On the road again to Rio: Trip Planning
Singapore Airlines B77W Business Class SIN-FRA
Lufthansa B747-8i Premium Economy FRA-GIG
Sheraton Grand Rio Hotel & Resort
Star Alliance Lounge Rio
Lufthansa B747-8i Business Class GIG-FRA
Sheraton Frankurt Airport Hotel
Singapore Airlines A380 Business Class FRA-SIN
Ah, the airport hotel. The subject I could (and indeed have) spend 4,428 words waxing lyrical about.
My flight from Rio landed in Frankfurt at 2pm, which was too late to catch the 11.40am SQ25 back home. The next flight to Singapore would be the 9.55pm SQ325, but unfortunately that was booked solid. My only option was to wait until the following day to catch SQ25 back home, which gave me slightly under 24 hours to spend in Frankfurt.
I was originally intending to explore Frankfurt during this layover, before I realised it was the dead of winter and I didn’t have a stitch of warm clothing on me.
Now this normally would not bother me, because I am a very manly man, and manly men have copious amounts of body hair to keep them warm in deepest darkest winter. I mean, I often wrestle shirtless with polar bears in Arctic conditions as part of HIIT (it’s all on my dating profile, ladies). But I was also very jetlagged and needed my beauty sleep.
Fortunately there were two Starwood properties available at Frankfurt airport- the Sheraton and the Element.
The Sheraton was only about 9 Euros more expensive than the Element, and had the benefit of being physically connected to the airport (the Element requires a 5 minute taxi ride or 20-25 minute walk in the cold) so it got the nod.
If you’re ever transiting through Frankfurt, it might interest you to know that the Sheraton also has day use rates if your transit is shorter. The silly thing is that the day use rate can often be almost as much if not more than the best available overnight rate, as you can see in this example below.
En route to the hotel, I got excited when I saw signs for the Lufthansa Welcome Lounge. But upon reaching I realised that it only opened between 0500-1300. Those crafty Germans. I suppose it’s meant more for passengers who fly over on transatlantic red-eye flights and need to freshen up before heading to meetings.
The Sheraton is connected to Frankfurt Terminal 1 through this umbilical cord of a walkway.
As you progress through the walkway the building comes into view. The Sheraton building conjures all the charm of brutalist 1960s Eastern German architecture (yes, I know Frankfurt was part of the West)
All the tips I read about the property on the Flyertalk thread told me I should avoid the queues in the lobby and head up to the executive lounge on the 9th floor to check in (as is the entitlement for Platinum members). However, the lobby was completely empty. I think it was a function of the time I arrived- it was after the rush of early/mid-morning check outs and too early for the arrival of the late afternoon flyers.
Check in was fast and before I knew it I had my two keycards, 500 welcome points, a letter about lounge access and was headed up to my room.
I was given a room on the 8th floor (there are a total of 9 floors). Airport hotels, for obvious reasons, aren’t built very tall. It seems that every room in this hotel is “special” in that there are club room floors, SPG floors (a marketing initiative started by SPG where rooms on those floors get like 2 free bottles of water or something) or a tower room (whatever that is).
How was the room? Let me put it this way. It was a Sheraton room. It looked like a Sheraton room, felt like a Sheraton room and you’d be hard pressed to pick it out from a line up of Sheraton rooms.
And that’s not a bad thing, per se. Just that if you come here looking for creative inspiration you’ll be sorely disappointed.
The annoying thing is that Germans (and Europeans in general) do not believe in the concept of air conditioning during the winter. Only the heating function in the room worked. I know what you’re wondering- why do you need air conditioning when it’s 0 degrees outside? And the answer is simple- ventilation. With the heater off there’s no air moving inside the room and it gets stuffy. In the end I resorted to turning on the heater and putting it on the coldest setting. That at least got some circulation inside the room.
The room had two bottles of free water at the minibar. The water felt infinitely classier by the fact that it came in glass bottles.
There’s a large work desk with a comfortable chair for getting work done. One glaring anti work feature was the fact that the on-property Wifi didn’t let you log into more than a single device at once. It could just be that I wasn’t doing it properly, but if that’s a feature rather than a bug it’s an appalling way to try and squeeze out more money from guests.
I’m not sure if my room just didn’t have it or whether the property didn’t have it at all, but I couldn’t find the room service menu anywhere.
Puzzlingly for an a airport hotel, the sockets were not multi-country friendly.
Bathroom wise, nothing to see here folks. It’s your usual Sheraton line up.
I’d like it if someone from Europe can explain to me the idea of the half glass partition you find in showers at European hotels. I’ve never understood this. It doesn’t particularly stop the floor from getting wet, it’s not nearly as effective as a shower curtain, the thing keeps looking like a potential safety hazard. What is the point of this?
The big draw of the hotel is the fact it has a lounge. In fact, you can purchase lounge only access at a rate of 99 euros a day without booking a hotel room. Again, that rate makes no sense, given you can get a room for 94 euros.
The lounge isn’t 24 hours, but is a good place to spend most of the day working or grabbing a snack.
This is the standard layout during non happy hours. You can see that alcohol is available by default, as opposed to many other club lounges where they only bring it out during happy hour.
The lounge views aren’t exactly inspiring…
I visited again during happy hour and they had some additional items, namely a salad bar and a single hot item (spring rolls). They also added a decent German sparkling wine to the mix.
In the morning there’s a small breakfast spread with made to order eggs and some meats.
There’s a gym on the 9th floor too which was deserted when I got there. No swimming pool, sadly. I think great joy is being able to stretch out with a swim after a long flight, and any airport hotel with a pool instantly goes up a few notches in my mind.
When checking out I took a brief tour of the lobby. There’s a mini business centre in the lobby with printing facilities.
And a Starbucks cafe with plenty of seating.
The lobby restaurant is doing a game promotion. As in, edible game, not video.
Although the F&B choices in the hotel weren’t amazing, there’s a decent selection of restaurants in the airport and in the office complexes surrounding the airport. I went to The Squaire, where there are a few restaurants in a semi alfresco setting
I’d like to believe the yin balances out the yang.
At the end of the day the Sheraton Frankfurt Airport is meant to be a passing through kind of place. If you stayed there any longer than 24 hours I’d imagine you’d go mad with boredom, but as a place to recharge and recuperate before your next flight it gets the job done.
My job now was to get back to Singapore and do one more review on SQ’s old business class seat before it starts disappearing in 2017…