopping street, which the hotel overlooks.

Park Hyatt Hamburg from Monckebergstrasse

Levantehaus entrancce

The hotel has the annoying feature of requiring you to ride up special elevators to the 2nd floor, where reception is, before a separate set of elevators taking you up to the rooms on floors three through eight.  The agent at check-in was very pleasant, though not very accurate, as she said my rate was breakfast inclusive and it most certainly was not.  She also told me my room would be facing over Monckebergstrasse.  It was not.

Reception, Park Hyatt Hamburg

The elevators to rooms are pretty wrought-iron, and look out onto one of the hotels inner courtyards. My room was on the sixth floor, and was quite spacious.  It was pretty much exactly what I expect from a Park Hyatt based on my previous visits to other properties.  There was a small entry way past the bathroom and huge closet, before entering the main room.  Once there, there was a king-sized bed, a chair and ottoman in one corner, and a desk looking out onto the atrium. In terms of in-room amenities, there were two bottles of water and a Nespresso machine.

Guest room, Park Hyatt Hamburg

The bathroom was palatial, with a glass enclosure featuring both a shower and a soaking tub.  There was a separate WC as well, along with double sinks and lovely toiletries.

Bathroom, Park Hyatt Hamburg

The gym was part of a spa complex, and was fairly well-sized, with a good range of equipment.

Gym, Park Hyatt Hamburg

No real complaints, but you really realize how commercial the area where the Park Hyatt is on a Sunday when everything is completely shut down.  It’s a lot more central than the Crowne Plaza though, and it was walkable to a large part of the city. Buses also run down Monckebergstrasse and there’s a U-bahn stop right there, and it’s also very convenient to the main train station.

Interior hallways, Park Hyatt Hamburg

Next up, my two nights at the Fairmont Vier Jahreszeiten, which was literally the nicest hotel room I’ve ever had. And was free.

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