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On the last night of his recent round-the-world trip, TPG Special Contributor Eric Rosen found himself in Frankfurt before catching a Lufthansa flight back to Los Angeles. Here’s his review of the Westin Grand Frankfurt.
One Night in Frankfurt
For the last leg of my recent round-the-world trip, I found a great first-class award on Lufthansa from Frankfurt to Los Angeles, where I’m based. The only trouble was that I was actually coming from Amsterdam.
Because my flight from Frankfurt left at 10:05am on Monday morning, I figured it would be a better idea to book a connecting flight from Amsterdam to Frankfurt the day before, spend Sunday evening in the city and then depart on the big flight the following morning rather than waking up at the crack of dawn in Amsterdam.
When I started looking for hotel rooms, I found that rates were pretty low. It would be a Sunday summer evening in a primarily business destination, so high-end properties were going for less than $200. Because of a substantial credit with Hotel Tonight — and a few days before I was set to fly — I booked a room at the Westin Grand Frankfurt for $160. Comparable properties such as the Hilton and the Intercontinental were going for $130-$150, so it seemed like a decent deal.
Note: You can get a $25 credit by registering for Hotel Tonight using the promo code BKELLY99.
Getting There and Location
Though I was toting a big suitcase, a carry-on and a piece of hand luggage, I figured the easiest way to get from the airport to the city would be on the train. It cost just 4.55 euros (about $5), and my ticket included continuing travel within the city on the S- and U-Bahns, compared to about $30-$40 to take a taxi or Uber.
The train took about 15 minutes, and then I had to navigate the construction at the Hauptbahnhof Frankfurt station to catch the U-Bahn for four stops and walk two blocks to the hotel. But all in all the journey only took about 35 minutes from the airport to the front desk, and it was cheap!
Though at a distance from the main train station, the hotel is in a pretty good location, set just off the main pedestrianized shopping street of the Zeil and a quick walk down to the river, the historic Römer city hall and the skyscrapers of the business district.
There was just a single person on duty when I walked into the hotel and she was on the phone, but seeing me, she rang a bell and her colleague came out to check me in. Because I’d made the reservation on Hotel Tonight, I didn’t receive any of my Starwood Preferred Guest Gold status perks such as free internet or a space-available room upgrade. However, I still listed my number on the reservation just in case any of those benefits did come through, and at the very least, I wanted the SPG member discount on food and beverages purchased at the hotel (15% in this case). I was given a standard king room on the second floor, shown to the elevators and sent on my way.
Classic King Room
While far from exciting, the Classic King Room I got was more than adequate. It felt pretty spacious at about 270 square feet (by my estimate) with a king-size Heavenly bed on one wall along with a brown leather armchair and side table.
The room also held a big work desk with an ergonomic chair, a chest of drawers, a TV, a pretty sizable closet and a mini-bar. Most exciting to me was the little Nespresso machine with capsules, sugar and milk I could use the next morning to brew a quick cuppa before I departed.
The color palette felt pretty corporate, with white linens, and a mix of beige, cream and burnt sienna-y orange.
The bathroom had marble walls and a black stone counter with a single sink. Spacious by European standards, but spare.
There was a shower-tub combo with overhead and handheld shower heads, and Westin Heavenly bath products.
The one shocker I got was when I logged in to use the internet. It sort of astonishes me that a major chain hotel like this in a major business city charges for Wi-Fi at all when other major companies like Hyatt have waived these fees completely. However, the Westin charges guests 6 euros (about $7) for a single hour of Wi-Fi or a whopping 16 euros (about $18) for 24 hours. I would have had this fee waived if I’d booked directly through Starwood since I would have been able to enjoy free access as a SPG member, regardless of status, but I reasoned away this annoyance by telling myself I’d saved $160 on the room rate itself, so paying 16 euros for the internet was small in comparison. It still stung, though.
Hotel Amenities & Dining
I was due to meet a friend for drinks and dinner, so I didn’t have too much time to explore, but I did hop up to the sixth floor to check out the tiny spa area. It also held the fitness center, which looked pretty decent with a small room dedicated to free weights and stretching, and another holding the weight and cardio machines.
Going through the locker rooms, you also come to the indoor pool, with a small bar for cocktails and snacks at the entrance and lounge chairs on two levels. It’s not a huge pool, but long enough to do some laps.
Down in the lobby, there’s a smoking lounge (called the Cigar Lounge, but really, you can smoke what you like there), and the main restaurant and bar, GrandSeven.
On the first floor, buffet breakfast and weekend brunch is served in the Motions restaurant, while the hotel also has a small Japanese sushi and teppanyaki restaurant called Sushimoto, and a Chinese one named San San open for lunch and dinner — though I didn’t try them, preferring to head out into the city for dinner.
I was up early the following morning to head to the airport and enjoy some pampering at the Lufthansa First Class Terminal, so I was the only one checking out. It took about 90 seconds total and I was presented with my bill for the Wi-Fi and a drink I’d had at the bar, which they charged automatically to the card I’d put on file without my having to present it again. By the time I was folding up the printed bill, my Uber was pulling up to the hotel and I was off.
Though it didn’t feel like a terribly special property, the Westin suited my needs quite well. It was central and easy to get to; the room was spacious and comfortable, if not interesting; and the Hotel Tonight price was very decent for the experience and quality level. I’d love to see the hotel waive the Wi-Fi charge (though I will say, it was high-speed and worked perfectly), not just when you book through SPG, but for all guests — considering it’s a business hotel in a business city — but that was the only sore point for me. I’d definitely recommend it for a quick Frankfurt layover, if not for a memorable stay.
There’s no telling how much longer these cards will be around and available for new applications because of the Marriott takeover, so now might just be the perfect time to apply. Apart from hotel redemptions, you can transfer Starpoints to over 30 airline partners, and now also transfer points from Starwood to Marriott Rewards at a 1:3 ratio, opening up even more redemption options.
- Earn 25,000 bonus Starpoints® after you use your new Card to make $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months.
- Earn 2 Starpoints® for each dollar of eligible purchases spent on the Card at participating SPG® & Marriott Rewards® hotels. Earn 1 Starpoint for all other purchases.
- No Foreign Transaction Fees on International purchases.
- Receive free in-room, premium internet access. Booking requirements apply.
- Redeem Starpoints® at over 1,300 participating hotels and resorts in over 100 countries and for flights on more than 150 airlines with SPG flights, all with no blackout dates.
- $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95.
- Terms and Conditions apply.
- See Rates & Fees