You might have heard that the boyfriend joined me on my Christmas holiday to Germany. Now, he did learn German at school and has started to learn the language again since getting a German girlfriend but generally, his German is still quite rustic. Of course, in cities like Hamburg or Berlin you can get by with English without any issues but in my little hometown in the middle of nowhere? No way.
So during our holiday, I was constantly switching back and forth between German and Norwegian and translating things. I even ended up talking Norwegian to my parents by accident. So weird, right? Anyway, during the whole time I kinda felt self-conscious about speaking Norwegian in my home country. It felt awkward and not quite right and I always had the feeling that people were staring at us when we were out and about. Can't blame them though - I don't think any of those people in rural Westphalia had ever heard Norwegian before.
Doesn't help though when you're standing at the counter of a bakery and while trying to figure out what you want to order yourself, you also have to explain your boyfriend what all those goodies are in a foreign language and the shop assistant eagerly tells you that she couldn't understand you - what do you want to order? Duh, I wasn't speaking German, Madame, and I wasn't talking to you either!
You may be wondering where I'm headed with this by now ... Point is: I felt conscious about speaking Norwegian in Germany until we went to Hamburg for the weekend before Simon went back to Norway. We stayed at Scandic Hamburg Emporio which is part of the Scandinavian Scandic Hotel chain. For the first time during our whole stay in the country, I suddenly didn't feel weird about speaking Norwegian anymore as we were surrounded by Norwegians, Danes and Swedes. It was fantastic!
Which leads us to today's post topic: Scandic Hamburg Emporio. It kinda felt like a little place of home in another country - and yes, technically Germany is my home but I don't really feel like home there. Not sure if I ever have but I do feel at home in Scandinavia which made Scandic Hotel the perfect place to stay. So if you're from Scandinavia or just a fan of the region and headed to Hamburg, then Scandic Hamburg Emporio is definitely the place to stay at.
Scandic Hamburg Emporio is basically situated in the middle of the city. It only takes 10 minutes to get to Jungfernstieg by foot, where you can find the beautiful Alster lake and the Town Hall, and less than 5 minutes to the Botanical Garden if you want to escape the city for a while. It's also within walking distance to the fair halls if you're coming to Hamburg on business purposes.
Even though, the hotel is situated so centrally, it was really quiet inside and we couldn't really hear any traffic from our room which was facing a lovely alley with typically hanseatic houses. The metro station is right around the corner which makes getting to and from the airport or central station very convenient but there also is a taxi stand right outside the hotel.
When it comes to restaurants, sights and shopping facilities - those are close by too. The hotel hosts its own restaurant called H2O where we ate dinner one night (review coming up next week) but there are also lots of restaurants around the Jungfernstieg area. Same goes for shopping and sights! From Jungfernstieg it's only a 15 minute walk to the St. Michel church from which you have an amazing view over the city and an additional 5 minutes to the harbour.
The rooms at Emporio are designed in a typically Scandinavian fashion - lots of wood and lots of light! Our room had a huge glass front which made the room incredibly light and a big bed with two mattresses where we slept perfectly. We also had a lovely artwork placed above our bed which definitely reminded me of Stockholm's hipster neighbourhood Södermalm.
The room also had a couch and table, as well as a huge desk and lots of space for our luggage and clothes. It even had coffe/tea making facilities, an ironing board and a dressing table and illuminated mirror, in addition to the safe and small fridge/mini bar combo.
The bathroom was spacious with a huge shower and wooden walls and provided everything you could possibly need - from a make-up mirror to a hair dryer and all kinds of soap.
Now, the whole hotel was following a design concept that revolved around water. The reception area featured a picture wall resembling an aquarium with fish and sharks while the restaurants serves tap water to be more ecofriendly. Even our room had the sentence "Wasser ist Leben" (Water is life) written on the wall.
From outside, the hotel definitely reminded me of the Turning Torso Tower in Malmö with all its huge glass windows and white front...
If anyone ever stayed at a Scandic Hotel, you know that their breakfast buffet is to die for! I already praised it in my review of Lofoten Suite Hotel and the buffet in Hamburg didn't disappoint either. You could find literally everything you could possibly want to eat for breakfast: different kinds of cereal, fruits, yoghurts, nuts, bread and rolls, croissants, cinnamon buns, scrambled eggs, sausages, bacon, lots of cheese, jam and what-not! Even gluten-free products!
Seriously, I could have stuffed my face all day long!
Breakfast is served at the H2O restaurant on ground floor. We were a bit shocked on our first morning as there was a huge queue (naturally, EVERYONE wants to eat breakfast at 10am on a Sunday) but we were provided with a table within 5 minutes of waiting so their service is really fast!
On Monday morning at 7am, we then had the restaurant pretty much to ourselves...
Our personal highlight of Scandic Hamburg Emporio was definitely the option to order pizza from their restaurant. On our last day, we went to the zoo and walked around all day long so when we got back to the hotel, we simply were too exhausted to go out for dinner again. Fortunately for us, the hotel offers three kinds of pizza plus drink for only €12,90 which you can order by phone and then have to pick up at the bar. So simple and delicious!
Seriously, what's better than pizza in bed?
I also loved that they have a shop next to the reception that's open 24 hours and where you can buy everything from toothpaste and deodorant in case you forgot something, to snacks and drinks in case you're hungry.
Also, you can check out online which saves you so much time on your departure day. Just check out and pay your restaurant or mini bar fees on your phone or laptop and all you need to do upon departure is throw your key card into a box at the reception. No more waiting around at 8 o'clock in the morning, hoping you'll still make your flight while a whole group of German tourists is in line in front of you....
Scandic Hamburg Emporio is located at Dammtorwall in central Hamburg, just a stone's throw from the metro station Gänsemarkt. Prices range from €130 to €150 for a standard room like the one described above, to €150-€180 for a superior room with included mini bar items and €160 to €190 for a family superior room which includes a welcome drink and gift.
I can definitely recommend staying at Emporio and had a lovely time there. The hotel is located right in the city centre and offers amazing facilities when it comes to breakfast and dinner. Their service was always fast and friendly and there's really nothing I could complain about.
So if you're headed to Hamburg and you'd love to experience a little piece of Scandinavia during your stay, Scandic Hamburg Emporio is the place to stay at!
Do you enjoy Scandinavian design? Could you imagine staying here?
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*Snow in Tromso received a complimentary stay at Scandic Hamburg Emporio in exchange for a review. As always, my opinions are my own.
Linking up with Bonnie for Travel Tuesday!