Bustling commercial cities offer myriad hotel choices. In Cologne, Germany, for example, tourists can stay in the Aldstadt, within walking distance of the historic cathedral, or a short stroll away at a hotel overlooking quiet parkland.
The Hotel NH Collection Köln Mediapark, Im Media Park 8b, Cologne, is (depending on whom you ask) either a 15-minute or 45-minute walk west of the cathedral square. The route through this 2000-year-old city with a population of about one million is along busy streets lined with shops and restaurants, perfect for a leisurely ramble (of course one could take a taxi if time is short).
The Cologne Cathedral, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, has been a draw for centuries. Christian pilgrims are attracted to the large gold reliquary reputedly housing the skeletons of the Three Kings who visited Jesus in Bethlehem 12 days after his birth. The cathedral is said to have largest façade of any church in the world. Although construction started in 1248, it wasn’t actually completed until 1880. These days there’s scaffolding somewhere on the building all the time as restoration work is ongoing.
Then again, if your reason for visiting Cologne is business rather than tourism, this more distant location might just put you within hailing distance of your destination. The NH Köln Mediapark is next to the commercial media hub — that’s the T-Mobile tower as seen from my hotel room.
Designed by French architect Jean Nouvel, the modern style, glass-fronted building is located next to the city’s Green Belt, and looks out across an ornamental lake.
All of the 217 rooms with contemporary décor come with free Wi-Fi, a Nespresso machine, electric kettle, and extra thick mattresses for extra comfort. Note the paired outlets (they’re over the desk). As is typical in European hotel rooms, when the room card is removed from the “dock” next to the door, all the electricity in the room is shut off. The outlet on the right, however, remains “live” so you can charge your laptop when you’re gone (note that there’s also a USB port).
The rooms overlooking the front of the hotel get views of the lake and all the way to the Cologne cathedral (mine, in back, overlooked the Green Belt). The bathrooms include face cloths and a towel warming rack. Dogs and cats are welcomed, and it’s a 100% non-smoking property.
The hotel has its own restaurant with a lake-view terrace for al fresco dining. A bar off the lobby lights up quite distinctively in the evening.
There’s also a fitness center with steam bath and sauna, and plenty of parking space in the hotel’s underground car park. In fact, much of the commercial activity in the area takes place from the roadways below ground, such as coach drop-offs and commercial deliveries.
Insider tip: If you’re planning on staying there over a weekend, book directly online, sign up to NH Rewards, and opt for a “Lazy Sunday”, which includes a late checkout (albeit before 5 p.m.) free of charge.
For those of you who track such things, the Hotel NH Collection Cologne Mediapark was awarded an ISO 14001 environmental certificate.
(Photos courtesy of the NH Collection Cologne Mediapark and by Susan McKee)