Cologne bears archaeological treasures from the past 2,000 years, fantastic museums and architectural sights that fill days and days worth of exploring. If you’re set on visiting the charming city and lost for ideas on where to stay, check our list of the best hotels in Cologne below. We’ve picked some of the best value-for-money deals, stylish boutique hotels, and high-end luxury establishments in the city centre that make for a great base for a sightseeing trip.
Hotel Flandrischer Hof
Hotel Flandrischer Hof, Cologne | Courtesy of Hotel Flandrischer Hof / Hotels.com
If you want to see everything that’s hip and cool about Cologne, the Hotel Flandrischer Hof is the perfect base. Located at the heart of the upbeat Belgian Quarter neighbourhood, this three-star hotel is surrounded by some of the city’s best bars, boutiques, burger joints, clubs and cafés. More high-street shops are minutes away, as is one of the most popular green spaces, Aachener Weiher, where locals gather for barbecues, picnics and open-air club nights in the summer.
These days, Europe’s largest former water tower houses one of the city’s top hotels, Hotel im Wasserturm. Shopping enthusiasts will be delighted to hear that Cologne’s main shopping precinct of Schildergasse and Hohe Straße is only a short stroll away, while all major attractions can either be reached on foot or via a quick U-bahn ride from the nearby station. The inside of this 19th-century brick cylinder is divided into more than 75 contemporary and stylish rooms, two restaurants, a ballroom and banquet hall, a bar, gym, sauna and beauty salon.
Design lovers will take a fancy to Qvest – a trendy hotel run by the German high-end travel and design magazine of the same name. The hotel has moved into the rooms of the former city archive, a beautiful neo-Gothic building with columns, arches, quatrefoil windows and views of the Basilica St. Gereon. The light-flooded and individually decorated rooms are on the modern end of the scale, with chrome fixings, bright colours and simplistic furniture. Breakfast is available but given that the hotel is situated at the fringe of the hip and trendy Belgian Quarter that boasts countless cafés, bars and restaurants – you might find that eating out is a more viable choice.
The Humboldt1 Hotel occupies a prestigious spot in Cologne city centre, only minutes away from the cathedral. Furnished with plush sofas, crystal chandeliers and ornamental décor, the boutique hotel offers a sense of exclusivity, which is underlined by the fact that guests can choose from seven rooms that are spread out across five floors of the narrow building. Breakfast is included and is served in the glamorous piano bar, which is open to outside guests on mid-week evenings.
With its stellar location right next to Cologne’s imposing Gothic cathedral and across the road from Cologne’s central station, the Excelsior Hotel Ernst has been the paragon of classical elegance since it opened its doors in 1863. The interior is decked out in dark wood, marble, gold elements and oil paintings and, to this day, the luxurious rooms and suites welcome those who cherish impeccable service. Guests have access to the gym and spa, or can book in-room treatments. The two on-site restaurants dish up exquisite French cuisine (Hanse Stube) and contemporary Asian food (Taku) between them.
Joining the list of historical-buildings-turned-top-hotel is the Hopper Hotel St. Josef, which moved into an old monastery in the Südstadt quarter. Much of the original charm of the building has not only been preserved but incorporated into the modern finishing of the interior – the redbrick façade is an eye-catcher, breakfast is served in the former chapel, still featuring the vaulted ceiling and beautiful stained glass windows, and the basement holds a Finnish sauna.
Those looking for a best-value-for-money compromise can’t go wrong with the Waidmarkt branch of the Motel One hotel chain. Most attractions, the main shopping area and the old town are within walking distance from here and, if you’re visiting in December, you have several Christmas markets at your doorstep. The hotel features a modern design throughout and Motel One prides itself on excellent customer service, squeaky-clean rooms and must-have amenities, such as free Wi-Fi and a 24-hour reception desk.