Excelsior Hotel Ernst, Cologne, Germany – Review

By Jonathan Spira on 4 December 2011
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Every two years when I was a child, just like clockwork, my father would head off to Cologne for the Photokina trade show and each time he spent almost a week at the Excelsior Hotel Ernst.  Upon his return, he had his secretary type up a letter to the hotel’s long-time general manager, Siegfried Breuning, making a reservation for two years hence.

I was allowed to go along on several of these trips and was always impressed by how the hotel staff knew my father – and how my father remembered each of them.

Carl Ernst built the Excelsior in 1863 and Kaiser Wilhelm I watched the completion of the Dom, the Cologne Cathedral, from his room there.  The Excelsior was one of the first hotels to have bathtubs in guestrooms and today, guests are offered numerous amenities that make in-room running water seem quaint.


My Deluxe Room, in the recently renovated Hanseflügel (Hanse wing), had a queen-sized bed, a partially heated floor, and was elegant and comfortable, with extensive use of dark wood in the bedroom and bath.

A pillow menu provided a choice of pillow types.  The bed was comfortable and afforded a pleasant night’s sleep. The gratis minibar was stocked with mineral water (with and without gas) and beer, a nice and very welcome touch.
The marble bath featured a very large walk-in shower and separate bath immediately adjacent to the shower, creating a very large and spacious bathing area.

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