This is my review of the Sheraton Frankfurt Airport hotel, where I spent last Monday night. The reason will become clear in a day or so.
The old Sheraton Frankfurt Airport has recently been refurbished and, oddly, chopped in two. 25% of it is now a Marriott.
It’s a long time since I stayed here – on a weird stay where check-in traded our two standard rooms for the Presidential Suite! – so I was intrigued to see it again.
Getting to Sheraton Frankfurt Airport
Frankfurt Airport has four hotels connected to Terminal 1 – the Sheraton / Marriott complex and, behind that, a Hilton / Hilton Garden Inn complex.
British Airways flies into Terminal 2, so you will need to take the shuttle train to Terminal 1.
Signage is VERY poor when you get into Terminal 1. I recommend that you walk to the exit, look left and right to see where you are versus the bridge over the road, and then walk internally through the terminal to the bridge. Once you’re on the bridge it is a simple walk.
Splitting the two hotels
The Sheraton Frankfurt Airport used to have 1,008 rooms.
It now comprises a (still not exactly modest) 779 room Sheraton hotel plus a 233 room Marriott hotel.
What is odd, at least to me, is that I struggle to tell the difference between Sheraton and Marriott. Both brands – which were under separate ownership until five years ago, remember – are stereotypically known for their relatively dull four-star business hotels, appealing to equally dull middle management types.
Following the Starwood acquisition, Marriott has 29 brands it could have used on the ‘new’ hotel. What was the point of picking one with identical brand characteristics to the rest of the building?
Above is a PR shot of a Sheraton bedroom, for example, but would you really have been surprised if I said it was from the Marriott side?
Both hotels share dining, conference and fitness facilities. The existing Club lounge remained with Marriott whilst a new lounge – which I will discuss soon – was built for the Sheraton.
Inside Sheraton Frankfurt Airport
Despite its recent refurbishment, the hotel itself was looking a little sad. The lobby bar was closed, the business centre was closed and the new club lounge – as I will show – is a disaster.
What IS impressive is The Eatery, the new eating space which is shared between the Sheraton and the Marriott (PR image below). This serves coffee and snacks during the day and meals at night, but not breakfast – each hotel has their own breakfast area.
I was also impressed by the front desk staff, who have to double up as concierge and pretty much everything else given how much is closed.
I used an expiring Suite Night Award certificate to upgrade my base room to a Club Suite. This room is about as far away from the lifts as it is possible to be – see the corridor here:
Despite being the very last room, the suite was not double aspect. The reason the suite is at the very end is that it takes advantage of a bit of extra space made available by the way the building tapers.
The suite layout was fairly successful though. I had this large living area:
…. with an equally well sized bedroom. The photo was taken at 3pm – the lack of light is down to a very small window.
The living area had a very large desk which was useful – the only reason I wanted a suite is that I was going to be in the hotel from 3pm working. The wi-fi was painfully slow, however, and it was difficult to upload and download files and images quickly. I had to abandon the first draft of this review because it became impossible to handle the photographs.
For some odd reason, as you can see in the room photos above, there is a large plastic sheet on the floor around the desk. This may be there to stop the chair damaging the carpet – I can’t think of any other reason – but is weird.
What didn’t impress me was the lack of a coffee machine. Even some budget hotels have coffee machines these days. For a suite at a Sheraton I expect more than a kettle and a sachet of instant coffee. The Sheraton used to have US-style drip coffee machines in it pre-refurbishment.
Here is the bathroom. There is only a single sink and no tub:
Toileries are a mix of Le Grand Bain and Acca Kappa. Acca Kappa is usually a Marriott brand so I’m not sure if they had run out of standard shampoo. The shower was an impressively good size.
The Club Lounge at Sheraton Frankfurt Airport
I have absolutely no idea what the hotel was thinking of with this lounge. It clearly struggled to find a suitable spot to build one (the Marriott side has kept the old lounge) and seems to have converted some meeting space.
The lounge is on the ground floor. You go down a corridor containing meeting rooms – you can imagine how attractive that is – before finding the lounge at the end.
The hotel seems to have taken advantage of covid restrictions – now swept away – to massively cut back the offering. For a start, the lounge only opens at 5pm. I’m not sure what happens for breakfast because I checked out at 6am.
Despite this huge food serving area:
…. there is no food served. The only thing you can have is a pre-prepared cold bento box, when there are actually some left (unlike in the photo below – the one you see is marked ‘do not touch’):
A bento box makes no sense in a lounge. If, for example, you want three small squares of cake to have with a coffee, you are forced to take three full bento boxes, remove the cake and then waste the rest of the food. The same goes for any other element of the box.
No hot food of any sort is available.
Forgetting the food, the lounge is just exceptionally soulless. It actually made me depressed – I started to think about what the heck I was doing there when I could have been back in London with my wife and children.
There is no reason – none at all – to pay any sort of premium for a Club room at Sheraton Frankfurt Airport. Use the money saved to have a meal in The Eatery, which is bright and creatively designed and everything the lounge isn’t.
One final surprise ….
The hotel had one final surprise for me when I checked out at 6am. Despite having over 700 rooms, the front desk is closed overnight:
If you have any issues, you need to walk to the Marriott next door.
What’s the difference between the Sheraton and Marriott Frankfurt Airport?
I genuinely have no idea. Sheraton and Marriott are roughly equivalent in terms of brand qualities, with Sheraton Grand (which this isn’t) being notionally better than your average Marriott.
Most of the time the Marriott is a little more expensive than the Sheraton, but I’ve also seen nights where it flips over. Was it just done to give Bonvoy an extra place in the list when people are searching for hotels at the airport? Does the fact that the Marriott is only a 1/3rd of the size of the Sheraton make it cozier?
I would stay here again because I know I’d getting a new room. I don’t know what condition the combined Hilton and Hilton Garden Inn is in. That said, I’d only do it if I knew I wasn’t going to be doing any heavy photo editing given the wi-fi speed.
I’d try the Marriott next time, purely because I could escape the grey corridors of the Sheraton and the soulless lounge. I may also be able to work out what the heck the difference is between them …..
If you are staying in the Sheraton, I strongly recommend checking in via the Bonvoy app and using the ‘Mobile Key’ feature (explained in this article) so you can avoid visiting the front desk. As you can see from the photo above, there are not many check-in desks for a 700+ room hotel, especially as most people are only there for one night.
I paid €195 on Monday but this was higher than usual – all of Frankfurt was at a price premium that night. I should add that the S-Bahn is immediately beneath the hotel and it is only around five stops to Frankfurt Central Station. The Sheraton is not a bad option if the price is right and central Frankfurt isn’t looking cheap.
How to earn Marriott Bonvoy points and status from UK credit cards (December 2023)
There are various ways of earning Marriott Bonvoy points from UK credit cards. Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses.
The official Marriott Bonvoy American Express card comes with 20,000 points for signing up, 2 points for every £1 you spend and 15 elite night credits per year.
You can apply here.
You can also earn Marriott Bonvoy points by converting American Express Membership Rewards points at the rate of 2:3.
Do you know that holders of The Platinum Card from American Express receive FREE Marriott Bonvoy Gold status for as long as they hold the card? It also comes with Hilton Honors Gold, Radisson Rewards Premium and MeliaRewards Gold status. We reviewed American Express Platinum in detail here and you can apply here.
SPECIAL OFFER: Until 9th January 2024, you will receive a huge 100,000 Membership Rewards points (convertible to 100,000 Avios) with The Platinum Card. You receive 75,000 points if you spend £10,000 in six months and a further 25,000 points if you hold the card for 15 months. You can apply here.
You can also earn Marriott Bonvoy points indirectly:
- American Express Gold (20,000 bonus Amex points)
- American Express Rewards Credit Card (10,000 bonus Amex points)
SPECIAL OFFER: Until 9th January 2024, you will receive 30,000 Membership Rewards points (convertible to 30,000 Avios) with American Express Preferred Rewards Gold. You receive 25,000 points if you spend £3,000 in three months and a further 5,000 points if you hold the card for 15 months. You can apply here.
and for small business owners:
- American Express Business Gold (20,000 bonus Amex points)
- American Express Business Platinum (40,000 bonus Amex points)
The conversion rate from American Express to Marriott Bonvoy points is 2:3.
(Want to earn more hotel points? Click here to see our complete list of promotions from the major hotel chains or use the ‘Hotel Offers’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)