Hamburg is Germany’s ‘gateway to the world’. A bold claim, but hotel developers are certainly buying into it. The hotel market in Hamburg is currently undergoing a boom, with new hotels and operators clustering in the city as its popularity as a tourist and business destination grows. Hamburg now hosts upwards of nine million overnight stays each year.
New hotel developments are congregating around the inner city Neustadt district and the HafenCity harbourside area where the spectacular new Elbphilharmonie Hamburg concert hall opened last year. Boutique rooms, quirky designs, innovative restaurant concepts and links with the city’s maritime and media industries are centre stage.
This flurry of openings includes highlights such as the Hamburg-based 25hours Hotels chain recently relaunching its HafenCity hotel with ‘cabin’ rooms inspired by its view of the port. The sophisticated, canal-side Sir Nikolai Hotel opened in 2017, offering luxury rooms and a Japanese-Peruvian bistro. The historic, Art Deco-style Reichshof Hotel re-opened in 2016 under Hilton’s Curio brand and provides modern bedrooms and the rejuvenated famous Stadt Restaurant.
These hotels appeal to both business travellers and visitors alike while also enhancing the reputation of the city itself as a destination.
The increased activity shows no signs of letting up. Eight hotels (comprising 1,448 rooms) were due to open in the fourth quarter of 2017 and a further 21 hotels (amounting to over 4,400 rooms) are in Hamburg’s pipeline for 2018 and 2019. Notable developments include the masters of German select service hotels - Motel One – developing two new hotels with a total 860 bedrooms and Marriott’s Moxy Hotels building 389 rooms over two sites. The UK’s Premier Inn is set to continue its German expansion with a 185 bedroom development in HafenCity.
The new wave of visitor accommodation isn’t just constrained to hotels, with new developments coming in all shapes and sizes to reflect the diversity of demand from both business travellers and tourists. Hostel operators such as Superbude and serviced apartment providers such as Adina, Residence Inn and Fraser Suites are all expanding their presence in the city, with the last in the process of converting the grand former finance ministry into a luxury aparthotel.
As with all new supply hitting the market the question is whether Hamburg’s level of demand will be sustained. Those hotels creating high-quality guest experiences, the right product and investing in effective marketing systems will have a better chance of weathering any storms in the wider market. For now, at least, there seems to be no sign of stopping investors and developers and this Hanseatic city looks set to continue its upward trajectory.