25hours Hotel HafenCity, the first hotel to be built in the up-and-coming waterfront area of Hamburg, Germany, opened on July 1. The budget deluxe property offers a modern take on a sailor’s club and is the newest property from the 25hours hotel group, helmed by its passionate CEO Christoph Hoffman. The concept is based on 25 stories collected from sailors interviewed in a local seaman’s club. These stories are woven into the fabric of the hotel and are captured in log books in each guestroom, as well as in illustrations that adorn the walls.

The hotel offers 170 cabin-style suites, a rooftop sauna, restaurant, bar, a Mare Kiosk, a Radio Room business center and unconventional meeting spaces, including one housed in a repurposed shipping container. For budding musicians, the hotel’s Vinyl Room is the perfect place to play DJ, and bands can practice free of charge in the Gibson Music Room, in exchange for performing in the hotel. Those on the go can pick up one of the hotel’s bikes or even a MINI to zip around town, both free of charge.

A Sailor’s Story

"It all began with the fictitious sailor Kuttel Daddeldu from the poems of Joachim Ringelnatz,” says 25hours’ CEO Christoph Hoffmann; "He’s a good soul who’s deeply rooted in the seafaring life, but also coarse and a little cheeky. That's exactly the character we wanted for the 25hours Hotel HafenCity."

Markus Stoll, lawyer turned storyteller, visited a seaman’s club in Hamburg every day for six weeks to collect real stories from sailors of different backgrounds and nationalities. Passionate about storytelling, and the romantic notion of the maritime world, he adapted the first-hand accounts into semi-fictional stories that became the essence of the hotel’s concept. The sailors’ lives, dreams and mottos appear not only in the log books in each room but also in the illustrations on the walls of each guest room, created by Berlin artist Jindrich Novotny.

A Hamburg-based team composed of creative director Fabian Tank from Eventlabs, Stephen Williams Associates and former set designer Conni Kotte are responsible for the industrial, yet inviting interiors. "Even with the industrial theme, it was important for us to create an environment that is also comfortable," explains interior designer Conni Kotte; "The guests should feel like they can be themselves here." Together with storyteller and creative director Markus Stoll, the team transformed the interiors into a modern sailors’ club with selected vintage pieces that give the spaces their authentic charm. In the lobby there is a hemp carpet from a small Turkish manufacturer, together with Brazilian furniture from the ‘60s, while the restaurant features Dutch industrial design furniture.

Inside the rooms, dubbed “cabins,” high pile carpets and wide wooden floorboards meet with custom-made furnishings. All rooms have a rope ladder that serves as a shelf and a workplace / mini bar in the form of a travel trunk designed by the local furniture maker Likoo.