One of the world's most surprising new hotels is Germany's latest Radisson SAS—a futuristic skyscraper given a colorful (and comfortable) treatment by design superstars Adam D. Tihany and Matteo Thun.
HOTEL Radisson SAS Frankfurt ROOM COUNT 428 RESTAURANTS Two options. We preferred the Mediterranean-inspired Gaia, where our favorite dish was quail and chorizo sausage served with purple figs and peppered-tuna rice NICE SURPRISE The health club's seemingly endless pool, which faces Frankfurt's Manhattan-like skyline COST Doubles from $245 CONTACT 49-69/770-1550; www.frankfurt.radissonsas.com
THE LOOK Forty-six years after Arne Jacobsen created Radisson SAS's first hotel in Copenhagen, the fast-growing chain (currently comprising 133 properties) continues its tradition of tapping A-list designers. At its latest property, Adam D. Tihany has created public spaces in a style he calls Industrial Luxe: glimmering rooms and functional objets d'art (such as his iconic suspended wine tower) contrast with the exposed concrete of the structure itself. Matteo Thun painted the 15 floors in bold reds, pinks, and oranges, then gave the rooms an understated palette. Each follows one of four themes; guests choose according to their mood. The $135 million edifice—which resembles a blue glass-and-metal disc floating between the autobahn and Frankfurt's exposition grounds—provides a surprising bit of whimsy in an otherwise buttoned-up city.
THE SCENE Expect transient bankers in Hugo Boss suits mixing with packs of cosmopolitan conference-goers. The crowd turns over as quickly as the expos, which range from the Design Annual to the Tattoo Convention.
THE ROOMS Pick your theme: At Home is awash in dark chocolate tones, with leather-clad nightstands and carpeting patterned to resemble wooden floors. Wenge-wood desks and felt covers in anthracite and burgundy define Chic. The Warhol-inspired flower prints on bright blue carpets in Fresh made us feel as if we'd walked into a Pop Art painting. Our favorite is Fashion, which uses yards of colorful Missoni fabric for its pillows, bed throws, and oversize headboards. (It's a teaser for the Italian design house's plan to develop a new hotel brand with Radisson.) Whichever you choose, consider upgrading to an east-facing business-class room to avoid the standards' tiny closets and drab views.
THE SERVICE Five separate reception desks (in luminous yellow Lucite) made our check-in swift. After a Fresh night, we asked for a Fashion experience; a room swap was made possible well before noon—leaving plenty of time for the ultimate day tour of Frankfurt that the concierge had organized for us. Our itinerary: a private tour of the birthplace of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, followed by a romp on the Ebbelwoi (Apple Wine) Express, a streetcar that cruises to pubs purveying the hard cider the locals have grown up with.
THE FACILITIES Free broadband and wireless Internet access is good news for workaholics, as is the IT concierge, who can troubleshoot computer meltdowns. After a hard day hitting the convention floors, the crowd at the glamorous WunderBar turns unwinding into an art form. For a second, we almost forgot that we'd come here on business.