This Is What a Hotel With No Straight Lines Looks Like
Behold Hamburg's new Fontenay Hotel.
On the tree-filled shores of the glistening Alster Lake in Hamburg, Germany, an undulating structure rises up, recalling the water’s ripples. Covered in thousands of bright white porcelain tiles, the curvaceous building shimmers with the light off the lake.
This is the striking home of the recently opened Fontenay Hotel, part of the Leading Hotels of the World, and Hamburg’s first five-star hotel to open in 18 years. Conceived as a “hotel in the park” by renowned Berlin architect Jan Störmer, the build’s amorphous shape and sculpted roofscape blend seamlessly with the riverside surroundings.
Completing Störmer’s one-with-nature vision is a sculptural fountain at the hotel’s entrance called Heaven Mirror. The circular mosaic comprises more than 200 granite blocks that reflect the sky and the surrounding trees when viewed from the rooftop above.
“The Fontenay’s uncommon design is nothing short of an artistic masterpiece,” says The Leading Hotels of the World’s President & Chief Executive Officer, Ted Teng.
Inside, the organic and circular themes continue throughout, with custom-made furniture and decor, like a curving 82-foot sofa in the atrium, semi-circular rugs in the room corridors, and contouring marmorino walls— a meticulous Italian plastering craft.
“The shape of the facade is either concave or convex—hardly any wall is parallel to another,” explains Störmer. “So a lot of time and effort was put into sourcing materials and products—off-the-peg solutions were not feasible with the organic shape of the building.”
And while every corner of the 130-room hotel is impressive, the 88-foot glass atrium is the centerpiece. The airy space is fitted with 198 satinized, scaled panels that appear to move, as if being caressed by a gentle breeze. Adding to the ethereal feel is the glittering, 20-foot chandelier that was designed by Dutch firm Brand van Egmond and hangs at the lobby’s curvilinear center.
After marveling at the architectural ingenuity, take in the hotel’s somewhat more conventional amenities: a modern library stocked with more than 1,000 books selected in cooperation with Hamburg-based book store Felix Jud; the Smoker’s Room, which offers a small but premium selection of cigars; and Parkview, a relaxed restaurant with a spacious terrace featuring views across the lake.
On the top floor is the Fontenay Bar, which has dark herringbone parquet floors, walls clad in Makassar ebony, and a 20-foot-long monolithic bar. The bar’s terrace has 320-degree panoramic views of Hamburg’s five main churches, Alster Lake, and the famous Elbphilarmonic building. Adjacent is Lakeside, a light-filled contemporary fine dining restaurant run by 32-year-old Cornelius Speinle, who earned one Michelin star in his home country of Switzerland.
Also on the top floor is the 10,000 square-foot Fontenay Spa with a fitness center, Finnish sauna, steam room, multi-sensory showers, an ice well, and a private spa suite. The crown jewel is the 65-foot long indoor/outdoor infinity pool and rooftop terrace for lounging in the sun.
Teng, for one, feels that the Fontenay has become one of the defining structures of Germany’s second-largest city. “In a city filled with history, architect Jan Störmer’s work stands out as an architectural tour de force.”