I love that view! Here I am, standing on the balcony infront of my Suite, 7th floor of the newly opened Ameron Hotel Speicherstadt in Hamburg, not far away from Elbphilharmonie, overlooking the grand scene of countless rooftops of this historic landmark called „Speicherstadt“ (warehouse district), that gave its name to the hotel.
Here the heart of global coffee trade was beating for centuries. Here the “Hamburger Pfeffersäcke“ (that’s how the traders of Hamburg were called in former times) became rich and famous. In these many multi-storey brick-red walls, built from 1883 to 1927 on thousands of oak piles, surrounded by channels and canals, Hamburg merchants began to trade with coffee, tea and spices more than a hundred years ago. Here, close to river Elbe and the harbour of Hamburg, the largest storage and warehouse ensemble in the world was built, divided into several huge building blocks.
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All of these storage buildings were set between canals and roads to make loading and unloading of the precious goods possible from both the water and the land side. And here I stand after my arrival in this wonderful house, at sunset, the modern suite in my back and a fresh breeze of harbor smell in my nose. The blue sky, all those small iron bridges over the canals, the St. Catherine’s Church infront of me – everything is within reach!
“Block O”, is the name of the building complex, in which four-star plus hotel „Ameron Speicherstadt“ has found its home. A few years ago, when the Hamburg headquarters of one of the largest coffee service corporates in the world moved from here to a nearby large white oval office tower at “Coffee Plaza” in the HafenCity of Hamburg, the “AMERON Hotel Collection” (part of the hotel brand Althoff Hotel Collection) got the chance to rent and rebuild this edifice (owned by HHLA Hamburger Hafen und Logistik AG and listed under historic preservation). And opended the first and only hotel within the „Speicherstadt“.
This hotel is “mittenmang” (right in the middle) as they say here in Hamburg: At the interface between Speicherstadt and HafenCity (Harbour City). Here, old meets new, tradition modernity, history the present. While the Speicherstadt was nominated for the UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2014 directly opposite the HafenCity with a new and growing “city within a city” expands day by day. The Ameron Hotel Speicherstadt stands between two tourist attractions: the old days of Hamburg with its many museums, the famous miniature wonderland and the Hamburg Dungeon on the one hand side, and the modern HafenCity on the other side: on the banks of river Elbe, with modern architecture , the new Elbphilharmonie (concert hall) and the big ships that almost every day pick up new guests from the nearby Cruise Center for a cruise across the oceans. All this is just a few steps far away from the hotel.
This blend of tradition and modernity is reflected inside the hotel. The house offers a very special combination of historical context, nordic design and German ‘Gemütlichkeit’. The 192 comfortable rooms and suites are decorated in warm, earthy tones; the equipment is characterized by the clear, unfussy lines of the 50s and 60s, with a modern combination of high quality materials such as wood, glass, granite, leather and chrome. I live in one of the eight 34 square meters large and comfortable Smart Junior Suites with spacious living areas, a walk-in wardrobe, a kitchenette with coffee maker – and a king size bed with a great view at the St. Catherine’s Church just „next door“.
When I step out on my balcony, I can look at one of the many canals, the „Brooks Fleet“, which is spanned by a historic iron bridge, and connects the main building of the hotel with former Hamburg Coffee Exchange and the adjacent hotel restaurant. Founded in 1887 the Coffee Exchange was set up here on the initiative of the Association of Coffee Trading Companies in order to preserve Hamburg’s large share of global trade in coffee even after the introduction of the futures markets in Le Havre and New York. Today, this building, where coffee was traded until 1958, is a wonderful event location for up to 200 people. The adjacent terrace with a unique view of the canal can be used ideal for coffee breaks and small receptions.
Next door, the Hotel Restaurant „cantinetta ristorante“ can be reached via the historic iron bridge, which leads from the hotel building into the old warehouse district. The cantinetta ristorante awaits you with the unique design of the 50s and 60s, with an impressive high ceiling and generous panoramic windows overlooking the Brooksfleet. The kitchen team, which guests can watch at work in the open-plan kitchen, serves best pastas, delicious focaccia specialities, as well as Italian scallops.
When you enter the hotel and go up the wide staircase that leads to the lobby (alternatively there is an elevator, of course), you are greeted by a charming mural that shows a sailor kissing a “Hamburger Deern” (Hamburg Girl). Topics like these are fortunately more in the house. The lobby welcomes guests with warm shades. An adjacent lounge with library and fire place forms the passage to the cozy hotel bar. Comfortable sofas and armchairs, well stocked bookshelves with interesting reading, ship models, photographs with African motifs, display cases with sculptures and objects that recall both the old “coffee” tradition of the house, as well as the proximity to the Port of Hamburg, invite you to enjoy a drink after dinner or simply “relax”. Of course, at 7th floor there is a great place to relax, too: at the Vitality Spa with Finnish sauna, solarium, gym and the roof terrace with a unique view of the Speicherstadt and the HafenCity.
The team of the hotel is young, highly motivated and well established: Almost all staff was hired from the beginning when the construction started in late 2012. Thus, for example, the very friendly crew at the hotel restaurant knows not only in the kitchen, but the rooms and suites as well – because they helped to set up lamps or even rolled out carpets during the rebuilding…
The next morning I am back on my balcony and look at roofs and buildings of the Speicherstadt again. To get up it was really far too early: It was very late when I left the restaurant abnd the bar after very nice conversations with staff and guests. I’m still tired and the king size bed is too cozy to get up. But the view of the historical ensemble, awakened by the gentle blue-red of the approaching sunrise makes my photographers heart throb and lets me get up earlier than planned. The first seagulls screech and remotely toots one of the big ships, probably on the way to the North Sea. And somewhere at this moment a sailor will leave his Hamburger Deern and kiss goodbye, as seen on the mural at the stairway next to the lobby downstairs. And I have to leave, too –and I say to myself: “I was ‘mittenmang’. It was wonderful! “
Text & photography: Peter von Stamm
AMERON Hotel Speicherstadt Hamburg
Am Sandtorkai 4
phone: +49 40 638589 0
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