By Olivia Snaije
If for some reason you have discovered that your hotel room reservation in Frankfurt for the Book Fair has inexplicably vanished, or that you have decided at the last minute to attend the Fair after all, there are a few rooms left aboard the “Crossgates hotelships.” The British company hires river cruise ships from shipping companies during their off season and anchors them near the Fair grounds.
Two ships are moored on the Main River on either side of the Untermainbrücke (bridge). The price for a single, €200, or €265 for a double, includes free transfers to the Fair, as well as breakfast.
Managing director Max Bolton, a former Steward in the British Navy, has been running the hotelship business since the early 1970s when, as a travel agent he realized how chaotic and expensive it was to book a room in Frankfurt during the trade fairs. He began by chartering a Rhine cruiser for his clients who were delighted with the solution, beginning a trend that has subsequently become a lucrative business. The use of river cruisers as hotels has become increasingly popular in several German cities during trade fairs as an answer to a lack of hotel rooms during important events.
Danish publisher Egmont Media has been using Crossgates ships for the past 10 years during the Book Fair, reserving as many as 120 rooms at a time for their international representatives.
The hotelships are equipped with a restaurant, bar and a disco. Plus, the view of swans paddling on the Main in the morning can be a nice start to a frazzling day.
BOOK: A room on the Crossgates hotelships.