Radisson SAS Media Harbour Hotel Düsseldorf: A new star is born – Boutique hotel in the harbour

03 Oct 2005



– The names of the architects with buildings in Düsseldorf’s media harbour reads like a who’s who of the international architectural scene. An “architectural zoo,” as Hartmut Miksch calls the collection. The president of the regional chamber of architects lives in a dynamically contoured triangular building just a stone’s throw from the famous Gehry buildings.

But this area, which just decades ago was dominated by dreary empty warehouses, is now not only an acclaimed architectural site – the harbour is trendy and modern, and it is thriving. The interplay between old and new, the combination of high-tech media and listed warehouses, the juxtaposition of quay walls and wrought-iron railings from 1896 with cutting-edge constructions – that is what makes the area attractive. Almost half of the companies located here belong to the media, IT and communication sectors or the advertising industry. Harbours extend the horizon and open your eyes. They are trading posts with huge symbolic power; they stand for freedom and vision.

But creatives aren’t the only ones to fill the Media Harbour restaurants at lunchtime and in the evenings. The harbour has developed into a gastronomic magnet, the place to be in Düsseldorf. The number of restaurants and bars is growing all the time. There are more than 30 restaurants, bars, clubs and discos to choose from – Meerbar or Harpune, Kölner Eigelstein or Riva. From the roof terrace of the sixth floor spa and gym of the new hip, ultra modern Radisson SAS Media Harbour Hotel on Hammer Strasse, you can see them all: the creatives and the fashionistas, the accomplished businessmen and the hipsters. The Colorium to your left, the Rheinturm to your right, and the heart of the stylish harbour right in the middle – design on the banks of the Rhine.

New design on the banks of the Rhine

The Radisson SAS Media Harbour Hotel has been designed by the architect Erich Grimbacher. The hotel is an eye-catcher even from the outside: the extravagant V-shaped façade made from Brazilian slate with a cloudy structure containing quartz (Dorfer Grün stone). Thanks to the generous panoramic windows, the slanting outer walls look transparent, light and reserved. The two terraces for those who want to see and be seen are extensive. Fountains and Asian-looking flora decorate the foyer on Hammer Strasse, while white swathes of fabric are suspended between box trees, yews and beech by Zollhof. The dark wicker furniture is inviting and comfortable.

A building full of surprises: the Barolo red foyer with its huge chandelier made of glittering glass crystals – handmade in Italy – does not lead straight to the reception as in other hotels. The guest has the choice of heading left to the bar, going straight ahead to the restaurant, or bearing right into the club lounge, after which comes the reception desk with its impressive silver leaf and leather surface.

The hotel is a meeting place for guests with an interest in design and the latest trends – people who want more than a place to stay for the night. The star interior designer Matteo Thun plays with materials and opens up new perspectives: the stunning floor made of precious, dark wenge wood. The bar with gold leaf, the counter made of jacaranda with an intense shine, and the gold-plated bar stools – an irresistible eye-catcher. The bar area with its full-length windows looks out onto the terrace and allows guests to share in the comings and goings out in the harbour. With its fireside, the lounge is perfect for those who prefer to take a more relaxed approach. Here, casual glamour prevails between black and cognac-coloured leather armchairs and sofas. Ideal for chilling out, as a meeting point, or for a conversation with business associates.

The glazed, walk-in wine cabinet is quite simply unique, offering space for 1,000 bottles and small, intimate tastings. It is the jewel at the heart of the Italian restaurant “Amano”. The gastronomic designer Henry Chebaane, Creative Director of Blue Sky Hospitality in London, developed a unique restaurant concept especially for this four-star plus boutique hotel. The Italian expression “fatto a mano” means handmade and, abbreviated to “Amano”, gave the exclusive restaurant its name. “Really, we are a restaurant with a hotel built around it,” says Hotel Director Thomas Swieca with a grin. “Amano” is more than a trattoria. Be it in the bar or in the lounge, at the dark wooden tables in the restaurant or on the terraces – everything from breakfast to a nightcap is served everywhere, like in a living room. Guests can choose their favourite place on the spur of the moment. The atmosphere is relaxed – dolce vita by the Rhine.

From the pasta to the panna cotta, the food is simple, delicious and made by hand using fresh ingredients straight from the market. The bread is sliced on a sideboard made of olive wood and served in wooden bowls to match. The glasses were made specially, and they glitter in shades of amber in the candlelight. Even the chefs are a sight to behold, often mingling with the guests in their black outfits.

Anyone who would prefer a more intimate atmosphere can retreat into the private dining room for a maximum of 16 people. Its red velvet curtains and light sculpture made of glass crystals alone exude a very special atmosphere. Separated by a dark red sliding glass door, guests there are set apart from what is going on outside, yet still a part of it – visible yet still amongst themselves.

“The new hotel is in the heart of the harbour, and we will make sure it becomes even livelier here,” says Hotel Director Thomas Swieca. That goes for the two boardrooms as well, of course, which offer the very best setting for exclusive meetings. But above all, it applies to the 132 guest rooms (prices from 145 Euro excluding breakfast) and the three luxury suites (from 265 Euro).

Designer Matteo Thun has also created original and distinctive interiors in the rooms. Starting with the colour scheme on the individual floors: lilac-coloured walls pick out the colour of the stripes in the deep-pile carpet. Here as throughout the building, one cannot fail to notice the agreeable light provided by the specially made lamps. Matteo Thun avoids glaring light, preferring too little light rather than too much, because that is the only way to foster warmth and intimacy.

The furnishings in the rooms with their full-length windows are extremely sophisticated and of the very highest quality. The feel-good factor was of utmost importance when choosing the furniture. The combination of materials is as unusual as the colourful highlights – vibrant and trendy. Matteo Thun loves playing with colours: retro, 70s-style cyclamen-coloured floor lamps, silver metallic wallpaper, pale headboards, silvery grey designer armchairs and sofas, wardrobes with red lacquered doors. Guests who are used to basking in style will want for nothing – flat screens and free wireless Internet access are also included as standard.

The bathrooms are another highlight, resembling a small private oasis of well-being, with clear, straightforward shapes and great attention to detail. A walk-in shower with a rainforest showerhead, a beautiful iridescent mother-of-pearl mosaic, and glass walls leading on to the sleeping area all make the bathroom a true masterpiece.