Monocolumn: Business Hotels Scrub Up
Hannover is one of those cities which boasts a massive, world-class exhibition centre, but which has neglected to provide anywhere for visitors to actually stay.
I’ve just been to Hannover to attend an exhibition of vans and commercial vehicles (actually, I rather enjoyed it). I ended up paying €250 to stay in a frightful, pastel-coloured “business hotel” (shorthand for, “No one else wants to stay there”). It was literally the last room in the city and the manager cheerfully admitted to me that, outside from exhibitions, he charged €75. That’s a more than 300 per cent mark up. I now never, ever want to go to Hannover again.
It seems that Hannover – like Milan, Dusseldorf and Copenhagen, and quite a few others we could mention (I’m looking at you, Birmingham) – is one of those cities which boasts a massive, world-class exhibition centre, but which has neglected to provide anywhere for visitors to actually stay. Hannover Messe opened in 1947, so you’d think they’d have had time to sort this out.
Copenhagen is at least trying. The Danish capital has been notorious for its lacklustre, costly accommodation in the past, but in the last five to 10 years the city has seen a hotel building bonanza: 1,600 new rooms were added last year alone, many of them in a new Cab Inn designed by Daniel Liebeskind. The expansion will be capped in 2011 with the opening of Bella Sky, which will primarily service the Bella Center, Scandinavia’s largest conference and exhibition hangar. The 1.6bn kroner (€215m) Bella Sky, with its two, lacy-façaded, leaning towers by Copenhagen’s 3XN, will be the largest hotel in Scandinavia, with 814 rooms.
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