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.
Globetrotters will feel at home here: the Savoy's rooms are decorated in a range of styles including African, American, Asian and European, offering guests a colourful mix somewhere between bamboo and bonsai, lido and lotus, out of Africa and oriental. In order to see all of the continents you'll have to stay longer, but for short stays the 650m² beauty farm and the wicker beach chairs on the terrace facing Cologne Cathedral will keep a smile on your face. And when you're done with vodka martinis in the James Bond Suite, you can skip across to Divas Bar and take your pick from a vast selection of cigars and wines. Life can be so simple! You barely have to step outside. One night in a double room from EUR 185.
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.
SIGHTS in Cologne:
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.
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.
Fans of modern art will be impressed: the gallery sells work by Kandinsky, David Hockney, Gerhard Richter and Joseph Beuys, and stylistically lies somewhere between abstract expressionism, constructivism and tusche on cartridge paper. Yet the old masters Picasso and Matisse are also represented, allowing the less educated art lovers to benefit. It begs the question of whether the Picasso really will go over the counter and at what price. If you're less than certain concerning your choice of artwork, you can call upon the in-house experts for advice. Only then can you say for certain that you possess art with a seal of approval!
EAT in Cologne:
A packed lunch has never tasted so good. Never before have school friends been so green with envy. The sandwiches by restaurant specialist Christian Bauer offer lightly salted butter spread on sourdough bread, covered with gouda, Milano salami, fig mustard or something equally as good. The crust is crispy, the middle succulent. What more could you want from a sandwich? Perhaps a soup or a cake or some rustic flair? They have it all! As everything is freshly made, short waiting times are to be expected. It may well be quicker to pick up a meal at McDonald's, but if you want to find crispy lettuce in your sandwich, then skip the golden arches and head to Bauers.
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.
What does it for you? Fresh and firm, mature and round, or deep and complex? No, we're not talking about men, but the wine at Le Moissonnier. Yet not only the wine card reads like a who-is-who of the winemakers guild. The food menu tells a similar culinary tale. For example: filet of Breton sole with a brown butter sauce and truffle jus, grilled fennel bulbs with tomato essence, Calamaretti and mange tout with mint. Sound good? To accompany a splendid meal the restaurant even serves up a Jugendstil ambience. Et voilà, c'est formidable!
SHOPPING in 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!
The Swedes may well be the kings of furniture design, but what you can find in Engelelf's housewares department isn't half bad: take for example the bottle opener in the form of a table-football player, or the red plastic deer antler which double as a coat hook. Engelelf is also imaginative when it comes to fashion: the one-of-a-kind creations of young designers are often very limited in supply and therefore quickly snapped up - meaning occasional customers promptly become regulars. Traditional shoppers looking for consistency will feel out of place here: even the art on the walls changes constantly - one day there are digital prints, the next day there's photography, then paintings a day later. If you don't want to miss something, you'll have to stop by daily!
Blutsgeschwister's trademarks are colourful and flowery. With a range of cardigans, neon belts, zebra costumes and girly accessories Blutsgeschwister defines a trend somewhere between street wear and retro style, without taking its eye off the fun factor. They like to call it individual soul wear and even go as far as to design fun fashion for the smallest of customers - the next generation of trendsetters. The Blutsbaby collection was designed especially for the Bluts matching look. And of course you'll need a worthy home, suitable for life together: the home wear line includes colourful cushions to liven up life behind closed doors.