Hotels across Hamburg reopening
The hospitality industry is by all intents and purposes returning to normality after a lull in the spread of coronavirus, a glance at The Fontenay’s fully occupied parking lot reveals. Swiss and Danish vehicles can be spotted near the "Himmelsspiegel-Brunnen" – a huge water sculpture that reflects the sky, clouds and trees nicely. "We had a good start and have arrived at this new reality cautiously," said Claudia Bellmann, PR Manager, but without quantifying hotel guests. The luxury "The Fontenay" hotel reopened its doors on May 20, 2020, .
Average occupancy rate merely 20 per cent
Although hotels can rent out all their rooms now that the occupancy limit has been lifted, the average occupancy rate is merely 20 per cent, according to the hotel association Deutscher Hotel- und Gaststätten Verband (DEHOGA). "This situation is likely to last quite a while as travel to Hamburg for trade fairs, congresses, sports and cultural events, musicals, exhibitions and corporate events cannot recommence before the end of 2020. Travel restrictions on international guests are still ongoing," said Franz J. Klein, President of DEHOGA Hamburg.
50 per cent occupancy rate on holiday weekends
The Westin hotel near the Elbphilharmonie is enjoying its prime location. "Although concert operations are closed, demand is good and bookings are increasing. We are looking forward to an occupancy rate of around 50 per cent on bank holiday and long weekends such Corpus Christi," said Madeleine Marx, Hotel Manager. "At present, we are only trying to recoup our fixed costs. There can be no talk of profit. The breakfast buffet, for instance, which is not permitted in Hamburg due to the coronavirus situation at present, is challenging. A served breakfast is personnel-intensive." Distances between tables means more work and disinfecting takes time. "We also have to meet the regulations on distance requirements and ensure increased hygiene levels are met behind the scenes as well," Marx noted.
Residents of Hamburg urged to holiday in city
People are cautious about booking a hotel room at present, Marx said. "Guests and companies are waiting to see how the rules develop. Most bookings are done at very short notice and often for the present or coming week." More and more hotels such as Gastwerk and The George are encouraging residents of Hamburg to discover their own city as tourists. The Pierdrei, which is managed by Kai Hollmann, is offering four to six-day stays called “Happy Hamburg Hopping Special” for EUR 499 or EUR 699 respectively. City dwellers receive a 10 per cent discount. "You live in the most beautiful city, where others like to spend their holidays. But have you ever stayed in a hotel in Hamburg? No? Then, now’s the time to enjoy your favourite city from a different perspective," the Pierdrei advert reads.
Hotels becoming temporary homes
Meanwhile, the 25hours hotels group is encouraging hotel guests to stay a little longer. The hotel group is aiming to become a temporary home while their hotel guests look for an apartment where they can stay during long work stints or internships in Hamburg. School pupils, trainees and students pay EUR 999 while the monthly rent comes to EUR 1,550. The Fontenay has also launched the Hamburg Package for short holidays in the city. An overnight stay in a Fontenay Deluxe Room or an Executive Suite with à la carte breakfast, dinner or lunch in the Parkview Restaurant and a selection of drinks from the minibar costs EUR 165 or EUR 300 per person. "This allows you to experience the Hanseatic city from a brand-new perspective - low-emission travel included," said Bellmann.
People in Hamburg love the great outdoors on sunny days with plenty of blue skies and temperatures of nearly 30° C. On days like these, nearly all the tables on the 6th floor terrace of The Fontenay with panoramic views of Lake Alster and the city are taken and the waiters are busy serving cool drinks. The obligatory mask does little to dampen the holiday mood.