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Destination Of The Week: Frankfurt

by on February 14, 2014 · 9 comments

in Destination of the Week

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Frankfurt is Europe’s largest financial center, and also happens to have one of the busiest airports on the continent. However, this German hub offers so much more than just business and finance. Situated between two large rivers, the historical city center boasts unique architecture, cozy German pubs and an area of museums that spans over a mile, not to mention one of the world’s most famous wine regions within an hour’s drive. Let’s pay a visit to Frankfurt, Germany!

The Frankfurt skyline is often called "Mainhattan" after NYC's Manhattan, but situated on the Main River.

The Frankfurt skyline is often called “Mainhattan” after NYC’s Manhattan, but situated on the Main River.

 

WHAT TO DO

The first stop on your list should definitely be the Römer, or City Hall. It is actually comprised of three buildings and became Frankfurt’s city hall back in 1405. Today, this important Frankfurt landmark is still used for official city business. You can see more medieval architecture surrounding the City Hall area, which is called Römerberg. Most of these buildings date back to the 14th and 15th centuries, however some were destroyed in World War II and have since been reconstructed.

Romer, Frankfurt's City Hall.

The Romer, Frankfurt’s City Hall.

Continue your tour by walking towards the Main River. You will bypass the Eiserner Steg, a 19th-century bridge leading to Sachsenhausen, and the Rententurm (Wharfinger’s Tower), a 15th-century Gothic-style fortified tower connected to the Saalhof, an old 12th-century castle building.

The Dom, a cathedral in Frankfurt.

The Dom, a cathedral in Frankfurt.

Don’t miss Frankfurt’s most famous cathedral, the Dom. This building also dates back to the 14th century and you can climb up to the top of the tower for beautiful city views.

The Opera House at night.

The Opera House at night.

Make sure to see the old Opera House, the Alte Oper, which was built in 1880. It’s no longer used for operas, but is still in use for other events. It’s located in the busy Opernplaz, or Opera Square, a beautiful area in which to relax, have a coffee at one of the many cafes, and people-watch.

Visit the Goethe House in the Museum Embankment area of Frankfurt.

Visit the Goethe House in the Museum Embankment area of Frankfurt.

If you are a museum buff, Frankfurt’s your spot. The mile-long Museum Embankment runs along the Main River and is home to several museums. The Städel Museum is probably one of the most famous, and hosts about 700 years of art history within its walls. The German Film Institute is another interesting stop, as is the Goethe House, the childhood home of author Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, one of Frankfurt’s most famous local sons. The Jewish Museum provides a comprehensive overview of the history of the Jewish people in Frankfurt. The museum options are endless, continuing with the Museum of Modern Art, the Museum of Fine Art, and much more.

The Holocaust War Memorial.

The Holocaust War Memorial.

If you are looking for more on Jewish history, the Museum Judengasse is part of the Jewish Museum, but at a different location since it’s built over an excavated section of the former Jewish Ghetto. Afterward exploring the museum, you can visit the Holocaust Memorial and the medieval Jewish cemetery just outside.

See Frankfurt from the viewing platform of the Main Tower.

See Frankfurt from the viewing platform of the Main Tower.

After seeing all the historical sites and museums, if you’re in the mood for something a little more modern, head to the top of the Main Tower, the only Frankfurt skyscraper open to visitors. For a small fee, you can take the elevator up to the viewing platform and see the city from a height of about 650 feet, or 200 meters.

Gruneburgpark in Frankfurt.

Gruneburgpark in Frankfurt.

Finally, if you want to relax in a green space, check out the Gruneburgpark, or in English, the “Green Castle Park” (it’s named after a castle that stood here in the 14th century). The park offers an outdoor theater in summer, as well as several play areas for children. A small section of the park is reserved for botanical gardens, not to be confused with the city’s main botanical gardens, Palmengarten, found across the street from the park.

WHERE TO EAT

A delicious dish from Doepfner's im Maingau.

A delicious dish from Doepfner’s im Maingau.

Frankfurt isn’t known as a culinary destination, but there are still some excellent restaurants to be found here. For fine dining, try Holbein’s next to the Staedel Museum, and the Michelin-starred Tiger, which, as part of a cabaret theater, enables you to enjoy both dinner and a show. For riverfront dining, try Frankfurter Botschaft, which has a beautiful glass facade and overlooks the river; the food here is almost all organic. If you want to sample rare German wines, try Doepfner’s im Maingau – this dimly-lit, posh restaurant has a wine cellar full of German vintages. If you are into wine you will also love Vinum Weinkeller, a former wine cellar that dates to 1893, now features wine-themed decor, and specializes in regional wines.

YOUR EXPERIENCES

Destination of the Week pieces are not meant to be comprehensive guides to destinations since we don’t have the time or funds to visit all these places in person and report back to you. Nor are they endorsements of all the hotels we mention. They are simply roundups of top destinations that we have specifically pinpointed for the opportunity they present to use your miles and points to get to and stay there. As always, we welcome your comments to help enrich the content here, provide opinions and first-hand experiences of these destinations.

GETTING THERE

The Frankfurt Airport (FRA) is the  largest in Germany, but it’s actually the third-busiest airport in Europe after London Heathrow and Paris Charles De Gaulle. The airport includes two passenger terminals with a capacity of approximately 65 million passengers per year. Located just  7.5 miles (12 km) southwest of the city center, Frankfurt Airport is the largest hub for Lufthansa and a quick trip to/from the city.

The city has a secondary airport, the Frankfurt-Hahn Airport (HHN), set much further from Frankfurt. In fact, it’s about equidistant between the cities of Frankfurt and Luxembourg, about 75 miles (120 km) to each by car.

Getting to Frankfurt from the US is fairly easy, as there are non-stop flights from many US hubs and thanks to Lufthansa’s large presence there, it’s a major Star Alliance hub. In fact, it’s often easier to get to FRA from the US than it is to fly into London or Paris, and is often much cheaper thanks to lower surcharges.

For example, for dates in mid-February, you can fly non-stop on a variety of airlines for about $1,000 from the East Coast: Lufthansa and United will take you direct from Newark, whereas Delta and Singapore fly non-stop from JFK. At a slightly higher price, the following airlines fly non-stop to FRA: United from ORD and Lufthansa from LAX.

If you are already in Europe, you have many options. You can get to FRA or HHN from almost any city in Europe via Lufthansa, British Airways, KLM, Iberia, or low-cost options like Germanwings (operating out of FRA) and Ryan Air (out of HHN).

Once you land in FRA, getting to the city from the airport is easy and user-friendly, as trains leave the airport terminal for the main Frankfurt station about every 10 minutes for about  3-4 euros (about $5). Taxis will usually cost about  30 euros  ($40) each way. Transfers to HHN run a bit pricier, and a taxi will cost approximately 160 euros ($220) each way. There are buses that will take for you for about 14 euros ($19) each way, or 20 euros ($27) if you buy the round-trip ticket.

HOTELS

Club Carlson

Radisson Blu Frankfurt

A room at the Radisson Blu Frankfurt.

Radisson Blu Frankfurt: Located in Frankfurt’s western outskirts near the confluence Rhine and Main rivers, this hotel is quite close to the city’s metro, providing easy access to downtown Frankfurt. All rooms come with free internet access, heated bathroom floors, individual climate control and a minibar. Pets are allowed. Visit the gym, sauna, steam room or the Heaven Spa for some relaxation time. This hotel currently has two dining options, Gaía Restaurant & Terrace for Spanish food and wunderBar Lounge, which serves drinks and light bites. Restaurant Coast will be opening soon. Room rates in February start at 84 euros ($115) per night or 44,000 points for an award night.

Other Club Carlson hotel options in and around Frankfurt are the Park Inn By Radisson Frankfurt Airport, the Radisson Blue Schwarzer Bock and Park Inn Heppenheim.

Hilton

The Hilton Frankfurt.

The Hilton Frankfurt.

Hilton Frankfurt: Situated in Frankfurt’s city center, this hotel is located next to Frankfurt’s stock exchange. Each room has large windows with park or city views, a large work desk, and a separate shower and bathtub. WiFi is free in public areas only. The hotel offers a babysitting service, large pool, jogging track, sauna, solarium, jacuzzi and beauty salon. Guests can dine at Gekkos, Pacific Colors Restaurant or Vista Bar and Lounge. This hotel is an HHonors Category 8 hotel and room rates in February start at 133 euros ($182) or 70,000 HHonors points for an award night.

Use the 24 hour fitness center at the Hilton Frankfurt Airport.

Use the 24 hour fitness center at the Hilton Frankfurt Airport.

Hilton Frankfurt Airport: Located in the airport’s newly iconic Squaire building, this hotel is situated directly above the InterCity Express railway station at the Frankfurt Airport, and has direct pedestrian access via skywalk to Terminal 1. All guestrooms feature sound-proof windows, an LCD TV, Mp3 alarm clock and radio, and a work zone with an ergonomic desk chair. The hotel offers a babysitting service, a large 24-hour fitness center, sauna, and steam room. Dine at Rise Restaurant or the Fifth Lounge and Bar. This hotel is an HHonors Category 8 hotel and room rates in February start at 119 euros ($162) or 50,000 HHonors Points.

Other Hilton options in and around Frankfurt are the Hilton Garden Inn AirportHilton Mainz, and the Hilton Mainz City.

Hyatt

The only Hyatt option in Frankfurt is the Hyatt Regency Mainz, which is located in Mainz, about 30 minutes from Frankfurt.

IHG Rewards

A superior room at the IHG Frankfurt.

A superior room at the IHG Frankfurt.

Intercontinental Frankfurt: Located on the Main River, this modern hotel is close to the financial district and the historic center of Frankfurt. Its 467 rooms and 35 suites all come with satellite TV and a stereo. The hotel has a 24-hour fitness center, business center and a gift shop. Dine at the Veranda Restaurant or enjoy a cocktail at the DAXx Mainhattan lobby bar. Room rates in mid February start at 91 euros ($125) per night or 45,000 points for an award night.

The exterior of the Holiday Inn Express Frankfurt.

The exterior of the Holiday Inn Express Frankfurt.

Holiday Inn Express Frankfurt Airport: This hotel is situated near the Frankfurt airport just off the A5 highway. They offer a shuttle service to and from the airport for 5 Euros ($7) between 6:00 am and 10:45 pm. All guestrooms have a satellite TV and soundproof windows to block out any outside noise. There is free WiFi in the lobby for all guests, and complimentary breakfast is offered in The Great Room. Drinks and light snacks are available at the Cock Pit, the hotel’s bar and lounge. There is also a business center in the hotel. Room rates in mind February start at 39.60 euros ($54) or 15,000 points for an award night.

The other IHG options in and around Frankfurt are the Holiday Inn Express Frankfurt CityHoliday Inn Express Frankfurt MesseHoliday Inn Frankfurt City SouthHoliday Inn Frankfurt Airport North, and the Holiday Inn Airport Neu Isenberg.

Marriott

A guest room at the Marriott Frankfurt.

A guest room at the Marriott Frankfurt.

Frankfurt Marriott: Located directly across from the Frankfurt Messe Fairgrounds, this is a great hotel for a business traveler. All guestrooms come with an alarm clock, desk and work area, coffee and tea maker, and a mini-fridge. The hotel also has a fitness center and safe deposit boxes are available at the front desk. You can dine at one of the three restaurants: Brasserie ICI, a french bistro, Cross for international food, and Champions American Sports Bar and Restaurant for American food and to watch the game on TV. This hotel is a Marriott Rewards Category 6 and room rates in February start at 110 ($149) euros per night or 30,000 points for an award night.

Starwood

The indoor pool at the Westin Grand Frankfurt.

The indoor pool at the Westin Grand Frankfurt.

Westin Grand: Located a short walk from the Museum Embankment area, this hotel is near the Main River as well. All guestrooms come equipped with a plush leather armchair, work desk with ergonomic desk chair, 32-inch flat screen TV, Nespresso machine, the Westin Heavenly Bed, and White Tea by Westin bath amenities. Swim in the indoor pool, work out at the fitness center or rejuvenate at the Emotion Spa. Dine at Sushimoto, Grand Seven, San San for Chinese food or Motions for breakfast and brunch. The Westin Grand Frankfurt is an SPG Category 5 hotel, and room rates in mid February start at 169 euros ($228) or 16,000 Starpoints for an award night.

The historic facade of the Le Meridien Parkhotel Frankfurt.

The historic facade of the Le Meridien Parkhotel Frankfurt.

Le Meridien Parkhotel Frankfurt: This hotel is situated just a few blocks from the historic Romer, or City Hall. Each guestroom, designed in an Art Nouveau style, has an Italian marble bathroom, a complimentary bottle of mineral water, and LCD TV. There is an on-site business center and free access to the White Stone Lodge, a nearby facility providing fitness and pool options, as well as spa and beauty services. Parking costs 28 euros ($38) per day. The hotel has three restaurants: Le Parc, Casablanca, and the Beer Garden Le Jardin. This is an SPG Category 4 hotel, and room rates in mid February start at 125 euros ($169) or 10,000 Starpoints for an award night.

Other Starwood options in and around Frankfurt are the Sheraton Frankfurt CongressSheraton Offenbach, and the Sheraton Airport. The Element Frankfurt will be opening in August of 2014.

Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts

Fine Hotels and Resorts is a hotel program specifically for American Express Platinum and Business Platinum cardholders. By booking through this portal, you receive added perks and benefits thrown in with your stay – sort of like you would with elite status or by booking through a travel agent with great contacts at a hotel.

The Villa Kennedy in Frankfurt.

The Villa Kennedy in Frankfurt.

Rocco Forte Villa Kennedy: Built in 1904, this historical building was originally a family home. Now, the Villa Kennedy is used as a luxury hotel, and sits on the banks of the Main River, an easy walk to many attractions in Frankfurt. Each of the 127 guestrooms was individually designed by Olga Polizzi and Martin Brudnizki. The rooms offer an armchair, working desk, sofa, dining table and bathrooms with heated floors and a separate walk-in shower. Some rooms have a French balcony with city views. The hotel offers a beautiful indoor pool and a fitness room. Dining options include Gusto or JFK Bar. Room rates in mid February start at 245 euros ($330).

Steigenberger-Frankfurter-Hof

The Steigenberger Frankfurter Hof hotel.

Steigenberger Frankfurt Hof: Situated just steps away from the historic city center, this luxury hotel has 261 rooms and 42 suites. Each elegant guestroom comes with complimentary mineral water and in-room WiFi, and some have walk-in closets, as well as TVs in the bathrooms.  The hotel also features a fitness center, 18 conference rooms for meetings, The Spa (which includes spa treatments, a sauna, steam room and Turkish hammam) and the Hommage Gentleman Barber shop. Dining options include the one Michelin-starred Restaurant Francais, Oscars, Hofgarten, Autorenbar and Cigarrum. Room rates in mid February start at 149.25 euros ($201) per night.

The Westin Grand is also an Amex Fine Hotels and Resorts property.

Other Options

Other notable hotel options in Frankfurt include the hipsterific 25Hours Hotel by Levi’s, 25Hours Hotel The Goldman and Roomers Design Hotel, the opulent Jumeirah Frankfurt, and a variety of others including Falkenstein Grand KempinskiVilla Rothschild Kempinski and the Hotel Hessicherhof.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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  • RedbullF1fan

    Stayed at the Hilton Garden Inn @ The Squaire last fall. Small rooms compared to their US properties but perfect for the night before your flight. Check-in, drop the rental car, ride the Skytrain back to the hotel and relax. There are a bunch of nice restaurants open in the Squaire for dinner. We enjoyed Paulaner on the Squaire. One last taste of Bavaria before returning to the states. HGI offers a nice German/American breakfast-far superior to the grub in the clubs.

  • UrbanPhoenixInjunCAM

    If the train is late, below the Frankfurt airport terminal, it will not stop. Porters will help you jump on board and throw your luggage on the train. It only slows down enough to get this done. We had first class tickets, too!!

  • shay peleg

    I am in Frankfurt now and god it is boring

  • Nick

    Frankfurt is for a convention or something. Choose Munich or Berlin as a destination.

  • Wolfgang

    Frankfurt Airport is the fifth largest in Germany….fifth largest? Really?

    Read more: http://thepointsguy.com/2014/02/destination-of-the-week-frankfurt/#ixzz2tKch7s1D

    Follow us: @thepointsguy on Twitter | thepointsguy on Facebook

  • Jeremy

    Correction: Air Berlin does not fly DFW-FRA. However, LH and AA do.

  • David G

    Thanks for awesome trip report, we really enjoy reading it! Please shed some light to us:
    I’m also planning a trip to Europe for me and my family, total of 3 people. We are living in San Francisco and plan to go to Rome, Florence, Venice , Milan then Paris. Then will fly back to SFO from Paris. We want to avoid London if possible since we scared of high fuel surcharges and tax that they charge there. So this will be an open jaw itinerary.
    So far I have accumulated Southwest, US Airways, and AA miles. I do have some questions that I hope you can help enlighten me up, I will break them into points so it’s easier for you to answer on each point:
    1. If US Air and AA are offering one free stopover in the US gateway city, it would be awesome as an added bonus into our trip! We would like to go to Caribbean. Does Aruba (AUA) counted as US gateway city by US Air or AA?
    And From SF, is it better to go to Carribean first then Europe, or better to go there on our return flight back from Europe to SF?

    2. Which one you think is more wiser and save on more miles? Going there by US Air miles (30,000 miles roundtrip per person on offpeak) and use AA miles for flight within Europe. Or use AA miles (40,000 round trip per person off peak) from SFO- Europe and use US Air miles for….? (no idea if US Air miles can be used and has more value then AA miles for flight within Europe cities, please advise).

    3. The only flight connection to Aruba is from Miami and from Miami can go to Europe too. How can we get into Europe if we are DEPARTING from SFO (since we are living in SF)? Can we do SFO-MIA(connection)-AUA(stopover)- Europe? If so, how do we do it, is it by AA or US Air?

    If you have any better alternative or idea, please let me know!

    4. I am just new into the CC game and I am wondering what a good credit card to build up hotel points for our free hotel stays in Aruba and Europe? If you have any good deal on CC that gives the most hotel points sign up benefits, please share and I would be more than happy to use your link as a way to say thank you!

  • Jon Z

    Mainz is a better bet for historical sites if you have an extra day around an FRA arrival/departure — only 30 minutes from FRA via train. Here are some of the sights:
    Stained glass windows by Chagall:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St._Stephen's_Church,_Mainz

    1000-year old Cathedral:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mainz_Cathedral

    Gutenberg Museum:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gutenberg_Museum

    All of these are within walking distance of each other and the train station.

  • Kristy McCoy

    That sounds a bit intimidating UrbanPhoenix.

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