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Hotel Schmärrnche - Frankfurt Bornheim

For my recent stay in Frankfurt, I wanted a small family-run hotel, ideally with traditional half-timbered architecture. Not because large chain hotels are inherently evil, but because I wanted to scrub the rust off my German language skills and to get a feel for a neighbourhood outside the city centre. I chose the Hotel Schmärrnche, in a part of Frankfurt called Bornheim. It’s a low-rise residential area, only a few subway or tram stops from the city centre, with many interesting shops and restaurants, including both traditional apple wine pubs and modern ethnic eateries. I was very happy with my choice, and would gladly return.
The hotel evolved from a centuries-old restaurant to include 3 renovated half-timbered buildings around a lovely central courtyard. The property has been owned by the same family for 150 years. Each building has a dozen or fewer rooms, all with ensuite bathrooms. The outside of the buildings are very traditional, but the rooms themselves are a bit 1980s. Clean but bland. My room did not have air conditioning, but it had a large window facing the shaded courtyard and the temperatures were not excessive in June. I’d have wanted at least a fan if it had been any warmer.
The restaurant had a solid reputation, but sadly it closed just before I arrived due to the retirement of the chef and his wife. Their children and grandchildren run the hotel. A generous, fresh and tasty German breakfast buffet is available mornings, but you’ll have to step out a block or two for dinner.
I stayed for five nights. The room was cleaned each day and was always nice to come back to. The courtyard gate is locked at 10:00 pm, but guests are given a gate key along with the room key. The family members operating the hotel do speak English. I enjoyed wandering through the neighbourhood each day, attending the farmers market and browsing the shops. I also had a fun dinner in the nearest apple wine pub, sharing a table and conversation with a German family.
I chatted with the retired owners a few times (they live onsite), and on the last night I purchased a bottle of wine and a bottle of mineral water from them to sit out in the courtyard and enjoy the evening. That was not necessarily a normal offer. They don’t run a bar anymore either, so I couldn’t get just a glass of wine. They just happened to have some inventory left from the restaurant. I’m sure I could have brought my own bottle like I brought my own snacks. But they are keeping up the courtyard and its flowers, and it’s a gorgeous place to sit out under the giant chestnut tree and admire the old architecture. Just what I was looking for.
I purchased Frankfurt cards to cover the days I was there, which included unlimited local transportation. The subway is incredibly easy and safe to use. The upcoming 3 stops are always announced out loud as well as on electronic info boards in each car. They even announce, consistently and clearly, on which side of the car the doors will open for each stop. I was on the subways alone late several nights and had absolutely no concerns or weird experiences (note I was always sober...but that’s a good idea in any city.)
In short, if you’d like to step out a bit from the centre of Frankfurt for your stay, I highly recommend this little place. Clean, good breakfasts, easy to find, moderately priced. Note that like everywhere in Frankfurt, prices go up during trade fairs, but they list trade fair dates right on the website. Pictures and prices are on their website Hotel Schmärrnche (in German, but Google Translate can help with that.)

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