by Lisa Grimaldi | February 01, 2008


Water course:
One of Hamburg’s
distinctive canals

In a number of ways, Germany’s main port city is happily ensconced in its storied past -- but always with an eye on the here and now. 

For example, the old warehouse district, known as Hafen-City, is Hamburg’s hottest neighborhood. Along with dozens of warehouses that have been converted into homes, offices, galleries, restaurants and shops, the area features many museums, parks and attractions. This spring will see the opening of the International Maritime Museum of Hamburg in Kaispeicher B., HafenCity’s oldest warehouse. The museum will feature model ships, nautical devices, paintings and charts.

Another nod to the past is the BallinStadt - Port of Dreams, which celebrates the period from 1850 until the late 1930s, when Hamburg served as the “Gateway to the World” for some 5 million European emigrants who departed for the United States via its bustling docks. Visitors today can relive their experience at the newly opened museum, which is housed in the beautifully restored Emigrant Hall.

Hotel news

Some older properties are being revitalized, while new ones have come on line.

The 156-room Raffles Hotel Vier Jahreszeiten, one of Hamburg’s grand dames, recently has been reflagged as the Fairmont Hotel Vier Jahreszeiten, Hamburg. The property has four restaurants, two bars, a spa and fitness center, and 6,700 square feet of meeting space.

The 135-room Treudelberg Hamburg has been reflagged as the Steigenberger Hotel Treudelberg Hamburg and features an 18-hole golf course and 15 meeting rooms.

The 277-room Hamburg Marriott Hotel recently finished a renovation of its 4,500 square feet of meeting space.

Among the new properties is the 328-room EmpireRiverside Hotel, with 13,000 square feet of meeting space.

The 187-room Mercure Hamburg City will launch a new event space, called The Floating Experience, in April. The unique conference venue, with six meeting rooms, is set on pontoons in the city’s Middle Canal.

The 226-room Movenpick Hotel Hamburg is being built in an old water tower and will open this year with 4,800 square feet of meeting space.

The 270-room Radisson Hamburg Airport Hotel will open in July 2009. To be connected to Hamburg Airport’s Terminal 2, the property will include a restaurant, a bar, a fitness center and 7,000 square feet of meeting space.

Venue update

The Congress Center Hamburg completed a US$30 million expansion this past fall. Among the enhancements was the addition of a new 75,000-square-foot exhibit hall, giving the center a total of nearly 130,000 square feet of meeting and exhibit space. The venue offers 43 air-conditioned halls and meeting rooms and an 86,000-square-foot rooftop garden.

Hamburg Messe is expanding its main trade show hall from 700,000 square feet to more than 900,000 square feet; the project will be completed at the end of the year.

Other news

An underground rail station at the airport will be connected to the city’s metropolitan rail network this year, providing a 23-minute ride to Hamburg’s main downtown station.

The Hagenbeck Tropical Aquarium has opened in the city’s Tierpark. The venue is available for private receptions and seated dinners for groups of up to 1,000 and 700, respectively.

The Hamburg Convention & Event Bureau has launched the Messe & Congress Card for meeting and convention attendees. Valid for up to 48 hours, the cards entitle attendees to free public transportation, discount car rental rates and reduced prices for various attractions, along with other perks. The cost is US$20 per card.