STAY in Cologne:
Superlatives should be retained. That's exactly what interior architect Andreé Putman had in mind when converting Europe's tallest water tower into a fascinating luxury hotel. Punching a few holes in the walls was not going to suffice. High-quality materials and the somewhat angular floor plan due to the rounded outer wall lend the hotel a comfortable and stylish atmosphere. Add to that W-LAN, a sauna, a limousine transfer service and a touch of art deco and the luxurious final package is complete. A roof-top, Michelin star restaurant crowns the hotel. If you have any further questions the excellent service team will no doubt provide you with the answers. Double room from EUR 175 per night.
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.
At Grandhotel Schloss Bensberg the husband and wife General Directors stroll around with their noses pointing toward the ceiling. But it has nothing to do with arrogance, but instead the breathtaking view of Cologne. To enjoy it you have to go slightly out of your way with the hotel located twelve kilometres from the city. But it's worth every metre: the three-hundred-year-old baroque palace not only offers historic masonry, but also a spa in a class of its own and a jeweller for a touch of extra class. If that's not to your liking then sit back in the Jacuzzi in your own room, turn down the lights and enjoy the home cinema facility. Schloss Bensberg serves French cuisine in Vendome (of course decorated with Michelin stars) and Mediterranean fare in Enoteca. Wines from an exceptionally long wine card are available in the hotel's two bars. Bensberg is classic, conservative and simply kingly. Double room from EUR 190 per night.
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.
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.
Dine in a glass palace. Skulpturenpark is not only a must because of its artwork, but also its trendy lounge. The view is amazing. The food is a delight. Hase Catering is behind the delicacies in the stylish setting. With a panorama view of the park events come accompanied by finger food, Asian treats or healthy dishes low in carbohydrates. Even if you're not on the guest list you should still take in the Parklounge. Claus Föttinger decked out the event location in a cool retro look with his photo collages. And while you're there don't forget to check out the Skulpturenpark, which has some art of its own.
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.
Come in and chill out! For 15 years now Pollerwiesen has been a stop for international DJ lines in dub, club, house, techno and pretty much everything else that goes with electronic party music. There's no shortage of space: the 20,000m² is ample space for up to 10,000 revellers. If you can't tear yourself away then opt for a season ticket. For an investment of 48 euros you can be involved every Sunday. And as the party gets going in the afternoon, you'll still have plenty of time to enjoy the Cologne nightlife and party around the clock.
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!
SHOPPING in Cologne:
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!
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!
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!