This month, Starwood’s newest brand, Element, officially opened its first non-U.S. location in Frankfurt. Here's a peek inside the green-oriented chain.
What’s Hot: While Starwood continues to test out this environmentally friendly brand in second- and third-tier cities around the U.S., the European debut of Element marks an important step. Rather than just landing in any old European capital, the 133-room hotel sits five minutes from Frankfurt International Airport, the third busiest airport in Europe. Convenience where it’s needed most!
Best Feature: Above all, the thing most folks should get excited about here are the in-room kitchenettes. Talk about convenient. Spendthrift guests can simply pick up groceries (the supermarket is a 10-minute walk), haul them upstairs, and make use of the cooktop stove, toaster, and kettle installed in every room. Bonus? There’s also a sleek Bomann dishwasher for quick tidying.
The Rooms: Element Frankfurt Airport offers three room categories: studio, superior studio, and one-bedroom suite. The obvious benefit of booking a suite is the separate lounge area, but amenity-wise, you’ll get the same goodies across all room types: sleek work desks with USB and power plugs; a Westin Heavenly bed; and a 42-inch LG flat-screen TV. The floor-to-ceiling windows don’t hurt, either, and there’s a Nespresso machine with caffeine-filled capsules at the ready.
The Food: The hotel’s restaurant concept is still in the works (for now, there’s a transitional eatery called Limones offering a tasty broiled salmon option for lunch), but eventually there will be a full-service restaurant off the lobby. This is a step up from most extended-stay brands, which rarely offer meals beyond breakfast. And speaking of breakfast, health nuts will delight over Element’s morning spread of smoothies, granola, yogurt, and fresh-squeezed juices -- alongside the standard eggs, bacon, and rolls, of course.
Who Will Love It: Eco-conscious road warriors. No airport hotel -- however you spin it -- will ever compare to the comfort of your own bed at home. But for those who like the idea of actively preserving our planet’s natural resources, Element’s LEED certification, low-VOC lights, and emphasis on recycled materials are a refreshing change from other hotels in the same price bracket.
Who Might Not: All-night party animals. There’s no actual bar at the hotel. There is, however, something called a Salon Cart, which is a great embodiment of the hotel’s relaxed, down-tempo vibe. Each evening in the lobby, waiters leisurely wheel around a cart loaded with beer, wine, and basic cocktail fixings -- allowing guests to order their preferred beverage without getting up from the couch.
Nearby: It’s a 10-minute cab ride from Frankfurt International Airport. The hotel also neighbors several corporate office complexes (Dell lives next door), and, for joggers or nature lovers, there’s Schwanheimer Forest, a massive, ancient copse two minutes from the hotel. By January, the hotel will also begin offering free bike rentals to all guests, and the forest offers a convenient network of trails.
Getting There: De-Saint Exupery-Strasse 6, Frankfurt 60549. From the airport, take the OF-57 bus 5 stops to Gateway Garden Mitte.