Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Anything Goes in Hamburg; A Night out in the German City Is Not Complete without a Trip to the Fish Market Sarah Walters Discovers

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Anything Goes in Hamburg; A Night out in the German City Is Not Complete without a Trip to the Fish Market Sarah Walters Discovers

Article excerpt

Byline: Sarah Walters

DOWN at the docks of Hamburg, there's an old fish market that sums up the entire ethos of this north German city. It opens at 5am every Sunday, but not to catch the early risers.

This is the domain of those who refuse to call a night a night. Until 9am, they flock here from the city's famous party central that is the Reeperbahn and St Pauli district to keep the party going in the main hall while the band plays on - typically rock 'n' roll and blues covers - until way past dawn.

On the cobbled streets outside, they can make a wide range of drunken purchases at the extensive market: everything from fruit bowls and cuddly toys to live chickens and palm trees.

One open-markets It's a quirky joint exclusive to Hamburg, but it summarises the party spirit that drew the likes of The Beatles, Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis and Jimi Hendrix here in the 1960s. Anything goes; and everyone is permanently ready to go with it.

I venture down to this celebrated outpost on my final night/morning in Hamburg after a long weekend staying in the more dignified central area of the city at Hamburg's best address: the Fairmont Hotel Vier Jahreszeiten, on the tranquil shores of the Inner Alster Lake.

As hotels go, it's difficult to imagine finding oneself in more opulent or varied surroundings within one building. The red-carpet entrance and dark-wood lobby are stately and elegant; even the lift that transports me up to my suite on the fourth floor is a photo opportunity.

A three-year redecoration programme to bring standards and technology up to date has put the hotel among the world's top digs.

The suite I arrive in boasts an exquisite bathroom with more shower and sink space than any guest could need, a walk-in wardrobe, a huge lounge space and a bed that's emotionally difficult to part company with.

There are four wildly different restaurants in this building - including the two Michelin- starred Haerlin, the Jahrenzeiten Grill for refined Hanseatic menus, and the celebrated Euro-Asian cocktail bar and fine dining room Doc Cheng's - as well as many bars (the exclusive Jahreszeiten is the one to sneak into, Hamburg's smallest bar) and two floors of spa and sports facilities.

the flea Why the variety? Because the Fairmont has a fascinating history of acquisitions - starting as a small, 11-room hotel in the late 1800s and eventually buying more and more neighbouring property to turn it into the 156-room palace it is today.

After a freshen up and nail treatment in the spa, I head to dinner at Doc Cheng's, a low lit basement space that smells incredible. It's formal and fussy, but in all the right ways, and the Iberico steak here is out of this world. Any English (wo) man abroad should also try the Earl-Grey MarTEAni Explosion; it's a curious oddity that's not entirely pleasant, but it's an interesting slant on the iconic flavours of home. …

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