Frankfurt, in western Germany, is a major global financial hub and home to one of the world's busiest airports (it ranked eighth for international passenger traffic in 2018). The airport, 12 kilometres south-west of the city, is Lufthansa's primary hub but I've arrived by train from Stuttgart to catch a Singapore Airlines flight back to Sydney.
The 249-room hotel, which opened in 2011, sits within a landmark building – The Squaire – that resembles a gigantic glass ark that's somehow beached itself between roadways. In fact, The Squaire is better connected than Angela Merkel: it sits above an Intercity Express (ICE) high-speed train station and offers both a pedestrian skywalk to the airport's Terminal 1 and direct connection to motorways. The low-rise structure, Germany's largest office building, sprawls over 660 metres – a length that's granted it the status of "groundscraper". It also contains the Hilton's sister property: the 334-room Hilton Garden Inn Frankfurt Airport.
Arriving from the train station below, the overall impression of stepping into the hotel lobby is that you've time-travelled into the future: think gleaming glass and shiny surfaces softened by large sculptural curves and artwork. Hotel floors, walkways and elevators face a central glass-roofed atrium that houses the lobby, reception desk and The Fifth lounge and bar.
My room, a king deluxe suite with separate living room, feels more like an apartment. The palette is mostly neutral, with colour pops courtesy of a tan lounge suite (stylish more than comfortable) and green drapes, with striped carpet picking up on these accents. Between the living room and bedroom there's a work desk (with an odd, oval-shaped glass top) and, off the bedroom, a bathroom with tub. I arrive at night but morning unexpectedly reveals views of a vast swath of forest and the distant city skyline through the soundproof windows that help provide an excellent night's sleep.
Staying in a higher-level executive room or suite grants access to the executive lounge – another futuristic space where you can enjoy refreshments and continental breakfast, loll in one of the feature beehive-shaped seats or print out documents and boarding passes. The room-service menu includes the usual club sandwich, Caesar salad, pizza and pasta but local touches include a Frankfurt sausage with potato salad and mustard, the classic street snack of currywurst (sausage with curry sauce), and Wiener schnitzel that can be topped with an intriguing "Frankfurt green sauce of seven herbs". The in-house restaurant, Rise, showcases the fresh-baked bread that Germany does so well. Rise also hosts the breakfast buffet that includes yoghurts, salad, cheeses, cured meats, bread and sausages.
Aviation nerds can geek out by taking one of Frankfurt Airport's astonishing range of tours, which include the 45-minute Starter Tour (€7 a person), where you explore parts of the apron in a bus, the two-hour XXL tour that includes a trip to the north-west runway and a peek at the firefighter training centre (€19), the two-hour sunset tour that finishes with a glass of sparkling wine (€25) and the 90-minute Terminal 3 tour where you can see the new terminal taking shape on the site of a former US military base (€15). You can also browse the airport store where the curved metallic counter is part of a Boeing 747 engine cowl. See fra-tours.com.
This airport hotel is the ultimate in glamorous pre-, post- and between-flight lodgings.
Rooms start from €139 and suites start from €339, with weekend stays cheaper than midweek. The hotel also offers day-use of rooms between 9am and 6pm. Hilton Frankfurt Airport, The Squaire, Frankfurt Airport, Germany, +49 69 2601 2000; see frankfurtairport.hilton.com
Katrina Lobley was a guest of Hilton Frankfurt Airport.
OUR RATING OUT OF FIVE
The space-age vibe will make you feel like one of the Jetsons.
Presentation of the breakfast buffet could be a little more luxe.