Hamburg, Germany

Sir Nikolai

Rates from (ex tax)$145.14

Price information

If you haven’t entered any dates, the rate shown is provided directly by the hotel and represents the cheapest double room (including tax) available in the next 60 days.

Prices have been converted from the hotel’s local currency (EUR126.00), via openexchangerates.org, using today’s exchange rate.

Style

New razzle dazzle

Setting

Spanning the City of Bridges

Pack accordingly for chic city-break spot, Hamburg hotel, Sir Nikolai. The hotel is decked out in dark-wood furnishings, polished marble and rich velvets, with a sprinkling of glittering gold accents, so you’ll want to match it, adornment for adornment. The city’s coolest bars and go-to galleries are on your doorstep, but the hotel’s confines are equally cultured. Walk your own kunstmeile (a well-trodden gallery walk) along art-lined hallways, head to the bar’s balcony to view the city’s (tall) monuments, such as the St Nikolai Memorial across the canal, and the restaurant has some of the finest Japanese fare in the city: that’ll do nicely, Sir…

Smith Extra

Get this when you book through us:

Each guest gets a drink of their choice at Izakaya

Facilities

Photos Sir Nikolai facilities

Need to know

Rooms

94, including seven suites.

Check–Out

Noon. Earliest check-in, 3pm. Both flexible, on request, and subject to availability.

Rates

Double rooms from $145.14 (€118), excluding tax at 7 per cent.

Price information

If you haven’t entered any dates, the rate shown is provided directly by the hotel and represents the cheapest double room (including tax) available in the next 60 days.

Prices have been converted from the hotel’s local currency (EUR117.76), via openexchangerates.org, using today’s exchange rate.

More details

Rates usually exclude a buffet breakfast (€21 a person); take your pick of fresh fruits, yoghurts, cereals, cured meats, smoked fish and eggs as you like them.

At the hotel

Seasonal outdoor terrace, private dining room and free WiFi throughout. In rooms: TV, iPod dock, Bluetooth Marshall speakers, Dead Clean bath products, plug adaptors, minibar, and tea- and coffee-making facilities.

Our favourite rooms

Like little museums, the Sir Boutique and Sir Deluxe rooms are filled with curious artwork and books by authors from near and far. For space to spread out in, stay in the Sir Residence; at 57 square meters, it’s by far the largest room on offer.

Packing tips

Bring city-stalking shoes for daytime, brogues and stilettos for after dark.

Also

All public areas and most larger rooms are wheelchair-accessible;however, no rooms are specially adapted.

Children

Children of all ages are welcome, although the hotel’s best suited to older kids and teenagers. Baby cots (free) can be added to all rooms, but tots, juniors and teens will need a separate room. The restaurant has highchairs to borrow.

Food and Drink

Photos Sir Nikolai food and drink

Top Table

Dine under the stars – and a glass roof in winter– in the centre of the restaurant for a lively atmosphere. The communal table at the back of the restaurant promises stimulating conversation.

Dress Code

Take it up a notch with a pair of heels and a few luxury finds from the high-end labels on the Neuer Wall.

Hotel restaurant

Izakaya means pub in Japanese, but we’ve seen few pubs this stylish and sophisticated. At the end of a low-lit corridor – Sir Nikolai’s ultra-cool version of Wonderland’s rabbit-hole – lies hotel restaurant Izakaya. Taking centre stage is an enormous circular fireplace, above which is a retractable glass ceiling, for alfresco dining come summer. Take a seat in an elegant navy chair, or cosy up in an emerald-green velvet booth and treat your tastebuds to a selection of chef Hariprasad Shetty’s innovative dishes. For lunch, order a bento box with tuna, salmon and seabass sashimi, fresh, crunchy salads and a selection of donburi. You’ll pick up on some Peruvian influences at dinner: a couple of sakana (small sharing dishes) to kick off with (tuna on chips, or chimichurri beef skewers), then your pick of sushi and tempura; the pop-shrimp with curry sauce is a must. Save space for grills from the traditional Japanese robata; favourites include the wagyu beef and king-crab karashi-su miso (the Japanese take on mustard).

Hotel bar

One of the high stools next to the black-lit, glass-and-metal bar in the restaurant is a perfect spot for a pre-dinner drink in the evening. Like the food menu, the drinks list is inspired by Japanese flavours; try their range of sakes, or order a Lotus cocktail, made with shochu, plum sake and tonic. 

Last orders

Breakfast is served 7am to 10.30am; lunch is from 12 noon to 2.30pm, and dinner starts at 6pm and ends at 11pm. The bar is open from 10am to 1am.

Room service

In-room dining is available when the restaurant is open (breakfast is from 7am to 10.30am, and lunch and dinner are from noon till 11pm); the menu includes sushi boxes, rice dishes and other Japanese-inspired snacks.

Location

Photos Sir Nikolai location
Address
Sir Nikolai
KATHARINENSTRASSE 2
Hamburg
20457
Germany

Planes

Hamburg International Airport is just over 30 minutes’ drive from the hotel. You can fly direct from cities all over Europe; from London, it’s a swift 90-minute flight. Call our Smith24 team to arrange flights and transfers.

Trains

Trains come into Hamburg Hauptbahnhof (the city’s main station) from across Germany; Hanover is a 75-minute journey and the inter-city service to Berlin takes less than two hours. There’s also a 25-minute direct train to the airport. The station is a 20-minute walk from the hotel, or in half the time you can arrive by taxi for roughly €10.

Automobiles

You can walk to the city centre from the hotel in around 10 minutes, and buses and taxis are readily available, so you won’t need a car to get around. If you do decide to drive, there’s valet parking at the hotel (€26 for 24 hours) and the Smith24 team can help arrange car hire.

Other

Germans’ celebrated efficiency ensures Hamburg’s buses and trains (the public transport system known locally as the HVV) run with precision timing. You can use an HVV pass on ferries that sail the city’s canals.

Worth getting out of bed for

Walk the Kunstmeile, an art marathon through five museums; view contemporary works and photography at Deichtorhallen; admire antique sculptures, Chinese porcelain and 20th-century fashion at MKG; and explore 700 years of German art in the Hamburger Kunsthalle. Architecture enthusiasts could spend the entire trip wandering the streets and ogling buildings old and new. The St. Nikolai Memorial is just across the canal from the hotel; at 76 meters high you won’t miss it. For some 19th-century opulence, head to the Rathausplatz, home to the ornately-sculpted, Neo-Gothic city hall, the Rathaus. Then, head south, first to the famous 1920s red-brick Chilehaus (another of the city's stylish office blocks) and then onto the HafenCity, which is so new, it’s not finished. Catch a show at the impressive Elbphilharmonie, or refuel in their eighth-floor deli with harbour views. Hamburg’s a great city to shop in, no matter your budget or what you’re looking for. You’ll find far more than fresh fish at the Fischmarkt, although that’s available too if you happen to want some; haggle for fruits and flowers, clothing and souvenirs every Sunday morning. Alternatively, loosen your purse strings at Alsterarkaden. Enjoy a coffee on the Venetian-inspired arcade overlooking the canal, before hitting the big name brands on Neuer Wall; home to Gucci, Patek Philippe, Bulgari, Hermés and many more leading fashion houses. 

Local restaurants

Book ahead to ensure a seat at the Table. Set in an industrial-style building with exposed concrete walls and metal accents, dinner here is a memorable experience – and not just because of the food. All guests sit around a curved cherry-wood bar facing the open kitchen, where chef Kevin Fehling’s team create dishes from his innovative tasting menus, which include some unusual dishes: flamed goose liver and Norwegian lobster, or aromatic smoked eel with a macaron-like side of steamed rice. The owners of Brooklyn Burger Bar believe a burger can be much more than a slab of meat covered in ketchup, and they’ve created more than 10 to prove it. There’s the pulled-pork version with braised pork, red-onion marmalade, provolone, and the house barbecue sauce and coleslaw; the ‘backyard barbecue’ comes with bacon, Appenzeller cheese and a generous helping of bourbon-infused barbecue sauce. After a night out, stop in for their hangover burger, a curative with fried egg, tomato and bacon. Vlet an der Alster serves traditional Hamburger fare in a contemporary canalside setting. Try the veal meatballs, preserved perch, or the ever-present schnitzel. If you can’t choose, order the Hamburg Experience tasting menu. 

Local cafés

Stop at Schönes Leben in Speicherstadt for Kaiserschmarrn (a dessert of shredded pancakes) or waffles; their take on currywurst is a popular choice. Fill up on classic French fare in Café Paris near the Rathaus. The menu includes croque-monsieur, Niçoise salad and steak tartare. Call in at teatime for a cup of coffee or brew with a few macarons on the side. 

Local bars

Dress up for cocktails in the Clouds bar. Up on the 23rd and 24th floors of the Dancing Towers, this is the highest bar in Hamburg. As well as lots of creative cocktails, wines, whiskeys and even grappa, the bar offers tastings; check their events calendar to see what’s on. Not enough of a high? Take the lift to rooftop bar Heaven’s Nest. The Campari Lounge roof terrace at the George hotel also boasts sweeping views of the river and city skyline. Any Brits feeling a little homesick should head to Bar DaCaio for high tea followed by Scottish whisky sampling. For a more relaxed environment, seek out Altes Mädchen. A cool, modern take on a beer hall; this is the place to try local craft beer in Hamburg; they serve all types: lagers, pale ales,wheat beers, sour beers and stout. Try their tray of vodka-shot-style row mini beers is an excellent choice for the indecisive.

Reviews

Photos Sir Nikolai reviews
Emma Barnett

Anonymous review

Arriving in freezing Hamburg of a December evening, one wants two things: alcohol and twinkly lights. Sir Nikolai doesn’t disappoint. Walking into this quirky design-led boutique hotel, a warming fizzy wine is immediately deposited into our grateful hands by a practical but warm, smiling German receptionist. And despite the black low-lit bookshelves and gold and marble occasional tables galore, there is a pleasingly oversized chintzy Christmas tree dominating proceedings in the kitsch lobby area. I immediately like a place that combines moody Bowie photos with the full glitz of Christmas.

Before we get too settled into our olive and navy crushed-velvet chairs with our tipples, basking in the comforting glow of fairy lights, our room is ready and off we trundle via the Peruvian-Japanese restaurant which has a wonderful circular fireplace breathing heat like a perfect o-shaped mouth.

But I must take a moment to pass comment on the corridor which leads to the restaurant and lifts. Its black walls are stunningly illuminated by gold frames with inbuilt lights. It’s so effective I make a mental note to replicate the effect in a future home – electricity bill permitting.

Our room, a Sir Supreme on the second floor comes off a romantically dark carpeted corridor and, inside, a mini art gallery-cum boudoir awaits. The first sight is pleasing: an art deco gold drinks trolley stocked with high quality spirits, crystal glassware, a marble chopping board, a bowl of limes and a serious knife. Next, a black wooden desk comes into vision – which, upon opening, reveals a selection of well-chosen novels in German and English. It’s the little things.

Then comes the art. Everywhere. Framed butterflies, bugs, budgies, Hamburg river scenes, and Japanese Hokusai moutainscapes adorn every wall, including the toilet cubicle – an often overlooked canvas. But it’s all so carefully hung and evenly spaced – the overall impact is one of cosy homeliness rather than junk-shop happy.

However, the main two features are the king-sized bed and large free-standing egg-shaped bath – both situated in the heart of room – perpendicular to one another. I’m not normally a fan of a bath dominating a bedroom; it creates too much pressure to immediately derobe and get romantic. But somehow in a freezing city – one punctuated by bustling Christmas markets – it feels totally natural and fitting. And with two more crushed-velvet armchairs and another couple of marble and gold coffee tables to boot (which we immediately commandeer for our essential holiday gin rummy card games over some tea – yes, we rock on holiday), who could resist?

The bathroom still has a lot going on – despite the bath having made a run for it. Two marble sinks; two large framed mirrors; a separate toilet cubicle (with an automatic light that seems cool at first but if you stay too still on the can, switches off until you wave frantically) and a powerful free-standing shower – also big enough for two. Special mention must be made of the gorgeously scented ‘Dead Clean’ shower and bath products – full of Dead Sea essence and argan oil. They even provide four extra small bottles of the set, sub-100ml, in their own clear toiletry bag. It’s as if they want you to steal the swag for your carry-on luggage. Naturally, I oblige at the end of our stay, to Mr Smith’s usual horror.

Sir Nikolai’s designers are big on lighting but unlike over-complicated digital settings in other rooms we’ve stayed in of late – where you need a PHD in electrical engineering to turn on a reading lamp – there are only three settings: bright, sexy and off. But sexy is real sexy – right down to the uplighting on the bottom of the bed, showing off a large, sumptuous red Oriental rug.

A Marshall bluetooth speaker allows my latest Spotify playlist to boom out with minimum effort, making our room feel like a home-from-home in minutes. The only small snag was the lack of hanging space – especially with the bulky clothes required for Hamburg’s biting climate. But who needs cupboard space when you can live in a giant bed or bath?

Those many layers were soon on our backs as we made our way to the main Christmas market outside the city’s magnificent gothic town hall – only a brisk seven-minute walk away.

Gluhweined and bratwursted up to the hilt, we returned two hours later, merry but oh-so-ready for our double bath. Bubbles, of the alcoholic and the soapy kind, ensured a decent night’s sleep between sheets boasting the highest of thread counts.

Our breakfast didn’t disappoint – combining excellent a la carte options (think fried sourdough, avo and expertly poached eggs) and a fresh buffet with cold cuts and juices aplenty.

And then it was back out to the neighbouring Unesco-listed warehouse district – once the hub of Hamburg’s thriving coffee and spice trade. This hotel is also exquisitely located for the new jewel of the city: the Elbe Philharmonic Concert Hall (but please be more organised than us and book tickets many years in advance) and also, crucially in our opinion, the mad, needs-to-be-seen-to-be-believed Miniature Wonderland. No description warranted. Trust us, just go.

After an afternoon wandering and feasting through further afield Christmas markets, including the so-called naughty one at St Pauli (about as tame as Blackpool as it turns out), we headed back to our room for a spot of gin rummy, tea (a European hotel with decent English teabags – praise be) and another delicious bath soak.

Dinner in Izakaya beckoned, offering a chance to sample what happens when Peru meets Japan in Germany. The answer? Delicious robata grilled goodies with chimichurri-esque fiery sauces and tasty, delicately constructed sushi. The only let-down was, ironically, our most expensive choice: a slightly dry and flavourless €35 short rib. Brexit pinching the pound; it smarted all the more. But, on balance, a glamourous tasty night is promised in Sir Nikolai’s only restaurant.

Oh, and there’s a spa literally among the pipes in the basement – yet another reason for shivery Hamburg visitors to scurry back from the glorious technicolour Christmas markets.

And before we knew it, our stay ended as it had begun: one last glass of fizz in hand, beneath the twinkle of traditional festive baubles, winking at us, almost daring us to stay one more night.

 

The Guestbook

Whenever you book a stay at a Smith Hotel with us, we’ll invite you to review it when you get back. Read what other Smith members had to say in Sir Nikolai’s Guestbook below.

We loved

Warm welcome, kindly professonal staff, trendy interior and the best location – a 15 min walk to the Elbphilharmonie, 10 min to the shops, 15 min to the Landungsbrücken. Izakaya Japanese Restaurant.

Don’t expect

Large rooms.

Rating

Stayed on 1 Feb 2018

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