A luxury hotel nestled in the heart of Frankfurt’s Sachsenhausen district offers opulent accommodations and beautiful common areas, but the service left something to be desired.
My business partner John and I had some work in Frankfurt last week and decided to burn some American Express points at the Villa Kennedy, part of the Rocco Forte chain. It is also part of the AMEX Fine Hotels & Resorts program, meaning we received added amenities including:
Room upgrade upon arrival, when available
Daily breakfast for two people
Guaranteed 4pm late check-out
Noon check-in, when available
USD$100 Food and beverage credit to be used during your stay
We used about 40,000 Membership Rewards points for one night.
Taking advantage of the early check-in, we arrived at 1:00 P.M. and were upgraded to a junior suite. The associate was very excited about our upgrade, explaining that the suite had just been remodeled and we were the first guests to try it.
The hotel common areas are stunning, with beautiful furniture and accents throughout the hotel. You’ll also see pictures of U.S. President John F. Kennedy all over the hotel. Kennedy visited Frankfurt the same day he made his famous “Ich bin in Berliner” in Berlin. The street the hotel is located on was renamed in his honor a few years after he was assassinated. I was admittedly disappointed that there were more pictures of Marylin Monroe than Jackie Kennedy…that’s a low blow to her legacy and seemed to glorify JFK’s infidelities. But I digress…
Villa Kennedy Junior Suite
Our fourth floor room…well, it felt like I was staying in Hawaii, not Germany. The tropical wallpaper seemed a bit out of place, though the room itself was spacious and well-appointed. Mind you, I’m not complaining: it was a nice looking room. It just seemed a bit odd.
I appreciated the power outlets and USB ports located around the room, which proved useful in charging our multiple devices.
Based on my experience, this is one of the few German hotels that has air conditioning…
The bathroom was on the small side, with a compact walk-in shower, separate tub, toilet, and bidet. To compare my “other” favorite Frankfurt (region) hotel, I far prefer the bathrooms even in standard rooms at the Hyatt Regency Mainz.
I slept incredibly well thanks to a great mattress and excellent bedding.
A minibar included snacks and drinks (for sale) but complimentary San Pellegrino sparkling water and Aqaua Panna still water were present. I also appreciated the LavAzza espresso machine in the room, which offers one of the best pod-made cups of coffee.
Two apples and a single chocolate truffle sat on the coffee table along with several pieces of literature concerning Frankfurt.
Finally, the closet was the same size as the bathroom and included plenty of room for all of our luggage.
Villa Kennedy Dining – Gusto Restaurant
This was a one-day staycation: the point was to take a brief respite from all the hustle and bustle around us and just unwind and unplug. While the unplug part never happened, we did enjoy a few tasty meals, all on the hotel’s beautiful outdoor courtyard terrace. Autumn is fast-approaching, but the weekend was still a very pleasant 20ºC, meaning a full terrace outdoors.
For lunch, I enjoyed a green salad with sliced apples and fennel, followed by succulent lamb loin. Service was extremely polished and the atmosphere could not have been better. Lunch also included delicious homemade bread, one type with bacon in it and the other with apple and pears. It was served with homemade butter and olive spread. Oh how I love German bread!
We retuned for dinner and did not even ask to see a menu. John has stayed at this hotel before and said the filet mignon was tremendous, so we just ordered that. I noticed the table next to us ordered salt-covered Branzino, which looked amazing.
We suffered a big service lapse at dinner, which I will describe in detail below. But when the food finally arrived (1hr, 22min later), it was tasty.
Because we were still hungry, we ordered a pasta course after the main dish. The mushroom risotto was excellent.
For dessert I enjoyed a single scoop of homemade pistachio gelato and an espresso macchiato.
The following morning, we returned once again for breakfast. A truly high-quality buffet is available with items including fresh breads and pastries, cereals, cold cuts, cheese, fresh fruit (including fresh berries), and freshly squeezed juices. Anything else you’d like may be ordered. I ordered fried eggs with chives and bacon, which (not surprisingly) was very tasty.
The only annoying thing about all the terrace meals were the yellowjacks (vespula wasps) that were an ever-present annoyance. For that reason, you may be better off sitting inside…
Villa Kennedy JFK Bar
The JFK bar is beautiful, including a grand piano that played softly in the evening during dinner. You’ll pay a hefty premium for drinks here, but I noticed that many locals were here. In fact, the hotel restaurants seemed full of locals taking advantage of the great weather. A few had books, newspapers, and dogs and probably spent the whole day on the terrace.
Villa Kennedy Spa
A full range of spa and beauty services are available. Pricing is competitive for a five-star hotel. For example, a 90-minute full body massage runs 165EUR (I did not partake). The sauna and steam room are gender-segregated.
Above the pool is a wellness area with easy chairs, fresh fruit, tea, juices, and water. It is complimentary to all hotel guests or spa patrons.
Villa Kennedy Fitness
The gym features a broad assortment of Technogym equipment plus additional free weights and a yoga room.
Villa Kennedy Pool
A beautiful pool overlooking a garden outside offers a tranquil place to relax or exercise. Natural lights streams in through the oversized windows, creating an inviting atmosphere. I spent a whole afternoon here and had to finally drag myself away as the sun began to drop in the sky.
Villa Kennedy Service
Okay, time for some constructive criticism. We had dinner reservations at 9:00 P.M. and arrived precisely on time. Rather than even examine the menu, we immediately placed our order: two fillets and a bottle of water. Simple enough, right?
45 minutes dragged by. It’s not like we were enjoying appetizers and this was not a romantic date: we just wanted to eat and go to bed. 10 more minutes passed and both John and I were growing impatient. Finally, the hotel manager came over and explained that the system which transmits orders from the waiter to the cook was down and our order had been lost. He told us not to worry and that our order would be out within five minutes.
Five more minutes dragged by. Then 10. Then 15. We flagged him down and John read him the riot act. He shrugged and blamed the kitchen, stating they had told him five minutes. He became defensive, stating he was even angrier. His defensiveness did not reflect well on the hotel or restaurant. Now even hungrier, we ordered a pasta course, to be served after our beef tenderloin.
Five more minutes passed and the food finally arrived. And this is what gets me more than the delay. The waiter asked which one of us ordered the meat medium well and which one medium rare. This isn’t Denny’s…it’s a five-star hotel. I should not have to remind the waiter who ordered what.
We began to eat only I discovered after a couple bites of meat that my cut was medium well to well done. I was about to send it back when I noticed John’s was rare. Bloody, cold-in-the-center rare.
So lets’ review…
So let’s review. The kitchen loses our order, our meal finally arrives, the waiter cannot remember who ordered what, and the meat was not even cooked to our specifications.
Restaurants have bad days and hopefully this was just a bad day for this one. I’m willing to give them another chance because the food was still good. We were not charged for the pasta dishes we ordered, but were charged for the filets. It should have been the other way around. The entire dinner bill was removed at check-out.
You can see above that the food was excellent. I just wish the hotel had paid more attention to detail and perhaps just written down orders instead of attempting to memorize them at the table.
Villa Kennedy Location
The hotel is within walking distance of Frankfurt’s central train station as well as the Main River and trendy Sachensahausen neighborhood. It’s a 12-minute cab ride from the airport.
The Villa Kennedy is a beautiful hotel in one of my favorite cities. I do not think there is any excuse for the service mishap at the restaurant, but all thing considered I enjoyed the stay and would give the hotel a second shot.