Category : Frankfurt
Europe is known more for the horizontal nature of its cities; cities full of ancient architectural treasures that rise tens of metres and not hundreds. To a large degree it’s out of respect for such monuments as the Paris Opera House, Westminster Abbey and the Kremlin that American-style skylines have not emerged to smother their classical beauty. But within the last several decades, there has been a building boom in Europe, resulting in buildings that are not only cutting edge in design… but are very tall. Here are a few of the tallest.
City of Capitals Moscow, Moscow, Russia
More than any other city, Moscow has been leading the charge and now lays claim not only to five of the top ten tallest buildings on the continent, but also to the top three on the list. The tallest of these is the City of Capitols Moscow. Completed in 2010, this shining structure rises 310.6 metres from the street below. This makes it an imposing sight, especially in light of the fact that its neighboring City of Capitals St. Petersburg is only 44.7 metres shorter. Luckily for us, this is one of those skyscrapers offering lots of access to the public, as the upper half of the building offer a 10,800 square metre entertainment complex, including shops, restaurants, movie theatres, presentation halls and a huge 2,480 square metre fitness centre. There’s also 101,440 square metres of large apartments and 80,000 square metres of office space. If you want to sleep with a view of the towers, the two-star Moscow Apartments are right across the river.
Sapphire of Istanbul, Istanbul, Turkey
After Moscow, the number four spot goes to the Sapphire of Istanbul, which weighs in at a height of 238 metres. Of course, some skyscraper enthusiasts like to count the spire, which makes the height 261 metres. Rising 54 floors above ground level, the Sapphire offers lots of shopping, as well as once-impossible views of the Bosphorus. An especially nice way to enjoy your view is while floating in the swimming pool located 33.5 metres up the building. Or how about a game of golf at 163 metres? But what makes the Sapphire unique are the building’s gardens that are found every three floors and the recreation areas that can be found every 10 stories. Since the main purpose of the building is residential, the designers have gone to great lengths to make it livable. The Sapphire is Turkey’s first green building, having two special glass shells which can take the outside air naturally by holes located at every 3 floors. If you want to sleep close to the Sapphire, the five-star Avantgarde Hotel Istanbul makes an excellent choice.
Commerzbank Tower, Frankfurt, Germany
Second only to Moscow in the number of skyscrapers, the financial centre of Frankfurt-am-Main boasts two of the top ten tallest buildings in Europe. The tallest is Commerzbank Tower, which passed up the Messeturm upon its 1997 completion. It’s actually difficult to stand out from the competition in the modern skyline that has earned the city the nickname of “Mainhattan.” But at 259 metres and boasting a unique modern design, Commerzbank Tower does just that. Especially when you throw in the signal light on top which increases the height to 300.1 metres. It’s no surprise that the two tallest buildings in Frankfurt are office buildings, thus lacking the creature comforts of the Sapphire. But in addition to its 121,000 square metres of office space, this 56-story building also offers beautiful winter gardens, and the natural lighting and air circulation give it a light breezy feeling. If you want a break from the modern buildings in the Frankfurt skyline, just a block from the Commerzbank Tower is the more classic structure housing the five-star luxury Steigenberger Frankfurter Hof Hotel.
Cuatro Torres, Madrid, Spain
Though Madrid’s entry into the top ten is technically the 250 metre-high Torre Caja Madrid, it wouldn’t make sense not to include the building’s three partners, Torre de Cristal, Torre Sacyr Vallehermosothe and Torre Espacio. All built between 2007 and 2009, these four modern wonders make up the Cuatro Torres. Their proximity and their similar heights (Torre de Cristal is only 89 centimetres shorter than Torre Caja Madrid) make the four buildings part of a greater whole. A brand-new landmark for the grand old capital of Madrid, the towers, set on the north end of the city, are hard to miss, whether you’re landing at nearby Barajas Airport or hiking up the Sierra de Guadarrama Mountains outside the city. Located in a business and entertainment district, there are many shops, restaurants and hotels in the surrounding area. But you can’t get much closer than the five star Eurostars Madrid Tower Hotel, as it is actually located on the 30th floor of Torre Sacyr Vallehermosothe.
1 Canada Square, London, England
If 1 Canada Square looks familiar, it’s because you’ve probably seen it in a movie. Like its American cousins the Empire State Building and Chrysler Building, 1 Canada Square has become a cinematic icon, appearing in 28 Weeks Later, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, The Bourne Supremacy, Johnny English and the James Bond movie, The World Is Not Enough. Located at the lively Canary Wharf it’s the oldest entry in the top 10, having been completed in 1991, and its 50 stories are spread over 235 metres. But if you want to see it as the UK’s tallest building, you’d better see it fast, as the soon-to-be-completed Shard London Bridge will surpass it upon its 2012 completion. But no matter where it ranks, you’ll be able to enjoy its distinctive pyramid roof which boasts a flashing aircraft warning light, a rarity for buildings in the UK. If you want to stay in a hotel that puts you close to the building and to all the shops, restaurants and nightlife of Canary Wharf, consider the five-star Four Seasons London Canary Wharf.
Posted in Amsterdam, Berlin, Dublin, France, Frankfurt, Germany, Ireland, London, Netherlands, Paris, The UK on 26. Jan, 2011
Anyone who has ever seen a painting by Johannes Vermeer understands what all the fuss is about. The beauty of his work and its photographic realism has never been matched, and reproductions in prints, books and posters come nowhere near doing it justice. Unfortunately only 36 known paintings have been positively attributed to the 17th century artist from Delft, the 37th, “Concert,” having been stolen from Boston’s Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in 1990.
What follows is a list of the 22 Vermeer paintings located in Europe (the other 14 are in the US), divided by city and museum. Of course like all other artists, Vermeer travels a lot. So a website by artist Jonathan Janson called the Flying Fox features a “Vermeer Tracker” which tells you where his paintings are at any given time.
The Milkmaid, The Little Secret, The Love Letter, Woman in Blue Reading a Letter
Jan Luijkenstraat 1
1071 CJ Amsterdam
A Lady Seated at a Virginal, A Lady Standing at a Virginal
The National Gallery
London WC2N 5DN
020 7747 2885
The Music Lesson
The Royal Collection, Buckingham Palace
13 Buckingham Palace Rd
Westminster, London SW1W 0
020 7766 7300
The Guitar Player
Hampstead NW3 7JR
020 8348 1286
The Girl with the Pearl Earring, View of Delft, Diana and her Companions
Korte Vijverberg 8
2513 AB The Hague
The Glass of Wine, Woman with a Pearl Necklace
Staatliche Museen Preußischer Kulturbesitz, Gemäldegalerie
The Preocuress, A Girl Reading a Letter by an Open Window
Staatliche Kunstsammlungen, Gemäldegalerie
The Lacemaker, The Astronomer
Musée du Louvre
75058 Paris Cedex 01
01 40 20 57 60
Lady Writing a Letter with her Maid
National Gallery of Ireland
Merrion Square W
Dublin 2, Co. Dublin
01 661 5133
Christ in the House of Mary and Martha
National Gallery of Scotland
Edinburgh EH2 2EL
0131 624 6200
FRANKFURT AM MAIN
60596 Frankfurt am Main
The Art of Painting
The Girl with a Glass of Wine
Herzog Anton Ulrich Museum
Of course you’ll need a place to stay after your trip to the museum, so here are lists of hotels in Amsterdam, hotels in London, hotels in Berlin, hotels in The Hague, hotels in Dresden, hotels in Paris, hotels in Dublin, hotels in Edinburgh, hotels in Frankfurt am Main, hotels in Vienna and hotels in Brunswick.
Many airports have finally figured out that passengers with long layovers and passengers who arrive early for their flights not only have time on their hands, but they also have money in their wallets. As a result, many airport shopping centres now rival their city counterparts, featuring name brands at discount prices and many other services as well. Lucky you. Here are a few of the best European airports for shopping.
London Heathrow Airport
So you Finished that London trip, and you didn’t have time to make it to Harrods for that gift for Aunt Lucy. No worries. Just stop by the Harrods at Heathrow. And the Liberty. And Hermes, Prada and Versace. These are only a few reasons that Heathrow Airport was given the 2010 Skytrax World Airport Best Airport Shopping Award. If all that shopping has given you a crick in your neck, you can get a massage from the At Be Relax Spa, in Satellite Terminal 5B or relax in one of the YOTEL’s cabins, with their en suite bathrooms, free Internet access, and “techno wall” entertainment system. If you’re here for a layover, the Heathrow Express can have you inside Westminster Abbey inside an hour! And as you might expect, there are plenty of great hotels near Heathrow as well.
Munich International Airport
While Heathrow Airport 2010’s Best Shopping Award, Munich International Airport won the Skytrax World Airport Award for best airport in Europe in 2010 and was ranked number 4 in the world after the famous Singapore, Seoul, and Hong Kong airports. In addition to 150 shops, the airport is also popular with locals for the free concerts. Relaxation comes in the form of massages at the gate and “napcabs,” soundproofed mini-rooms designed for your snoozing pleasure. The airport also offers a cinema, and for those wanting some activity after a long flight, there’s soccer, beach volleyball, min-golf and even winter ice skating. And it’s no surprise that the city known for its Oktoberfest celebration would be the first to offer the world its first airport brewery, which is located at the Hofbräuhaus. If you find you’ve spent too much time at the Hofbräuhaus, the Kempinski Hotel Airport München offers a five-star location to spend the night, right at the airport, between Terminals 1 and 2. There are also plenty of other hotels near the airport.
Amsterdam Airport Schiphol
The airport that Heathrow beat out for the Best Airport Shopping Award offers some amenities that cannot be found in any other airport in the world. In fact, much of the circle of life is represented here in the only airport that offers both a wedding chapel and a mortuary. The airport also offers the largest complex for duty-free shopping, with fifty shops and boutiques offering over 120,000 products at famously low prices. And then there’s Schiphol Plaza. Located before customs, this immense shopping venue caters to non-travelers as well. There’s also a library featuring 1,200 books in 29 languages, along with music from Dutch composers. Being a city of art and culture, Amsterdam has opened a branch of its iconic Rijksmuseum, offering a small overview of classical and contemporary art right at the airport. If you’d like to see more, then both Amsterdam and Den Haag are short train rides away, offering the chance to see the world’s greatest art during your layover. And don’t forget about all the nearby hotels.
Rome Leonardo da Vinci Fiumicino Airport
Though the northern Italian city of Milan is regarded as the fashion capital of Italy, if not Europe, Fiumicino Rome Airport’s Shopping Gallery is famous for being the largest airport shopping center in Europe dedicated to luxury goods. The Shopping Gallery offers a whopping 140 stores featuring the biggest names in fashion, from Aeronautica Militare to Zoccai. High end products are offered at low end prices at such stores as Roma Travel Shop, Fabriano, Venchi, Tendenze, Riva, Dolce & Gabbana, Salvatore Ferragamo, Bulgari, Burberry, Prada… you get the picture. If you can’t wait to get home to try on your booty, you can always check into a nearby Fiumicino Airport hotel. The Hilton Garden Inn Rome Airport is actually located right in the airport.
Saving the biggest airport for last, Frankfurt Airport is continental Europe’s largest airport and one of the busiest, having moved 50,932,840 passengers in 2009. Also immense is its shopping, which is spread out over 20,000 square metres. Shops are open from 5:00 AM until 10:00 PM every day and range from supermarkets and delicatessens to classy clothes boutiques and photo shops. Hairdressers, textile cleaners and alteration tailors can also be found, and there’s even a sex shop where one can buy goods of an adult nature. Also in the adult category is the Airport Casino, where passengers can try their luck at Roulette, Black Jack and many slot machines. Player’s Island offers more slot machines, BigCash Club, Internet terminals, computer games and much more, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. If all that activity has you too tired to head into town, there are many airport hotels that are much closer.
Posted in Amsterdam, France, Frankfurt, Germany, London, Madrid, Netherlands, Paris, Spain, The UK on 30. Sep, 2010
The ideal European holiday typically involves a lot of down time—leisurely afternoons in which to shop and tour art museums, nights solely dedicated to fine dining and drinking, and late mornings free of business obligations. However, sometimes this indulgent experience is simply not possible. For those occasions when one needs to travel in and out as quickly as possible, nothing beats an airport hotel. Here are the five busiest airports in Europe, and the best hotels near their terminals:
London Heathrow Airport
The largest airport in the United Kingdom actually handles more international passengers than any other in the world. Whether you are visiting London or just passing through, chances are high that you will land in London Heathrow. The airport is actually located in the Borough of Hillingdon, 14 miles (22km) west of Central London. However, that does not mean that hotels near London Heathrow Airport are not great home bases from which to explore the city! Try the elegant Arora Hotel Heathrow, or the reliable Holiday Inn London Heathrow.
Paris – Charles de Gaulle Airport
Situated to the northeast of Paris, this bustling aviation centre is the principle hub for Air France. It therefore handles a lot of international traffic; in fact, it is the second busiest airport in Europe. Paris – Charles de Gaulle Airport (also known as Roissy Airport) can be found within several communes 16 miles (25km) to the northeast of the city centre. The Pullman Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport, the Sheraton Paris Airport Hotel and other hotels near Charles de Gaulle Airport are therefore convenient places to stay.
The busiest airport for passenger traffic in Germany is undoubtedly Frankfurt’s, located 7.5 miles (12km) southwest of the city center. Additionally, Frankfurt Airport is close to several other important destinations. The city of Cologne, Stuttgart and the Ruhr Area may all be reached within two hours by ground transportation. Therefore, the greatest hotels near Frankfurt Airport (like the NH Frankfurt Airport and the Sheraton Frankfurt Hotel & Towers Conference Center) are excellent places to stop along the way.
Madrid – Barajas Airport
Since first opening in 1928, Madrid – Barajas Airport has grown to be the fourth busiest in Europe. Unlike other international hubs of aviation, Barajas is actually located within the limits of its namesake city. It can be found 5.6 miles (9km) from the financial district, and 8.1 miles (13km) from Puerta del Sol (the historic centre of Madrid.) Hotels near Barajas Airport, including the upscale Clement Barajas and the more affordable Hostal El Cruce, are quite close to local tourist attractions.
Amsterdam Airport Schiphol
Whether you prefer a 4-star establishment like the Sheraton Amsterdam Airport Hotel or an economical option like the Yotel Schiphol Airport, you will find your ideal home base among hotels near Schiphol Airport. The major hub of international transportation is actually located in the municipality of Haarlemmermeer, 5.6 miles (9.1km) southwest of Amsterdam. It can be reached in 20 minutes by car or public transportation, and is therefore quite close to business centers and tourist attractions.
Posted in Barcelona, Belgium, Brussels, Dublin, France, Frankfurt, Germany, Ireland, Italy, London, Madrid, Milan, Munich, Paris, Spain, The UK on 23. Sep, 2010
If you thought that high-end outlet malls were only to be found in the USA, then think again. Less than an hour from nine European cities are the nine shopping venues belonging to Chic Outlet Shopping, known collectively as “The Villages.” Each one is a destination in itself, an open-air shopping Mecca hosting between 50 and 140 European luxury brand outlet boutiques, from Abro to Zoo York. The shops range from European to international, with each also featuring shops representative of the host country. Each is easy to reach from its host city via a shuttle. The store directories and shuttle information can be found on the website for each village.
LONDON (Bicester Village)
Bicester Village offers over 130 outlet stores, all set in the village of Bicester in the heart of the beautiful Oxfordshire countryside. The Village has its own Italian and French restaurants, and also provides the perfect excuse to explore all the attractions of Oxfordshire. London itself is only 60 minutes away, and the shops at the village provide you with up to 60% discounts on the recommended retail price. You can either make Bicester Village a daytrip from your London hotel or stay closer to the action in a Bicester hotel.
DUBLIN (Kildare Village)
Just an hour from Dublin, in the heart of County Kildare you’ll find many horse farms and horse-racing venues. You’ll also find Kildare Village, home to more than 55 luxury boutiques. Kildare Village specializes in providing you with a broad selection of the collections of the previous season in famous international names in both fashion and homeware. Discounts here also reach up to 60% of the retailers’ recommended price. The charming village of Kildare offers one hotel, and nearby villages like Newbridge offer other accommodations. Or you can always stay in the vibrant capital city of Dublin itself.
PARIS (La Vallée Village)
It should come as no surprise that the fashion capital of the planet for the last several centuries would play host to a luxury outlet mall. La Vallée Village is just 35 minutes from the City of Light. And if you need something to calm the kids down while you shop, you can promise them a trip to Disneyland Paris, which is just five minutes away in the neighboring city of Marne-la-Vallée. In the meantime, you can lose yourself among the 90 luxury outlet boutiques where you’ll find low prices on Paris’s finest. There are many Paris hotels, as well as closer hotels in the town of Bailly-Romainvilliers, which plays host to La Vallée Village, and neighboring towns like Magny-le-Hongre and Serris.
MADRID (Las Rozas Village)
Set right between the Spanish capital Madrid and the amazing El Escorial, the residence and final resting place of many Spanish kings and queens, Las Rozas Village offers up to 60% reductions in over 100 luxury outlet boutique shops. Many Spanish brands are represented, along with international stores. The Village is located in the Madrid suburb of Las Rozas de Madrid, which boasts some fine hotels. But if you’d rather enjoy the excitement of the capital city that never sleeps, many Madrid hotels are only 30 minutes away.
BARCELONA (La Roca Village)
Located in the heart of Catalonia, La Roca Village provides not only international designer brand outlet boutiques and not only their Spanish counterparts, but also the unique opportunity to buy from authentic Catalan designer shops. The stores at La Roca Village offer discounts of up to 60%, and the location is also excellent. Only 40 minutes from Barcelona’s vibrant city centre, La Roca Village puts you on the road to the beautiful Costa Brava, so you’d better be sure to buy a swim suit while you’re there. La Roca Village is located in the town of Granollers, which offers a selection of hotels. Or maybe you’d rather spend the night in a hotel or apartment in Barcelona itself.
MILAN (Fidenza Village)
Residents of Milan might take exception to the designation of Paris as the fashion capital of the world. And after a day in Fidenza Village, you might end up agreeing with them. While the shops of Milan itself are notoriously expensive, Fidenza Village offer up to 70% reductions in more than 100 luxury outlet boutiques. The world’s leading Italian and international fashion brands are available, and Fidenza Village is an hour away from both Milan and the exciting university city of Bologna. Milan offers a wide range of hotels that are convenient to the Village shuttle. Or you can stay in the Hotel Astoria or Hotel Fidenza in the town of Fidenza itself.
BRUSSELS (Maasmechelen Village)
Though known more for its chocolates and its beautifully preserved medieval core than for its fashion, the city of Brussels is just an hour’s drive (or shuttle ride) from the 95 luxury outlet boutiques of Maasmechelen Village. Here you can save from 30% to 60% off the recommended retail price on the previous season’s collections from leading Belgian and international names in fashion, homeware and home décor. Set at the beautiful green intersection of Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands, Maasmechelen Village can be combined with many international daytrips. You can use the B&B Basil in Maasmechelen as your homebase, or stay in one of the many luxurious Brussels hotels nearby.
FRANKFURT (Wertheim Village)
One of the business capitals of Europe now offers the opportunity to shop like crazy with the 110 luxury outlets of Wertheim Village 50 minutes away. Like some of the other Chic Outlet Shopping venues, Wertheim Village offers up to 60% off on the previous season’s collections, and like the other venues, you can get access to both international and German companies. Wertheim Village is also located right at the gateway to the famous Romantic Road, making it a convenient stop on your way out of Frankfurt or on your way back in. Wertheim hotels make a great Romantic Road homebase, while Frankfurt hotels put you in the middle of the action.
MUNICH (Ingolstadt Village)
And last but certainly not least are the 100 boutiques found at Ingolstadt Village, which is located just 50 minutes north of all the beer gardens, churches and Bavarian charm of the city of Munich. This lively city also has a thriving cultural scene with more art galleries and theatres than any other city in Germany. The easiest way to enjoy the 60% discounts at Ingolstadt Village is to stay at an Ingolstadt hotel, though the shuttle from central Munich makes it possible to stay in a hotel in Munich.