Bristol Hotel, Frankfurt ***

Stayed: February 2017
The hotel is relatively near the train station, so walking there isn't a problem even with luggage - about 5 min. for anyone good on their feet. If you take track 24 about halfway to the rear and exit, you are right on the street the hotel is on (more convenient than walking from the side exit of the train station).
It is also near the fairgrounds (the reason I picked it). As it turns out, getting to the fairgrounds with a reasonable amount of effort means going back to the train station and taking the S-Bahn... You can walk there from the hotel, but it is quite a ways (about half an hour).
My room (120) faced the hotel's own conference center, so it was quiet at night. The street side is relatively busy and has a tram going by it that turns a corner, so you get noise from that as well. As it turned out, it was logistically well placed: I had the stairway and a "private" elevator just around the corner; the stairway went straight to
the breakfast room.
There was a strange, scraping noise at times - after the fact, I think it might have come from that elevator, but I'm not sure. I woke up from it at around 5:30 in the morning and kept waking up whenever it occurred. Annoying.
My room was an "Economy Single" and boy, was it ever small. My guess is 2.5m wide and maybe 6m in length, though when you enter you have a long "hallway" with a small bathroom to the left and then the sleeping quarters. With a backpack and an open suitecase (I was travelling through), the room is just plain too small for comfort.
However, everything was spic and span, the room has a large heater which does a good job in the winter. There is also AC, though I didn't use that . The bathroom is small but functional and also clean. There used to be a second door from the hallway to the sleeping section, but unfortunately, it is not there anymore (it would cancel out some of the noise coming from the hallway).
Nonetheless, I found the price to be too high for such a small room. To be fair, there was a trade fair going on, but it was a very small one. No reason for the pricing, in my opinion.
There is free Wifi in the room; connectivity was fine and the transfer speed good. Download speed started at a strong 26MBit and went down during the test (daytime) to about 17MBit. Upload started at 10MBit and went down to 7MBit. These are fantastic values for a hotel wifi connection!
An annoyance is the location of  a mains outlet at the desk - it is all the way at the back of the desk underneath, quite a bend-and-reach. Why one isn't built into the desk itself is beyond me.
Breakfast was included in the room rate and was very good. Anything you might want was there, from warm food to cold food to yoghurt, smoothies, cereals, fruit.
I would stay here again in a larger room, though I'm afraid that will be priced too high in comparison with other hotels in Frankfurt, some of which I've stayed in and found to be quite ok. If you do stay, ask for a room to the back or be prepared to put ear plugs in.

Star Inn Hotel Frankfurt ***

Last stay: March 2014

The hotel is close to the central train station and should be easily reachable by tram as well, as the tram line runs right in front of the hotel. You’ll walk two blocks to reach it, but it’s in a decent neighborhood, so no worries.

The room (425) looked freshly renovated and was quite spacious with a large bed that was quite comfortable. Lighting is adequate and simple enough to operate. The room does have air conditioning (which I had turned off).

There are outlets built into the desk, but all save one were in use (TV, etc.). I ended up unplugging the TV in order to plug in a charger as well as my laptop.

While the windows - like the rest of the room - looked quite new, someone obviously saved a buck by not putting in sound abating panes. This is a real problem for any rooms facing the main road as you get quite a bit of tram traffic here and boy, is it loud! There was a T-intersection right below my window (which faced a smaller side-street; unfortunately one that the tram ran down as well). When the trains run over this intersection piece of track, you can feel the shake while lying down in bed - on the 4th floor!!!

This is most unfortunate, because everything else about the hotel is “right” - good breakfast, good price, good location. If you aren’t a light sleeper, you may be fine (though I doubt it); otherwise bring some ear plugs!

Breakfast was good as well, by the way - not overly diverse but everything you expect to be there was there and the coffee was great.

ibis Frankfurt Centrum **

Stay: March 2014

This hotel is located right on the Main river, about 400m from the central train station. You’re walking right along one of the more busy roads in Frankfurt, so you should be fine even arriving at night.

Right across the hotel is a fascinating building that looks a bit like someone took the Gurken of London and flattened it out (thereby shrinking it a bit). If you like taking extended walks, you’re in a prime location - the walkways along the Main are a true joy, especially in the summer when a lot of people are out.

Unfortunately, the hotel isn’t worth the relatively high room rate (I paid 65€ without breakfast). The rooms exhibit the usual ibis “flair”, with the usual, odd architectural highlights. For example, the toilet is squeezed into a section of the (tiny!) bathroom that has a wall cutting diagonally into your thigh as you sit (see picture below). If you’re very tall and heavy, you will NOT be sitting on this toilet - it’s annoying even for a 5’10” jobber like me!

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The bathroom door opens the wrong way, something owing to the architecture as well, but annoying as anything, as you’ll be either having to open the door fully (flat against the wall) to enter the bathroom or squeeze by the desk and chair to get in:

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Looking out the window (I was in room 242, right along the right edge of the hotel), you get a nice view of the river ... and of a four-lane bridge that has traffic pouring over it for a good 20 hours per day. Unfortunately, the window is so poorly soundproofed, that I checked to make sure it was closed when I first got into the room. If you’re a light sleeper, you’re in for a lovely night wearing ear plugs.

The ear plugs are warranted anyway, since the rooms are very “open” to sounds from the hallway (due to a very poorly gasketed door) and from rooms kittycorner to your own. At 3:30 AM, someone next to me turned on the TV and I was yearning for those ear plugs.

Another highlight is the complete lack of a trash can. Of course, you don’t get tissues in the bathroom either, so if you need to blow your nose, toilet paper it is - to be disposed in the toilet... thanks, ibis, it IS pollen time right now!

You do get a relic from the 90’s though, a phone with a modem jack:

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One day, I’m going to quiz my kids on what that jack is for, just to see what outlandish ideas they come up with (“charge your laptop?”).

Breakfast is okay, though likely not worth the 12€ they charged for it. At least the coffee is good, though!

All in all, certainly a hotel you can stay in if everything else is booked, but neither cheap nor really great.

Hotel Cristall, Frankfurt ****

I’m surprised I haven’t reviewed this hotel before - I’ve stayed here a number of times; and not, because it isn’t worth it!

The hotel is right on the north-west corner of Frankfurt’s central station (Hauptbahnhof); this makes it extremely well situated for both late arrivals by train as well as exploring the city (which is extremely walkable).

I’ve stayed at this hotel multiple times over the last three years; while I realized they were doing some renovations (the last time I stayed, there was a huge scaffold set up on the outside), I didn’t know they were redoing all of their rooms!

I had room 42 on the top floor, and found the renovation to be really well done. The room was very modern (despite the higher than standard ceiling, hinting at the age of the building), with brand new everything: window, bed, furniture, walls, bathroom, etc. A/C is installed.

Really surprising and completely unnecessary: the brand-new door is a complete flop in keeping hallway noise out. So if you have people on the same floor as I had, rattling their door and clicking the key back and forth in a (drunken!) attempt to get into their room, or simply slamming their door shut at midnight, then you’ll likely be woken up a couple of times. We have extremely sound-tight room doors in our renovated house that didn’t cost an arm and a leg - and it’s simply a shame that this wasn’t considered when renovating the room.

Those who have read my reviews before know that I’m a big fan of thermostatic controlled show fixtures, especially in older buildings where the plumbing just doesn’t match up with modern setups. To my horror (really), I realized in the morning, that even though the entire bathroom is brand new, they hadn’t bothered to put in a thermostat fixture, opting for the slightly cheaper regular one-handled type. What a shame, folks - these things don’t cost that much more! As if to punish me for my annoyance, the water temperature varied wildly after about two minutes of showering...

Also, they have modern soap dispensers both at the sink and in the shower. While I usually find these more than convenient, the type they installed have to be squeezed and require an excessive amount of force. I doubt a child would be able to get anything out of them.

While I’m complaining: breakfast is really cramped (the tables are laid for four people but are so small, that seating four would make eating more of an annoyance than anything else) and the selection is just ok. For €8, I would have expected a bit more.

And beware: the building is quite old, as is the elevator (1986). While it works relatively silently, it only stops at in-between locations. Remember the high ceilings? Well, to take the elevator, you always have to walk up or down a half-floor when getting on as well as when getting off. This isn’t an issue if you’re traveling light. If your suitcase is a monster, however, you’re going to be unpleasantly surprised how long a half-floor staircase can be!

All in all the location is great, the rooms are nice and new and breakfast is optional - you may just want to have it someplace else.

Hotel Villa Oriental, Frankfurt ****

This hotel is a visual treat. You enter, and you’re in Arabia. The theme is continuous throughout the entire hotel and rooms. Room was quite big, but to the street (Baseler Strasse), which is excessively busy. Even though I’m sure the windows are pretty good at keeping noise out, you have a continuous noise level coming in from the street (I was, however, able to sleep). There is A/C, so there should be no need to open the windows in the summer.

The location is great, of course - you’re very close to the central train station, to the river and to the central part of the city. Also, there is a tram station right across from the hotel.

One major gripe I have is the tap in the shower: the handles are huge (which goes with the decor) and you almost can’t avoid hitting the cold water lever while showering, which will turn the water way too hot (if not scalding). The shower head, too, is a touch too simplistic, the water distribution would be much better with a modern one. The tiled floor of the shower seems to be pretty much level, which causes a pretty lake of standing water once you’re finished.

Breakfast was relatively simple (but ok), though I was delighted to find an oriental-style omelet available.

All in all, I would recommend the place, the price is okay. Try to get a room away from the street, if posible.

Hotel Topas, Frankfurt ***

The hotel is close to the side exit of Frankfurt’s central station. The lobby is like the rest of the hotel: very utilitarian and somewhat cramped. I had room 20, which faces a courtyard, so it gets no street noise.

While that was fine, the room is pretty cramped and the refrigerator sits right next to the bed, albeit in a cabinet. The fridge is completely empty but running, making low but hearable noises right next to your pillow. It can’t be turned off or unplugged. The pillow was way too fluffy, with no alternatives available.

The bathroom is ok - unfortunately, the shower doesn’t have a thermostat to control the temperature, and it took me a good two minutes to get the temperature of the water right. Also, there is a soap dispenser in the shower and an identical unit by the sink, but both are so tough to operate, that I would guess neither a child nor a normal woman would be able to get soap out of the things. Its a system I’ve never seen before - probably for a reason.

Breakfast is pretty simple, just rolls with jam / butter and a selection of cheese slices and cheap meats, yoghurt, some cereals in dispensers and extremely hardboiled eggs.

The place is ok - I would stay there again if better hotels (all in the same price range) in the area weren’t available.

I paid €55 including breakfast.