The fourth-largest city in Germany is a characterful 2,000-year-old metropolis by the Rhine River. It’s known for its impressive high-gothic architecture, Romanesque churches, world-class museums and historic old town. From design-led boutique hotels to convenient business hotels, this is our pick of the best hotels in Cologne, Germany – now bookable with Culture Trip.
If you’re travelling for business, it’s hard to go past this convenient hotel in Cologne’s Belgian Quarter. There are 190 rooms – ranging from budget-friendly economy rooms to luxurious suites set over two floors – and packages are available for business, trade fair, individual and group reservations. There are four bright conference rooms with space for up to 45 people, as well as the latest media screen technology. Don’t fancy catching a cab? Book the hotel’s personalised shuttle service.
This design-led hotel in Cologne holds a special place in the city’s history, as it is built into a water tower constructed by English engineer John Moore in 1868. The 36m (116ft) masonry tower is the largest of its kind in Europe and gives the hotel a unique character. The lobby sets the scene with its 11m-high (36ft) ceilings, original cast-iron spiral staircase from 1872 and artwork by the likes of Andy Warhol, and there are 88 pet-friendly hotel rooms to choose from. Enjoy dinner at the rooftop restaurant and lounge, which boasts expansive views over the city and an innovative menu serving the likes of duck with liver ice cream, polenta popcorn and kohlrabi.
The imposing Neo-Gothic building, in the centre of Cologne’s midtown, dates back to 1897 and once housed the city’s archives. Today, it’s a luxurious hotel filled with a museum-worthy collection of vintage designer furniture, mid-century modern originals and contemporary photography. There are 34 rooms and suites designed by Michael Kaune – including one that incorporates Werner Pantone’s Living Tower furniture sculpture and another one with a hand-painted medieval wooden ceiling from 1390. There are also two elegant two-bedroom townhouses decorated with contemporary art by the likes of George Holz, Jo Fober, Stefan Heyne and Silvi Tillmann.
This grand family-owned five-star hotel in Cologne, next to the cathedral, dates back to 1863 and has 137 elegant rooms and suites, ranging from a 25sqm (270sqft) Classic Room to the lavish 80sqm (861sqft) Excelsior Suites. There are also three restaurants, including the award-winning Hanse Stube, which serves dishes such as cream soup of ramson with asparagus tempura, plus the Michelin-starred Taku restaurant, which offers an East Asian-inspired menu – think organic chicken with celery in salt dough, aka miso and young leek, or Norway lobster with chilli and ginger sauce, crustacean bisque and coriander.
Looking for a wedding venue in Cologne? It doesn’t get much more romantic than this grand hotel overlooking the bay of Cologne, providing wonderful views of Cologne Cathedral. There are 84 hotel rooms and 36 suites, including the impressive Presidential Suite with two bedrooms and a large marble bathroom with a private sauna and a Jacuzzi. The three-Michelin-starred Restaurant Vendôme offers five-, eight- or 10-course set menus with dishes such as langoustine and tandoori masala with lemon-pepper gin sauce and calamaretti, and pork with wheat beer, lovage sauce, grapes and mustard-cauliflower purée. There’s also a 1,000sqm (10,764sqft) spa with a menu of indulgent treatments.
Just a few minutes’ walk from the city, in an architecturally impressive rotunda that dates back to the 1950s, is this cool hotel, which was designed in collaboration with interior designer Werner Aisslinger and inspired by Retrofuturism. The interior features a main hall with a cafe and co-working spaces as well as 207 rooms that are a celebration of the Sixties style – think exposed concrete, pops of yellow and teal, and sculptural designer furniture. On the eighth floor, you’ll discover Restaurant NENI, which serves flavour-packed dishes such as Korean fried chicken bites and pulled-beef burger. The hotel also lets guests borrow one of its four speedster bikes, including a map of the best bike routes in the city, and can organise a test drive of a MINI.
This luxurious hotel takes inspiration from the contrasting neighbourhoods of arty Ehrenfeld and refined Lindenthal that it sits between. The interior combines classic styling with strikingly modern accents, while the menu at the in-house cantinetta trattoria and bar unites traditional Italian cuisine with quality local ingredients – think spaghetti con gamberetti and tortellini ricotta. Choose from standard, comfort or premium rooms, all of which have plenty of natural light and elegant furnishings. The Vitality spa and fitness area features a Finnish sauna, a wellness experience shower, a solarium and a quiet room, alongside various cardio machines, including a treadmill and a cross trainer.
Located in the historic Kaiser-Wilhelm-Bad (spa), which dates back to 1913, this elegant hotel is full of charismatic details, like the ornate mosaics by German artist Ernst Wille at the entrance, or the mural by the stairway of the original library. There are 113 spacious rooms – including a family room for two adults and two children – and two suites. Bio’s Bar is named after German TV personality Alfred Biolek, who gifted a number of photographs and awards from his illustrious career. KWB restaurant, meanwhile, serves up delicious German food, such as pheasant breast with cranberry jus, creamed sausage and baked potato.
Motel One is known for its affordable design hotels around the world – and this hotel south of Cologne’s historic city centre is a shining example. The design takes its cues from the traditional German Eau de Cologne 4711 and the Rhine River, with a wave-shaped reception desk, a stylised bridge motif adorning the walls and a fun LED display behind the bar. The rooms are simply-yet-comfortably furnished and feature vibrant blue or gold curtains that frame views of the city. Travelling on a budget? Book the One – a cosy 16sqm (172sqft) standard room boasting a granite bathroom with a rain shower.
Looking for more great places to stay? Check out our guide to the best boutique hotels in Cologne, bookable with Culture Trip.
Destinations Unlocked:Let our travel expert Stefano help you find your perfect Culture trip
Looking for an expert's perspective?Uncover my top 3 recommended places from each continent on the map.
1. GuatemalaAn express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.
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3. MexicoAn exciting mini trip exploring the lesser known colonial towns of central Mexico. This is hte perfect trip for someone with limited time off and still wants to turn on explorer mode and do something different.
1. EcuadorA remarkable 8 days adventure through the Andes and the Amazon rainforest. The best choice for adventure seekers wishing to visit the 2 most iconic areas of South America, in only 1 week and no flights.
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1. ItalyThe ultimate Italian experience from the vibrant streets of Naples to the breathtaking sceneries of the Amalfi Coast followed by Matera and down to Puglia with its golden beaches, intense flavours and fascinating destinations.
2. ScotlandEmbark on this great adventure starting from London all the way to Scotland with a true Scottish experience made of breathtaking sceneries, whisky tasting and ..lots of fun! Ideal for train lovers and explorers.
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1. South KoreaDiscover incredible temples, mountains and modern cities on this 10 day adventure. This trip is perfect for those seeking immersion in the cuisine, culture and natural wonders of South Korea.
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3. Sri LankaA fantastic adventure that showcases Sri Lanka's fantastic landscapes, wildlife and flavours. With 3 epic rail journeys, 3 UNESCO heritage sites and time to relax, this trip has loads to offer at a great price
1. MoroccoAn epic journey across Morocco: from Casablanca to Marrakech, through the blue city of Chefchaouen to the wonders of the desert and deep to the High Atlas Mountains - this trip has it all! Ideal for true explorers!
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