Concierge.com's insider take:
This Hamburg grande dame is a white-pillared pile overlooking Lake Alster. The high-ceilinged lobby, complete with mammoth fireplace, makes for a classy entrance, but the 252 rooms and suites are uneven. Make sure you book one of the larger deluxe or junior suites renovated in 2003 (the standard and superior rooms are slated for renovation in 2008), as some courtyard-facing bedrooms' decor seems to date from a few decades earlier. That aside, the romance of the place is inescapable—you could drive a truck through the sconce-lit hallways, and the bar is a dark-wood international watering hole with a menu full of obscure Champagne cocktails, such as a Prince of Wales (invented in 1936, it combines Courvoisier, Cointreau, and a dash of Angostura, then is filled up with Champagne, garnished with fresh fruit, and served in a silver cup). Hamburg's rising foodie status is reflected in the kitchen, where chef Sven Büttner, a founding member of the "Young Furioso" movement in Germany, serves up a radical, internationally inspired take on the classics, such as lobster bisque Atlantic: Half lobster with sugar beans, fried mushrooms, and a terrine of bisque on the side.