The Vibe: Industrial chic.
The Area: It’s strange that Mannheim which is so dependent on its river location (both the Rhine and the Neckar) has so few river-side buildings, but the Speicher7 is one of them. The city centre with its many cultural institutions is a five minute walk, while the latest cultural hotspot Jungbusch is adjacent. The Rhine borders two German states here, with the city of Ludwigshafen in Rhineland-Palatinate just across.
The DNA: Speicher7 is a cutting edge design hotel set in a renovated 1950’s grain silo, which stood empty for over 30 years. The architects transformed the original building but maintained the original and raw concrete structures, floorings and many details from the former usage. A mixture of vintage and classic furniture pieces reflect the spirit of optimism of the 1950s and 1960s. Cooling and heating is provided by a photovoltaic-system on the southern façade, which itself is made of corten steel, a material suiting the raw harbour environment. The facade has a thermal insulation of 18cm and the windows are triple-glazed. The hip foyer has a bar and a terrace on the river, which in summer becomes an urban beach. A gourmet restaurant, Marly, is situated next door in the same building. The hotel offers a flow sauna and yoga area, and a personal trainer can be arranged on request.
Suite-Me-Up: Rooms continue the theme of the hotel, combining original elements with vintage furniture. There are only 20 rooms, divided on the first and second floor. Rooms vary considerably in size, ranging between a “Storage” room of 25m2 to a Suite of 80m2. The 45m2 “Harbour Room” has views towards both the city (railway tracks plus an operating goods line adding sense of place) and the shimmering river Rhine. Concrete floors, wool rug, coffee table books, vintage lamps, beds by CocoMat, an iPod dock/CD player/alarm clock, a huge green coach and atmospheric photos of North African imagery add to the hipster atmosphere. You would not mind living here. A minibar can be installed, but we suggest heading to the bar with its imaginative drinks list. Bathrooms are bliss: concrete and natural wood plus a huge rain shower. The toilet is separated by the room with a wooded divider with the typical heart-shaped opening, reminiscent of the “out houses” of old days.
Your hosts: Thorsten Kraft & Jürgen Tekath
Accolades: An excellent, thought provoking conversion of an old warehouse to a hotel, which has retained the soul and individuality of the original building. Preservation of the structure and its architectural detailing has been fundamental in its success, meaning that the hotel is integrated into its neighbourhood while also bringing a new social highlight to a formerly neglected area.Winner of the European Hotel Design Awards 2013 for Architecture of the Year.
✅ free Wi-Fi • size matters: 20 rooms (25-80m2) (269-861 sq ft) • hotel opened: 2013 • architecture: Schmucker und Partner • bathroom amenities: Aesop ✅ free on-site parking • pets allowed on request • 24-hour front desk • wheelchair accessible