Decidedly more relaxed and carefree than most of Germany, Cologne has emerged as a cultural hub that rivals Berlin. It's also a value destination that zings with youthful energy, brimming with a new era of restaurants, clubs, and cafés that deviate from the expected. Adding to Cologne’s scene, the fast-expanding 25Hours hotel chain opened its doors in summer 2018 and locals haven’t stopped flocking in since. We got to experience the new property first-hand — here are the highlights of our stay.
Budget Level: Value (rates from $85 per night)
Lodging Type: Large Hotel (207 rooms)
What You Need to Know
Having transformed a concrete, circular office building into a full-service hotel in a design style the property refers to as “retro futurism,” 25Hours Cologne is the epitome of cool. The newest iteration of the urban hotel chain features a welcoming open-plan lobby that sets the tone for the rest of the design-forward building. Guest rooms are open and large, and feature exposed concrete, large windows, and fresh plants. Our favorite aspects of the common spaces include a record store with a listening station, a hip coffee shop with a futuristic design, and a central station of typewriters that actually work.
A hotel chain built for younger travelers seeking a cosmopolitan vibe, 25Hours Cologne aces the brand’s newly minted energy. A hip local crowd keeps Monkey Bar — the rooftop cocktail bar — hopping late into the night, while lively beats keep the lobby abuzz.
Who Will Love It
Those who enjoy well-designed spaces will marvel at the hotel’s modern layout. The brand is ideal for younger travelers, though road warriors will appreciate the no-fuss simplicity of the service.
Who Might Not
If you’re the type that thinks exposed concrete ceilings are best in basements or that every hotel room should to have a closet, this property won't meet your expectations. Also, the late-night party scene might deter those looking for serene silence.
We were completely won over by dinner at NENI Köln, the hotel’s rooftop restaurant that offers near-360-degree views of the city. The dining room is warm and inviting, lined with floor-to-ceiling windows and dotted with lush green plants. The menu is inventive and playful, spinning Mediterranean staples into multi-layered bursts of flavor. Don’t miss the Korean fried chicken salad, the sabich (a pita sandwich stuffed with eggplant or eggs), and the short ribs.
Your room rate includes your room, air conditioning (an asset in Europe), and fast wifi.
Fees and Extra Costs You Should Know About
Parking onsite costs 19 euro (about $21) and the spaces fill up fast. Don’t panic if you’re caught without a spot; there’s a public garage across the way that charges 20 euro (about $22) for the night.
How to Get a Deal
The best rates can usually be found during the shoulder season from April to June and September to November.
In the Neighborhood
Head first to the folder of information in each room, curated by the hotel staff and locals. We were delightfully surprised to discover personalized guides to the area and mock-ups for the perfect day in the city based on interests. Located in the city’s Gerling Quarter, 25Hours Cologne is close to everything; a quick eight-minute train to the Cathedral, a twenty-minute walk to the banks of the Rhine, and plenty of restaurants and cafés within a block radius.
Hop a taxi or ride share and get to the airport in twenty minutes or save a few euro and opt for the subway to the light rail for a 30-minute trip.
Nearest Public Transit
The hotel is a quick four-minute walk to the Köln Friesenplatz subway stop, which will take you to Innenstadt, the city center, in four minutes.
The Bottom Line
If you’re seeking an affordable, design-forward hotel with a cosmopolitan vibe, you will not be disappointed.