Model Of Sustainability-The Raphael Hotel Wälderhaus Hamburg
Model Of Sustainability-The Raphael Hotel Wälderhaus Hamburg
Hamburg is a fantastic city and the Raphael Hotel Wälderhaus is a great hotel. Located in the suburb of Wilhelmsburg this eco-friendly, sustainable hotel is a gem in the community.
The Wälderhaus is a multi-functional building. It provides a space for temporary exhibitions and seminars as well as housing a restaurant and a science center. The top 3 floors of the building are the actual hotel which has 82 3-star superior rated rooms.
One of the unique things about this hotel is the construction. The first two floors of the building are reinforced concrete and the upper three floors are constructed with timber (mainly spruce, 80% of which came from Germany and Austria.) Due to German fire codes, the entire building was not allowed to be constructed out of wood so the builders had to get creative in order to achieve this.
The outside of the hotel is covered in European Larch which has been left untreated as to provide a natural-like habitat for plants and animals. The coolest feature to me, construction wise, is the green roof which has been planted with 9,500 plants and shrubs. Not only does this help with insulation but it also helps to reduce the building’s carbon emissions. Unfortunately, there is no access to the roof; I asked :).
The building also houses a science center which really helps to incorporate the ecologically designed, sustainable hotel theme. You can visit the science center during your stay for a small admission fee. It is a great way to learn about the ecology and nature of Northern Germany.
The hotel itself is a 3-star hotel. It was built and designed for the 2013 International Garden Show and exhibits the highest possible level of sustainability. If eco-hotels and earth consciousness is your vibe then the Raphael Hotel Wälderhaus is your hotel.
In addition to being extremely eco-conscious The Wälderhaus is just a fabulous hotel. The first thing you notice when you walk in is the smell. The wooden construction of the hotel makes it smell freaking fantastic. It really reminded me of being in the forest in Oregon it so clean and inviting I kept taking deep breaths to take it all in.
Each room is nicely appointed with a flat screen tv, free wi-fi, desk, telephone, a bottle of sparkling water, and a safe. The rooms were large with plenty of room for luggage and shelves and hanging space for clothes. The bed was super comfy and the linens were high quality and anti-allergenic.
Rooms also feature organic shower amenities which made me have a chuckle because they were called “Stop The Water.” Each bottle advised about how you should turn off the water when brushing your teeth, applying shampoo in the shower, etc. I love this concept now but as an American when I first started traveling Germany it was so foreign to me.
One cool feature is that in every room is named after an indigenous plant or tree. In the room is a picture of your particular rooms namesake along with a short bio about it. This makes for something special and informative.
There is on-site parking for 12 euros a day. The parking lot is located just in back of the hotel. The hotel does not own or maintain the parking and it is much like a metered lot. You get a ticket when you go in and pay at the machine before leaving. So if you are driving, each time you leave you pay for parking which can thus end up costing more than 12 euros.
Luckily a short walk away, maybe 5 minutes, is the Wilhelmsburg S-Bahn train station. This is really convenient because you are only 3 stops away from the Hamburg Hauptbahnhof; less than 10 minutes. So if you are wanting to get into downtown or the harbor and do sight-seeing there is really no need for your car. Leave it at the hotel and take the train.
Inside the hotel is a great restaurant which also serves the morning breakfast buffet. The restaurant operates separately from the hotel so breakfast is not included in the price of the room. It’s an additional 14 euros per person per day. It was a great buffet, worth the 14 euros. The buffet had all the traditionally expected German breakfast items like meats, cheeses, and bread but also scrambled eggs, sausage, and bacon (which is hard to find as a breakfast item in German hotel buffets) for a more American vibe.
Besides the full breakfast buffet, there are two cheaper breakfast options available for purchase. Croissant, butter, jam and coffee for 5,20 Euro or Yogurt, Müsli, fruits, and coffee for 6,40 Euro.
Depending on your budget you may or may not want to indulge in the breakfast buffet. I think 14 euros was fair for the value and selection.
There is also a unique collection of items to purchase in the lobby area that fit with the sustainability, eco theme. Everything from children’s books to re-usable coffee cups, to candles made from recycled wine bottles. It was fun to browse the items and knowing that if you bought something you were helping contribute to conservation in some way.
The Wälderhaus has a very industrial vibe. All the pipes and beams are exposed. This was to stay with the eco-friendly, sustainable theme. The materials it takes to cover these are really just cosmetic and non-essential. I get it, and I loved it.
However, the Raphael Hotel Wälderhaus is more than just a hotel; it makes you think. They want you to have a reaction whether negative or positive to the decor and the exposure to the ecological, sustainability theme. The science center really drives home the message of how man effects and affects nature and how there is a symbiotic relationship between man and nature in the city.
If you want to just check-in and enjoy the decor you can but you can also really explore the hotel and its many educational displays. Either way, the smell is fantastic!
The Raphael Hotel Wälderhaus is a great option in Hamburg if you are looking for a comfortable, nice, affordable hotel with great access to public transportation. Even though the hotel is located outside of downtown it really doesn’t feel like it because you are SO close to via train. Staying in downtown Hamburg can be expensive and The Raphael Hotel Wälderhaus is a nicely appointed, affordable alternative.
Tip: If you are traveling with kids (or even as an adult) make sure you visit the science center. The Science Center is very cool and thought provoking.
Also if you are arriving via car it can be slightly confusing to find the turn into the parking lot, however, there is a sign. The hotel suggests punching this address into your navigation system, Neuenfelder Straße 19 /Parkhouse Am Inselpark. Which we did but still missed the turn in on our first pass by. Keep an eye out for the sign to the parking as the hotel is set back off the road.
Many thanks to the Raphael Hotel Wälderhaus for hosting me. As always, all opinions are my own.