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.
The Sunday Times Travel Magazine has chosen the art'otel group as one of the 100 best hotels in the world - the branch in Cologne presents itself as an art temple. Its location at the newly developed Rheinauhafen demonstrates that the hotel addresses the many creative visitors from this region. Part of the permanent collection of the hotel are the astonishing works of the Korean artist SEO, master student of Georg Baselitz. They played a crucial role in the design of the 218 rooms. The interior is kept in bright nuances, simple forms and with only few colour accents in order to put SEO's colourful motives into the foreground. Depending on the hotel category (Art'Room, Art'Room XL, Art'Corner Room and Art'Panorama Room) you'll find more or less works hanging on the wall. During a museum-like tour through the hotel you can also be shown the rest of the artists' works.
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.
EAT in Cologne:
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.
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.
London, Leeds, Nottingham and Cologne. Apart from three English cities there's now also a subsidiary of the Pan-Asian restaurant concept with a special twist in the city on the Rhine. The menu unites influences from China, South East Asia and modern Japan. That means more specifically: there is sushi, dim sum and tempura but also main courses like red snapper grilled in banana leaf with lemon grass-coconut-sauce or black codfish in chilli-garlic-marinade with mango-caviar. Afterwards the guests can choose between desserts like yogurt cake with a liquid core, passion fruit jelly and blue curaçao air or red bull snow with lemon fruit salad. The dishes are served step-by-step. In this way a communicative and relaxed atmosphere is created. And in the Latin American cocktail bar the barkeeper serves drinks with fine and fresh ingredients.
SHOPPING in Cologne:
If you enter Zeitgeist than you can let loose of any ideas that you will leave with an untouched wallet. Many of the design products will spontaneously vault your heart to a higher frequency and let the sweat glands of your palms work hard. The cerebrum shouts: want! For example the iPod docking station in the shape of a bear by Be@rbrick, which women find cute and men cool. Or, who would not want one of the stylish Dom Pérignon Vintage 2000 bottles in Andy Warhol edition stand in his or her shelve? Or travel around with the Pentax Optio NB 1000 and then shine out of the tourist masses with the camera in self-made Lego design? If you live this kind of zeitgeist, you will leave this store as a happy person.
If you go shopping in Cologne, you simply cannot pass 4711 without venturing in. It's said that even Napoleon swore by the Eau de Cologne. But back in his day it was sold as a cure-all for listlessness and tiredness. There are other products for that nowadays, but the Eau de Cologne still does a fine job against strong smells. The 4711 main office in the centre of Cologne is a paradise for souvenir hunters. Here you'll find Kölnisch Wasser for the whole family, as well as authentic Kölnisch Wasser shower gel, soap and nostalgia packages. Even the shop itself gets in on the act, sporting a 4711 fountain at the entrance. Discover the exhibition dedicated to the history of the product on the gallery and the tapestry that depicts Napoleon as a graffiti artist. Curious? Then head to the fragrant delights!
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.
SIGHTS in Cologne:
To clear up any misconceptions: no, the athletes neither run in tutus nor do they dress all in pink. The Gay Games are held under the rainbow flag, but absolutely anyone may take part in the marathon, hurdles and freestyle swimming, irrespective of their sexual preference. Since 1991 Christopher Street Day has developed into Cologne's mega event, with hundreds of thousands expected year for year. Aside from the sporting events there are proud podium discussions and speeches on equality. DJs are on hand to get the crowd swinging at the CSD street festival, and there's a special honour for the best float in the CSD parade. Colour your life!
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!