Review: Element Frankfurt Airport

Filed Under: Hotel Reviews, Hotels

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I’ve been waiting anxiously for a couple of years now for the Element Frankfurt Airport to open. Not because I was necessarily excited about the property, but rather because I was curious.

I’ve reviewed many of the other chain hotel options in Frankfurt, including the Sheraton Frankfurt Airport, Hilton Frankfurt Airport, Hilton Frankfurt, Le Meridien Parkhotel Frankfurt, Westin Grand Frankfurt, and InterContinental Frankfurt.

Well, the Element Frankfurt Airport finally opened in late August 2014, so I was keen to check it out with this visit. While the hotel wasn’t at all convenient for where I needed to be, I figured it was worth going out of my way to stay at it for a review. My rate was about 120EUR per night, which isn’t cheap, though isn’t horrible either.

For what it’s worth, this is a Category 4 property, making a free night redemption 10,000 Starpoints per night, or a Cash & Points reservation 5,000 Starpoints plus $75 per night.

The first thing worth noting (which I knew going in) is that the hotel doesn’t have an airport shuttle, free or paid. How a secluded airport hotel doesn’t have a shuttle is kind of beyond me. I brought it up with the front desk, and they mentioned apparently they were working on getting a permit for a shuttle.

The cab ride wasn’t very expensive — about 8EUR — though the issue is that the taxi driver was literally yelling at me for the entire five minute ride, about how I was wasting his time by giving him such a short ride, etc. Apparently there’s a paid public bus that stops at the hotel, but I didn’t figure that out prior to my stay.

Anyway, the hotel is located just a few minutes from the airport, and is actually quite nice from the outside, in a sterile way. From the outside it actually kind of looked like the building wasn’t yet done, as there was a lack of outside furniture/plants. Then again, it’s winter in Germany, so… 😉

Element Frankfurt Airport exterior

Element Frankfurt Airport entrance

Once through the entrance the reception was located to the left, while the lobby seating was located to the right. There was tons and tons of seating, with both dining tables and couches — it was kind of like a huge living room.

Element Frankfurt Airport lobby

Element Frankfurt Airport lobby

Element Frankfurt Airport lobby

There was also a small business center in the lobby.

Element Frankfurt Airport business center

Once I got to the reception desk I was promptly helped by a friendly associate who went through all the “correct” motions. She thanked me for being a Platinum, offered me late check-out, asked what I wanted as my amenity, informed me I had been upgraded from a studio to a one bedroom suite, explained breakfast hours, etc.

I took the elevator up to the second floor, where my suite was located.

Element Frankfurt Airport hallway

I was assigned suite 201, which was kind of sandwiched in the middle of the hotel (which is in a triangular shape).

Element Frankfurt Airport room entrance

Element Frankfurt Airport floorplan

The room was large and well furnished. Element properties are intended to be extended stay properties, so at the entrance was a large kitchen with a dishwasher, fridge, stove, etc.

Element Frankfurt Airport lobby

Element Frankfurt Airport one bedroom suite living room

Element Frankfurt Airport one bedroom suite living room

Then the living room featured a comfortable couch, which overlooked the console with the desk and flat screen TV.

Element Frankfurt Airport one bedroom suite living room

Element Frankfurt Airport one bedroom suite living room

Element Frankfurt Airport one bedroom suite desk

Even though I selected points as my Platinum welcome amenity, there was a small amenity consisting of a bottle of beer, two bottles of water, and some chips in my room. Nice touch!

Element Frankfurt Airport one bedroom suite welcome gift

Then between the kitchen and living room was a large closet, which also contained a Nespresso coffee machine. That’s kind of impressive for an Element.

Element Frankfurt Airport one bedroom suite Nespresso coffee machine

Element Frankfurt Airport one bedroom suite closet

Since I was on the second floor I had a direct street view. There wasn’t much traffic at all on the street, so it felt really peaceful from the room — I heard virtually no street noise.

Element Frankfurt Airport one bedroom suite view

A door connected the living room to the bedroom, which featured a comfortable king size bed.

Element Frankfurt Airport one bedroom suite bedroom

The bed faced a flat screen TV.

Element Frankfurt Airport one bedroom suite bedroom

Then next to the bedroom was the bathroom, which felt kind of small for a suite. It had a sink, toilet, and walk-in shower. The issue with the shower was that it was literally separated from the rest of the bathroom by half a glass shield, so all the water would get over the entire bathroom floor. I kind of wonder whether the people that design bathrooms have actually ever used them before, or…?

Element Frankfurt Airport one bedroom suite bathroom

Element Frankfurt Airport one bedroom suite toilet

Element Frankfurt Airport one bedroom suite bathroom

The shower featured two “heads” — one attached to the wall, and one handheld one.

Element Frankfurt Airport one bedroom suite shower

As is the norm at Element properties, toiletries were in refillable containers. I can appreciate that it’s better for the environment and cheaper, but there’s something that kind of grosses me out about the whole thing.

Element Frankfurt Airport one bedroom suite toiletries

Wifi in the room was fast and the curtains were almost like blackout shades, so all things considered I was thrilled with the room, including the proactive upgrade.

In terms of the hotel’s other facilities, there seemed to be coffee in the lobby throughout the day, which is always much appreciated.

Element Frankfurt Airport coffee

Near the reception desk there was also a small pantry where you could buy basic items. That seemed nice in theory, though they didn’t even have still water for sale (there was none in my room and none in the gym).

Element Frankfurt Airport convenience store

The hotel has a restaurant called Limones. In my experience Element properties in the US usually have a complimentary evening happy hour, though this one didn’t. I did end up having dinner in the hotel’s restaurant one night, since I was tired and there was nothing in the immediate area.

Element Frankfurt Airport Limones Restaurant

The restaurant is cute, and it surprised me that a lot of non-hotel guests seemed to be eating there.

Element Frankfurt Airport Limones Restaurant

The restaurant had a prix fixe dinner menu, which read as follows:


I had a salad to start, which was excellent.

Element Frankfurt Airport Limones Restaurant salad

I had fish as the main course. The fish itself was somewhat bland, though the veggies and rice were surprisingly tasteful.

Element Frankfurt Airport Limones Restaurant main course

Then for dessert I had rice pudding with cinnamon, which was light and tasty.

Element Frankfurt Airport Limones Restaurant dessert

The hotel offers all guests complimentary breakfast, between 6:30AM and 9:30AM on weekdays. The breakfast spread was fantastic, not even taking into account that it’s complimentary for all guests.

Element Frankfurt Airport Limones Restaurant breakfast buffet

Element Frankfurt Airport Limones Restaurant breakfast buffet

To drink they had juice, tea, coffee, etc.

Element Frankfurt Airport Limones Restaurant breakfast buffet

Then they had a buffet with fresh pastries, bread, croissants, danishes, etc.

Element Frankfurt Airport Limones Restaurant breakfast buffet

Element Frankfurt Airport Limones Restaurant breakfast buffet

Then there was fruit, yogurt, and several kinds of cereal.

Element Frankfurt Airport Limones Restaurant breakfast buffet

Element Frankfurt Airport Limones Restaurant breakfast buffet

Element Frankfurt Airport Limones Restaurant breakfast buffet

And then there was a hot egg dish.

Element Frankfurt Airport Limones Restaurant breakfast buffet

In terms of the hotel’s other facilities, there was a small gym on the basement floor. It’s very basic, though I was the only one there when I used it. I was a bit puzzled by the fact that they didn’t have any water in the gym. I don’t think I’ve ever seen that before.

Element Frankfurt Airport gym

Element Frankfurt Airport gym

And since I live in hotels full time I should note that the hotel also has laundry facilities, which is awesome.

Element Frankfurt Airport laundromat

Service at the hotel was excellent, and I was impressed that when I checked out I wasn’t just asked how my stay was, but was also asked what they could do to improve. Now that’s how you actually get guest feedback. Interestingly that question is one of the things that most stuck with me about the stay.

Element Frankfurt Airport bottom line

Aside from the disappointment of them not yet having an airport shuttle (which for me is a major hangup for an airport hotel), I was pleasantly surprised. The rooms were beautiful, the staff were excellent, the elite treatment was great, and the breakfast buffet was among the best “free” breakfast buffets I’ve seen.

Would I return? Well, probably not. That’s simply because there are two excellent hotels connected to the terminal at Frankfurt Airport.

As a Starwood Platinum you really can’t beat the Sheraton Frankfurt Airport. You’re in your room five minutes after leaving the terminal, the renovated rooms are nice, and the club lounge is top notch. So unless the price difference is huge, it’s tough to justify hauling out to another hotel that isn’t connected to the airport, without free snacks and drinks all day.

But if I didn’t have status and the rate was reasonable, I’d be much more likely to return.

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  1. Lucky, is that a San Miguel beer in the gift pack? Interesting choice considering all the other German options.

  2. living rather close to LGA, i get yelled at all the time by frustrated cabbies. i usually stay silent but it bugs me because a) it’s their damn job and b) they get what’s called a “shorty ticket” if their fare isn’t going into manhattan. this lets them skip the line when they get back to LGA for another fare. one driver one day wouldn’t stop muttering about how i was “screwing him” by simply living in queens. it almost escalated to a fist fight!

  3. Ben…. There’s no need for you to buy bottled still water. Tap water does the trick, even in Germany 😉

  4. I have stayed at a few different Element hotels before and they all had a glass water pitcher in the room along with a reverse osmosis water filter in the kitchen area of the room. I am assuming that is why you do not see many water bottles since they are a “green” hotel. Did you notice a water filter in your room?

  5. The fact that they don’t have a shuttle kills this hotel for me! I’ve actually been pretty happy at the Park Inn by Radisson which is located in the same general area as the element. They offer a shuttle which is free from the airport but you then have to pay to take it back to the airport. With the addition of the element I have noticed the Sheraton FRA rates also being significantly lower the last couple of times I was needing a room. (could also be the fact that there’s also more competition allround with the Hilton and HGI that opened within the last year)

  6. Good review as always Ben and much appreciated, but Germany is a developed nation with a clean water supply, so I don’t understand the issue with not having bottled water in the room when there is nothing wrong with using the tap.

  7. If you know you’re going to the gym then I would assume most people would pack a bottle of water with them. It’s really not that big an issue to fill a bottle of water from your room and take it down with you.
    You should try tap water sometime though, you might like it

  8. “though the issue is that the taxi driver was literally yelling at me for the entire five minute ride, about how I was wasting his time by giving him such a short ride”

    Well, then he’s an idiot for letting you get into his cab in the first place. Once he lets you into his cab and agrees to take you somewhere, he really has no excuse to bitch you out for wasting his time.

  9. @ Jen — Sorry, I don’t travel with a bottle of water. My carry-on is packed enough as it is, and this is the first hotel I’ve ever stayed at that doesn’t have bottled water. But maybe my sample size just isn’t big enough. 😉

  10. Looks a lot nicer than the HI I stayed at in Frankfurt, but was easier for exploring the city.

    Augustiner beer was a great beer served to me at a downtown pub. Some even drink on the metro/trolley, which was a surprise to me.

    Uber was available in Frankfurt. Nice being driven around in a VW Phaeton or BMW, versus a Prius here in the US.

  11. @wwk5d:
    In Germany, a taxi may only refuse a fare if the passenger is a threat to the safety of the service or other passengers (read: intoxicated etc.). Otherways, according to the law, he must accept any passenger, even if the transport is only for a block. (Some drivers are trying to persuade passengers to try other forms of transport, but he may face a fine if he is caught refusing a fare for invalid reasons).

  12. I’m curious about how you do laundry now that you’re 100% in hotels. Do you go out and find a laundromat/laundry shop in town, or plan to stay at hotels like the Element with laundry facilities? Or do you pay the exorbitant per piece rates charged by most hotels?

    Maybe a post on this would be useful for folks who go on extended trips. I had a really hard time in Tokyo finding laundry, whereas it’s super easy in SE Asia.

  13. @ V — I almost always use fluff & fold places. They charge you a reasonable amount per pound, and then wash and fold. Super easy!

  14. @Lucky — That would be my preference too, the trick is finding them! Especially in cities where you don’t speak the local language, and you don’t want to ask the concierge 🙂 I guess the other challenge is, being sure you’ll get your laundry back before you leave, especially if you’re only in a city for a couple days. I’ve taken to trying out the Scrubba for those situations.

  15. My answer to the driver at the end of the trip would have been: “Sie hätten 10 EUR Trinkgeld dafür bekommen, dass die Fahrt so kurz war. Allerdings gebe ich ungerne Geld an diejenigen, die mich anscheißen. Auf Wiedersehen.”

  16. Ha ha, the comment from 02nz says, You would have earned a 10 euro tip from me for making such a short trip but due to being such an a-hole to me I changed my mind about that!

    A selection of bottled water is de rigeur nowadays. True, tap water in Germany is safe to drink — in fact, microbiological testing routinely shows it to be safer than bottled — but there should be at least one low sodium/calcium/magnesium and one high-mineral content variety. The first is for smooth taste and for making tea, the second is for replenishing minerals espc. after strenuous exercise. Guest should also be able to choose between fizzy, non-fizzy and medium-fizzy.

  17. I stayed in the Element earlier in 2016 and there was still no shuttle. I used the shuttle to the Radisson from where it is just another 5 min walk. I could hardly get cell phone reception in the Element – only in the lobby but not in the room – and the wifi broke down as well during my stay. So I felt perfectly isolated a few minutes away from one of the biggest airports in the world…

  18. There is an airport shuttle now. It’s free from the airport to the hotel and if I ‘m not mistaken you have to buy a ticket for a ride in the other direction.

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