Before we officially put a check mark behind the year 2020 in two weeks, we reviewed the past twelve months. We reflected on how much we have learned from the challenges, what was most important during this time and how closely we have grown together. And despite all the obstacles - it was a beautiful year! Join us in reminiscing about the most important moments this year.Read more
The first hours of the year were full of atmosphere. Above the rooftops of the city and with a view of the lights of Hamburg harbour, there was dancing and celebrating - a beautiful start to this still seemingly ordinary new year.
We had a lot planned for 2020. Immediately after the last celebrating guests made their way home or to their rooms, we closed our beloved Port restaurant for a core renovation. For 10 months we planned this day and the restaurant's renovation. For almost 40 years, the name Port stood for maritime atmosphere, North German cuisine and an unmistakable view of the Landungsbrücken. Now it was time for a change. From one day to the next, the space was completely gutted.
Over the next few weeks, we welcomed many guests, hosted meetings, planned events, served drinks - a normality we now appreciate more than we would ever know! At the beginning of February we were proud to congratulate our apprentices on their successful graduation. Some of them found a new employment in our hotel and continue to be part of our team.
The year seemed to be promising.
Something changed in the first days of March. The Corona pandemic was here to stay and we more or less had to observe what this meant for our industry. A travel ban for tourist purposes was issued and we decided to temporarily close the doors of our Hotel Hafen Hamburg.
The decision was not easy for us and we were, of course, unsure. At no point were we unsure that we would reopen our doors, but about how long and what that time would be like. For how long would the infection numbers increase? Would fellow citizens comply with the requests and regulations of the state governments, helping to ensure that we could quickly resume operating? Through our privately run corporate structure, we are used to tackling things and challenges on our own and suddenly we were highly dependent on completely new influencing factors that were out of our control.
The plan for the first days after the closure was quickly set - inform guests, rebook or cancel reservations, allow employees to work from their homes and, above all, think positively. The virtual support of our guests helped us in particular. We were and still are infinitely grateful for our great community, the exchange, the daily comments under our posts on social networks and the incredibly kind and encouraging words in response to our newsletters. As passionate hosts, we especially missed the face-to-face exchange with you - our guests.
Despite the fact that the hotel was no longer in operation, it was not quiet over here at the time! Renovation and refurbishment work was going on at a safe distance, but at full speed. In addition to our restaurant Port, around 90 bathrooms in our hotel were renovated step by step.
For the hopefully soon upcoming reopening, however, we have not only put special focus on renovations, but also on our hygiene concept.
We have worked diligently to prepare our house for Corona-compliant and safe hotel operations. From path guidance systems, to additional hygiene training, to acrylic glass panels at our reception, our goal was to provide you with the best conditions for a visit to Hamburg as soon as possible.
The weeks went by and despite the digital communication, we missed our guests and the daily face-to-face interaction with them. Because what is a host without a guest? Under this motto, we participated in the #dufehlst project together with a Hamburg communications agency and other hotel businesses in Hamburg. The result is a very private video.
On the 13th of May, it was finally time: hotels and restaurants were allowed to reopen for leisure travelers! With all safety precautions, we welcomed the first guests after the 60-day closure.
The first day after the reopening was particularly exciting and the feeling is not so easy to be expresses in words.
Now we were happy to be able to welcome guests again and to turn our plans, which we had been planning for weeks, into reality.
After the lockdown and an extensive reconstruction process, we were able to set sail with our new restaurant Port on June 11. We were very happy, because the restaurant was actually already finished in mid-March, but the final phase of the renovation coincided with the closure of our hotel. As you can imagine, we were eager to present you the new design and the new dishes.
The new look of the restaurant Port reminds in a modern way of harbors and ships of the past. The new bar invites you to linger. In addition to traditional Hamburg dishes, delicacies from the grill will make your mouth water. The positive feedback from our guests has made us incredibly happy and has once again given us the feeling that we are on the right track despite the many challenges.
The warm summer at the Port of Hamburg had a lot to offer. From beautiful walks along the Elbe, to the first reopening of museums and cultural institutions, to exciting harbor cruises and cozy afternoons on our shady terrace of the Restaurant Port.
Many guests took the opportunity to get to know Hamburg from its calmer side. We spent even more time than usual in the summer to give our guests a warm welcome, to make them feel safe, to give them sightseeing tips and insider tips, and to always be on hand to offer advice.
In mid-July, we received happy news - together with our sister hotel Empire Riverside Hotel, we were honored by the German Hotel and Restaurant Association (DEHOGA) as a "TOP training company". We owe the award to the great evaluations of our trainees. For us, education in the hotel and gastronomy industry has always had a high priority. Even in these uncertain times, we were happy to invest in the future. Despite the pandemic, we are therefore particularly proud to have welcomed ten new trainees in August.
The most important word of the year for the hotel industry was probably: flexibility. Opening hours, concepts and procedures were regularly modified, changed or overturned. The goal was always to offer you and our employees the highest possible protection and yet not to lose sight of the comfort and fun that a trip should be.
Flexibility was not only required in our concepts, but also in our offers. Due to the proximity to the Baltic Sea and the North Sea, which were popular destinations for trips and vacations not only this year, we created travel inspirations for you. Together with ATLANTIC Hotels, we offered combined stays in Hanseatic cities and Germany's most beautiful coastal resorts during the summer and autumn. This way, spending a holiday in northern Germany was easier, more varied and also more affordable.
The port, the water and the ships are inseparable from Hamburg. So it happens that the arrival of a ship not infrequently becomes a (small) major event. Especially when it is a historic ship. Three years ago, the four-masted barque "Peking" returned to Germany from New York to be restored after 85 years in its home country. Hamburg ship lovers were equally happy about the arrival of the Peking in September and the scenario reminded a little bit of a small harbor birthday. The safest and best view of the show was given from our summer terrace at the restaurant Port, how could it be otherwise? The freighter passed the Landungsbrücken and docked opposite the Elbphilharmonie to become a central object of the new German Harbor Museum in the future.
The warm and beautiful autumn in our Hanseatic city and the many unforgettable moments that we were again able to spend with our guests brought an incredible amount of joy and motivation back into our hotel life. At the end of October, however, COVID-19 threw a spanner in the works of our plans and, above all, our daily routine.
After so many efforts and changes to implement a good hygiene concept, we experienced the second lockdown as sad, but of course equally unavoidable. The shorter and darker days and the quiet house make us eagerly wait to open our doors again and welcome you safe and sound. In the meantime, we are all staying home and working from home as much as possible. We miss you, stay in touch on a digital level and firmly believe that we will get through this troubled time together just fine.
We are not staying still and are full of anticipation planning the new year 2021! In the future, new surprises and changes await you at our hotel. Stay excited and above all healthy. We can't wait for the day to come when we open our historic wooden doors, the first guests set foot in the traditional house, glances meet with a smile and, true to the words of the hotel's founder Willi Bartels, we say again: "Welcome to Hotel Hafen Hamburg. Welcome home."
„All the hustle and bustle of the last few years has faded away, people are learning to appreciate everyday things anew.
Shortly before Christmas is the time for loved ones and for ourselves. A moment of silence to look ahead and start the new year with new strength. I wish you and your families a merry Christmas and for the new year health, happiness and success!”Enrico Ungermann, hotel director