Design + Architecture

Hotels With A Past

by Cathay Che

THE POOR HOUSE: Hopper Hotel Et Cetera
Where: Cologne, Germany
What it is: A cheap-and-chic boutique hotel
What it was: A homeless shelter and soup kitchen

The story: Skid row ain't what it used to be. In late-19th-century Cologne, if you were poor, homeless, or mentally unhinged, you could head to this cloister where the Merciful Montabaur Brothers fed and sometimes housed the city's bedraggled. We can't attest to the quality of the chow, but in 1934 the Brothers were serving around 3,000 lunches a day to the "infirm," regardless of their religious affiliation. In 1974, the final seven Brothers were relocated to an old-age home. Today, the vow of hospitality is still upheld—the building was converted to a budget-minded hotel in 1997—but we'd venture that the food is better, with dishes such as smoked butterfish carpaccio and marinated salmon on offer. Located in the trendy Belgian Quarter (Cologne's nightlife central), it has well-decorated junior suites with marble baths, DVD players, and kitchenettes.

Be sure to check out: The ancient stone cellar, where you can work out in the gym, lounge in mod tanning beds, or detoxify in a Finnish sauna.

Hopper Hotel Et Cetera
Tel: 49 221 924 400
Doubles from $150; junior suites from $185

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Information may have changed since date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.

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