With both tourism and corporate traveller numbers on the increase, Cologne has really risen to the challenge in the past decade. As one of Germany’s largest cities it’s an important centre of trade, including the motor industry, banking and science research. Today, alongside its reputation as a major cultural hub, it’s also attracting many conventions and international events.
From my many visits, I’ve accumulated a number of useful tips that can only come from personal experience.
Getting to Cologne
With a flight time of not much more than an hour, and regular direct flights from Gatwick, Heathrow and Stansted Airports, getting to Cologne is one of the easiest business commutes you’ll ever make! Germanwings, easyJet and Ryanair all offer regular scheduled flights, with both morning and afternoon departures.
Once you’re on the ground at Cologne Bonn Airport (CGN), the best way of making sure you get a hassle-free ride to your accommodation, meeting or trade show is on a prebooked airport transfer with Shuttle Direct. Our door-to-door executive services will have you there in around 45 minutes.
As you’d expect from one of the country’s busiest airports, the two terminals’ facilities are pretty extensive and the corporate services are run with typical German precision.
Wi-Fi: You can access the free Wi-Fi throughout both terminals with no problems. You just need to register and log in.
Shopping and Eating: If you’ve got time for either while you’re at the airport you’ve got plenty of choice. There are numerous restaurants and cafes in both terminals and Terminal 2 has a few 24-hour food outlets. Both terminals also have a pretty good selection of duty-free shops.
Professional Services: I’ve used the dedicated business lounge in Terminal 2 on numerous occasions, and you can also hire conference rooms for up to 200 guests in the Wällhof Conference Centre on level 1 of Terminal 1.
My Favourite Cologne Business Hotel
I have a couple of regular hotels I stay in when I’m in the city, but my top recommendation is the Pullman Cologne, with its unbeatable location right in the centre of the city. I always request the same room, which gives me a fabulous view of the Cathedral, and I can pretend I’m on holiday rather than business!
The rooms are very stylish and they’ve got great natural lighting, which is quite unusual for a hotel of this size. Apart from the luxury finishes (including a wellness shower in the deluxe rooms – I challenge you not to fall in love with it!) what I really appreciate is the excellent high speed Internet and the late 3pm checkout.
The hotel’s “Co-Meeting” programme provides several excellent spaces and a suite of high-level equipment and technology facilities.
A Couple of Others…
The Excelsior Hotel Ernst am Dom is another superb hotel for corporate visitors. With late check out, free Wi-Fi, secretarial services and a Conference Butler, every box is ticked and more. The icing on the cake is the onsite Michelin-starred restaurant to impress clients.
For my last recommendation, I’ve always found the more moderately priced Ameron Hotel Regent a really convenient and comfortable place to stay. The very stylish, contemporary rooms are complemented by a great onsite restaurant and state-of-the-art conference rooms for up to 280 delegates.
Wining & Dining Your Clients
I discovered Restaurant Konrad through a local German colleague and I’ve used it for a number of very pleasant working lunches. Situated in the Hilton Hotel (Marzellenstr. 13-17) Konrad serves up a pretty diverse array of European cuisine, but for me it’s their huge Black Angus steaks that make my taste buds tingle.
While it’s not small, it does manage to conjure up a very intimate atmosphere with subdued lighting and luxurious furnishings. The staff are attentive yet very discrete in their service, so it’s excellent for a private working lunch.
If you do take my advice to dine at the Konrad, I have a very special recommendation for you: white chocolate crème brûlée with peach sorbet. You’re most welcome.
Time to spare…
What’s not to love about this gorgeous city – except the fact that there’s so much to see, if you’re on business you may not get a chance to get around it all! I always manage to sneak in a few hours of sightseeing, though, and I highly recommend you do the same.
Of course the most famous attraction is the magnificent Kölner Dom – the Cathedral to you and I. This UNESCO-listed site is a true architectural triumph, but even for us mere corporate mortals, ascending the tower for the panoramic views of the city and Rhine is an experience not to be missed.
Lucky for us, culture comes chocolate covered in Cologne! The Schokoladenmuseum is the city’s most popular contemporary museum and, along with a serving of history, you can learn all about the elegant art of chocolate making. Surely that’s just good business?
Nothing clears the convention cobwebs better than a tranquil boat cruise up the Rhine, and exploring the city from a more abstract angle is a great way to de-stress after a long day.
The city has many peaceful green spaces in which to grab some quiet respite from a busy day, but Rheinpark is my favourite. It’s situated on the banks of the river and you can also jump in the cable car to get some pretty spectacular views – in case you didn’t make it up the tower of the Kölner Dom.
About Shuttle Direct:
Shuttle Direct has a well-earned reputation as the most trusted name in Europe for fast, efficient airport transfers. If you’re doing business in Cologne, our range of Standard, Executive or Premium services will get you to your accommodation, event or business meeting in a discrete, unbranded vehicle. Pre-book a service online and a driver will meet your flight and transfer you directly to your destination without delay.