I had to travel to Frankfurt, Germany for a two hour meeting (yes, that is right, a two hour meeting). A lot of effort is taken in handling business by phone, emails and sometimes video conferences, but there are some times when only a face-to-face meeting will assure the right points are communicated and understood. This is especially true when language or cultures may be a communication barrier.
I stayed at the Hilton Garden Inn in The Squaire which is attached to the airport. The Squaire is a large impressive glass and steel building that almost looks like a bathtub turned over. On the bottom level of The Squaire is the train station for long distance trains. The upper levels enclose a mall that includes restaurants, hotels, shops and offices. If you are only staying overnight and don’t want to go into Frankfurt or if you’re flying in or out of Frankfurt, The Squaire is a convenient option.
The Hilton Garden Inn is next to a full Hilton Hotel. I have stayed at both hotels in the past and have started staying at the Garden Inn since the rooms are extremely comfortable and it is cheaper. The Garden Inn has a full service restaurant and lounge or you can go next door to the Hilton if you do not want to wander far from the hotel. There is also a Starbucks close by and a grocery store one level down.
Having come off a vacation hours before my trip, I decided to eat light. I had dinner at Jingjing Asia Restaurant in The Squaire. I ordered Tom Yum soup, a sushi platter and an Asahi Extra Dry beer. The soup was a little sweet and lacked the spice I have come to expect with Tom Yum soup. This may be driven more by local tastes. The sashimi was a little tough probably since they do not get it fresh in Frankfurt. The noodle dishes look very good and I may try one next time. There are also nice variety of high end and fast food restaurants to pick from.
After our meeting, instead of spending another night at The Squaire before my flight in the morning, I decided to go to Heidelberg, Germany for the night to enjoy a more authentic German experience. Heidelberg is about an hour outside of Frankfurt by car or rail. Heidelberg is a university and tourist town with parks along one side of the river and Heidelberg castle looking down on the old section of the city. The old section of the city has restaurants and shops catering to both tourists and locals. I enjoyed dinner and local beers and did a lot of walking along the river and through the city. I stayed at the Heidelberg Marriott, which is a bit dated but comfortable and reasonably priced. For the same price as a night at the Hilton at The Squaire, I could afford a night at the Marriott in Heidelberg and round trip train tickets. With a connection, a train runs about every 30 minutes to Frankfurt so getting to the airport in time for my flight was no issue.
With the great rail system, I will have to pull out my map next time I am headed to Frankfurt and explore another small picturesque German town.