Frankfurt is Germany´s business traveler destination number one. But only few people are aware of the fact that “Mainhattan”, as it is proudly called by the locals, is also a great holiday destination for a romantic weekend getaway in style. So when I organized mine to celebrate my 38th birthday, it came naturally that I would spend this at the city´s latest luxury hotel addition: The Sofitel Opera.
Being more or less brand new (the hotel went into service in September 2016), it was funny to see that even the taxi driver was not too familiar with the hidden hotel´s main entrance in a side street off Opernplatz. But passing the beautifully illuminated opera building at night during the short walk was a refreshingly different arrival than as if we would have been dropped of right in front.
Sofitel is one of my favorite brands when it comes to interior design and room fittings. There are quite a few branches that I get to overnight at being cabin crew and I have always felt pampered and comfortable in terms of style and service. So I was not surprised at all to find the decor of the beautiful lobby just as pleasant as the photos on the website had promised it to be.
It was way past midnight when we arrived in the early Saturday morning and the atrium laid silently in front of us. I did not even have to explain to the night receptionist who we were as he already welcomed us by addressing us by our names, asking if we had a comfortable journey so far and that the hotel was delighted to have us as their guests.
Check-in was super swift and a few moments later he accompanied us towards the elevator with a quick explanation how the high-tech system functioned (you already select your destined floor on a touchscreen and an elevator is automatically assigned).
If I had to describe my first impression of the premise in one statement I would call it modern feel-good understated luxury. The mixture of contemporary and classic design elements, the accentuated lighting concepts, the combination of fabrics and materials and the use of mainly softened colors makes it easy to feel comfortable right from the moment you enter the hotel.
Fans of the Chinoiserie style will also feel at home straight away. You know how there are luxury hotels around the world that you feel cowed when entering because their style is so dominating and intimidating and some staff members give you the feeling you do not belong here just because you are wearing sneakers, shorts and designer tees? Well, that is definitely not the fact at Sofitel Opera!
Digging a little bit in the history of the hotel, it was interesting to learn that the project dates back almost 15 years in planning! Its realization was slowed though by different attempts to find a matching investor, several building freezes due to construction noise and its unplanned location as excavation site for fossils and remains of the ancient city wall which were found when digging out the underground for the 4000 square meters wellness area.
What a hassle. But it looks very much like that all the effort and patience finally paid off in the end. Even if the grand opening that was planned for 2014/15 had to be delayed by another two years to September 2016.
The wait seems well worth it. A luxurious five-star refuge with homely interiors and unobtrusive, discreet service. Only the price for the breakfast buffet (47€ per person) is a “little” over the top, in my opinion, and not very motivating to pay for.
Altogether 150 rooms and suites guarantee a boutique hotel feel. The smallest category spreading already over 34 square meters, the largest with 120 square meters promising royal spaciousness.
One thing that we were truly missing though (since the hotel has been established in a complete new built) was a rooftop terrace with a swimming pool and a sun deck. Or at least a panoramic bar as the downtown location of the Sofitel Opera is absolutely predestined for a feature like this.
Instead, the hotel has beautifully set up a its Lily´s bar just behind the lobby in a separate living-room atmosphere location with an intimate feel and a gorgeous design language.
This is also the place were you can comfortably enjoy your glass of welcome champagne after arrival. And that is of lovely quality as Veuve Cliquot is served. Want to enjoy it in the privacy of your room? No problem, in no time it is served by the friendly bar staff on a silver plate with a selection of nuts and olives at your door.
It is also a cozy retreat for a five o´clock martini after a day of full city exploration or a heavy shopping marathon.
Responsible for the elegant interiors is the internationally renown design agency Studio Hertrich & Adnet. Its founders, French designers Marc Hertrich and Nicolas Adnet, have just launched a personal furniture design line and have already worked on projects around the world including hotels, spas, residences and boutiques.
Their idea to combine functionality with poetry in their designs, creating a “multifaceted trademark which is nevertheless recognizable” in the French spirit can well be found in the beautiful combination of colors, fabrics and architectural styles throughout the hotel´s public spaces.
The hotel´s 150 rooms and suites are distributed over six floors. Wandering the corridors somehow feels a little bit like Alice in Wonderland with opulent golden mirrors mounted to the walls covered with luxurious wallpapers.
Even the “Do not Disturb”-sign (in addition to the automated control inside the room) seems like a precious gift. A very neat detail by the way is the nightly turn-down service offered by the room maid which includes pralinés and dimmed lighting for a luxurious night-time experience.
I had booked a Superior room and we were allocated a wonderful room which was located underneath the roof on the seventh floor with a beautiful view over the little park right adjacent to the hotel´s entrance.
In other hotels, this could have easily been categorized as at least a Junior Suite in terms of space and fittings and the French style garrets made you feel like you were instantly above the roofs of Paris.
A personalized welcome note by Guest Relations Manager Fabian Senf and General Manager Denis de Schrevel made us feel like celebrities and it was accompanied by delicious handmade pastries such as Frankfurter Bethmännchen and macaroons and two bottles of complimentary water (which were automatically renewed on a daily base).
The lighting in the room is very individually controllable and can be changed to various lighting concepts for every kind of mood. It took us quite a while though to figure out which switch controlled which light and that the ceiling rotunda was actually dimmable when pressing the switch longer.
Calling the bed soft actually would be a clear understatement. The bedding was so smooth and mellow and the linens so luxuriously tender, it really was hard to leave this private cocoon in the morning to begin with our sightseeing tour.
The room featured a large sofa, an informative selection of reading material (like a travel guide for Frankfurt with rather unique suggestions), a huge flat screen tv that could be hidden behind the wall-mounted sliding doors and a desk…
… with a high-end telephone and various power sockets if you needed to work during your stay.
The entry was taken up by the extremely large walk-in closet with altogether four wall cupboards. Three of them offered plenty of space for clothes and shoes, one housed the coffee maker, the automatic mini bar and the very large safe deposit box with an integrated power socket, so you would lose not time to work if you had to charge your electronic device while safely storing it when not inside the room.
Hidden high-gloss sliding doors could separate the entry from the bathroom and the living area, yet a full body mirror was missing anywhere. There was only one mounted inside the bathroom which was not very useful when getting dressed and your partner occupying the space.
The water boiler and illy coffee machine were re-stocked daily and a fine selection of teas (i.e. Strawberry & Lavender) was available to be enjoyed in artistic china.
The large and bright bathroom consisted of a bath tub, a separate toilet, two sinks and an enormous shower which could easily fit up to four people (if you wanted to, lol).
Even though the design is rather minimalistic and black and white the dominating colors, small details such as differently colored tumblers for your toothbrushes, the turquoise Hermes care products or the elegantly presented Calla flower added the cozy accents needed to make this a place to enjoy.
One thing that would add the perfect touch to it would be separate wall mounted hooks to hang/grab the towels and/or the bathrobe when entering/exciting the shower, which revolving glass door unfortunately opens up to the wrong side. The result: A wet and slippery floor.
Great news for fitness and wellness freaks though. The hotel has a cooperation with Fitness First´s Platinum Club just across the street and shares the extensive lower level wellness area.
While the hotel´s very own fitness room seems rather subtle compared to the extraordinary rest of the building, guests may use Fitness First´s large indoor pool which can be accessed through an extra door with key card reader.
The small gym is accessible 24 hours a day which is a small plus. The access through the staircase is a little tricky though. Some of the automatic key card readers to get back into the lobby were malfunctioning, resulting with a roundabout way in the open air.
Apart from that, the Fitness First club is a well-equipped sports facility with huge locker rooms…
…a larger steam and Finnish sauna area…
… and a generous (even if a little unloving decorated) relaxation room adjacent.
The design of the indoor pool comes also in a very industrial attempt and is extremely modern, yet stands in high contrast to the well-being feeling that the Sofitel design language arouses. To my knowledge, Fitness First does offer day passes to purchase when you are looking for an extensive workout.
Good to know is that the hotel offers on top of this offer its private wellness area called So Spa.
It consists of various treatment rooms and a relaxation area and continues Sofitel Opera´s homely and cozy hotel ambience.
As the number of loungers inside the spa is limited, it is recommendable to check availability and place a reservation for the usage (which is free for guests) in advance with the spa´s reception.
Various treatments and massages are available from an extensive menu and are charged individually.
A beautiful oasis to retreat to after a stressful working or sightseeing day and the perfect location to sooth one´s mind.
Individual shower rooms with Molton Brown care products and in integrated Finnish sauna and a Hammam help to relax and unwind.
After we had checked out of the room on our day of departure (check out time is generally 12pm but may be extended by a few hours on weekends on availability) the staff made it possible for us to use the spa´s shower facilities later during the day in order to freshen up before our flight back home in the evening. This is what I call exceptional service.
All in all a highly enjoyable luxury experience and, apart from the tiny little details that I have mentioned already, a beautiful recommendation to spend a deluxe and romantic weekend getaway with an excellent location and a dedicated staff to pamper you to the fullest. I will come back :).
60313 Frankfurt am Main, Germany