STAY in Cologne:
Hotel Cristall shows its colours: the lobby is lavishly dominated by colour-of-the-month lavender, while the conference rooms are more reserved in white and the rooms in brown tones. Even the stairway banister was unable to escape the brush, having received a coat of bright red. The colourful mix is accompanied by unique furniture and black marble. Particularly fanciful are the easels in the rooms: if you're not a fan of mirrors, simply turn it around to discover a classic painting on the other side. With this toy alone you could entertain yourself for hours, yet that would indeed be a shame with Cologne on your doorstep! Double room from EUR 100 per night.
Motel Ones are currently springing up like mushrooms. Vienna, Salzburg, Brussels, Edinburgh, Berlin, Hamburg or Frankfort range among the locations. And these are only a few locations of the altogether 42 hotels of the German low budget design hotel brand of Dieter Müller. Cologne has now two of them: one in Cologne West and - since last autumn - one in Cologne Waidmarkt. Cologne and its 2000 year-old history as well as the French Gothic facade of the cathedral are very venerable. The concept of the aspiring hotel chain is quite the opposite - and a pleasant contrast: a central, well-connected location with focus on young, modern design and affordable prices. In addition turquoise-chocolate brown combinations when it comes to the interior and edgy luminaries (spheric lamps for geometry fans at the bar, nugget-like luminaries in the One-Lounge). In Cologne the new Motel One Waidmarkt is located directly in the central city. Not far away from the cathedral.
You need not dismount at Excelsior to see the cathedral up close. The Domappartements represent a cheaper alternative, situated just a stone's throw from the Lanxess Arena and the Philharmonie concert hall. Light, roomy and modern the apartments offer additional touches such as Nespresso coffee machines and cosy Hästens beds. If you get tired of waiting for George Clooney to show up then step outside and within just a couple of minutes you'll be at Domplatte, ready to soak up the pulsating nightlife of Cologne. Apartment from EUR 50 per night.
SHOPPING in Cologne:
If you're looking for that special dress for stepping out onto the red carpet, you can do a lot worse than head to Salon Ludvík. Here tailored art is conceived and created for elegant television stars. Fenja Ludwig's motto is ?Panta rhei' (everything is in flux). Flowing materials, low-cut backs and dove motifs stand at the forefront of the chic label. The couture icon is in touch with her craft, emphasising the female body without restraining it, while bridging the gap with her unmistakeable style between Parisian tradition and modern Cologne.
Only what's underneath is even more organic: Claudia Ladius caresses the body with purely organic materials. Organic hemp, linen and cotton are first certified by the IMO (Institute for Marketecology) before fairly treated workers get underway with production. This is carried out in harmony with nature, and results in the Organic De Luxe Kollektion. Needless to say fair trade practices are respected all the way. Clothes for the compost heap? No way. This brand deserves a Nobel Prize! Moreover the collection is chic and suitable for everyday wear. Shopping with a good conscience - something that you can experience every time you get dressed!
Chang 13 regards itself as addicted to fine arts. That's not only noticeable in terms of their fashion but also becomes quite clear when looking at their imaginative store concept: in the centre of the fashionable goings-on in the Cologne store stands a tree. From season to season, Chang hangs new and interesting objects on the tree. Sometimes paper lace doilies adorn the tree, sometimes it's garments and accessories in full bloom. The man behind this concept is native Korean and a graduate from the fashion school in Trier. In Paris he learned the art of layered felting and he worked as a stylist all over Europe. Now he's selling his own fashion in the Belgian district. The characteristics of his style are wide and round slits in the sleeves and modified kimono cuts. Chang's aesthetic is mix of classic elements and avant-garde ideas. He loves extraordinary fabrics and values the exploration of materials and their innovative implementation. For all those among you with a green fashion thumb: off to Chang's fashion botany!
SIGHTS in Cologne:
Magenta is the new lavender. The designers made their decision and that's what they got for this concept store. The colour is resplendent at the entrance, it fills the shelves of the shoe salon, adds a special touch to the men's fashion and is splashed across the walls behind the eveningwear. On the topic of colour, the famous red shoes by Christian Louboutin can of course be found here alongside Miu Miu, Prada, Gucci and all of the other usual suspects in the luxury selection. If your head begins to spin take a break in the classy Fischermanns' restaurant. There's even something for art lovers: the store regularly holds vernissages in its venerable hall.
He'd love nothing better than to wander around in his silk bath rope all day long and sell art - this is what gallery owner Coskun Gueven has once said. He probably doesn't wear his silk bath rope all day long, but he does sell art in his gallery Arty Farty. The focus: street art. The monthly altering exhibitions feature young artists' positions which are deeply anchored in urban subcultures. During the last two years Arty Farty has developed into a metropolitan and non-academic art scene. The visitors of the gallery are especially interested in contemporary trends outside the usual art business. You find graffiti and illustrations, sculptures and photography and artists like Swanski, Morcky, Raymond Lemstra, Will Barras, Joska, Sozy One, Beekei, Herr Schulze and Wayne Horse have already presented their works here.
Get your comedy nose on and get ready for some fun! The largest carnival museum in any German speaking country impresses guests both young and old with carnival floats, puppets and many other carnival facets, from the comical antiques to the less comical National Socialism to the delights of present day. In February the Cologne jesters know no bounds, as that's when carnival is celebrated in earnest. Sounds, images and various objects combine to present visitors with the true feeling and atmosphere of the carnival. The clowning around in Cologne is taken very seriously: 1.5 million viewers follow the Rosenmontagszug on television while 10,500 jesters take part in the procession. So why not get some practice in early: Kölle Alaaf!
EAT in Cologne:
There's still plenty of loading going on where the trucks once drew up. But now the loading is from the plate into the mouth. What still remains are the high ceilings, the glass and the iron - principally the industrial design. The cuisine, in contrast, is somewhat random, combining French with Italian, Asian with German fare. But does it really matter? It all ends up in the same place after all. What to expect, however, is not so easy to predict, as the menu changes monthly. So if you insist on trying everything you'll have to plan more than one visit. Others will have to make do with what's there, including a view of Cologne going about its daily life.
Order cola and wine here and you might as well get your coat. Fischers Weingenuss is exclusively for wine aficionados. The ?wine bible' boasts 700 different wines, leaving wine lovers utterly spoilt for choice. Fortunately the menu provides handy hints as to which wine goes with which dish. This way you won't turn red when ordering the Grünen Veltliner from Kemptal to accompany braised knuckle of lamb Carpaccio. If your wine knowledge is somewhat lacking, then why not attend a wine seminar: Christina Fischer is on hand to provide novices and connoisseurs alike with a big glass of passion. After this course you'll never order cola and wine again!
A mango lassi in the fresh summer air. Feynsinn is a particularly popular meeting point for late risers, especially in the summer months. You can enjoy breakfast here until 4 p.m., and the selection is both broad and international: French croissants, muesli and scrambled eggs with tomatoes and basil are all on the menu. The finest produce organic farming has to offer can be found on the lunch menu, including organic curd cheese and chicken strips. To follow up the happy chickens we recommend schnapps from Jean-Paul Metté and then a pub tour through the student quarter.