Lesson for London: Hamburg’s new hall will have in-built hotel

Lesson for London: Hamburg’s new hall will have in-built hotel


norman lebrecht

January 15, 2015

The city of Hamburg has announced that the long-awaited Elbphilharmonie will open on January 11, 2017.

The project will include a 250-room hotel, with 45 waterfront residential units. These inbuilt assets will help pay for the concert hall.

That’s what needs to be done with London’s South Bank: knock it down and build a good concerthall, with a hotel that underwrites its upkeep.





  • Peter Freeman says:

    Excellent idea for whole hideous Southbank and Barbican centres; only snag is that both now have good hotels a short walk away, so they would need to be small enough to withstand the competition.

  • Alexander Hall says:

    The announced date is actually Thursday, 12 January 2017, with the opening concert to be conducted by the resident orchestra in the new hall, NDR Sinfonieorchester, under their chief conductor Thomas Hengelbrock. A word of warning to those hoping to repeat the idea in London: costs of the new Elbphilharmonie have spiralled dangerously out of control, thanks to incompetent and meddling politicians and the greed of architects, civil engineers and building contractors, so much so that final costs will almost certainly come in at three times the originally announced budget at about 900 million euros. London badly needs a new, acoustically superior concert-hall, but not at any price.

    • Peter says:

      If the LSO sign Rattle then doubtless we can look forward to years of him banging on about needing a new hall. They would be foolish to do so if that’s his agenda.

      • stewart says:

        If (when) Simon goes to the LSO , he will be right to “bang on”
        It worked in Birmingham and London more than any UK music centre needs a decent large hall !

  • Richard Hallam says:

    I think you’ll find Guildhall School of Music & Drama have beaten them to the draw here, with their new concert hall being paid for by the apartments planted on atop.

  • Jim says:

    Yes, the GSMD certainly have beaten them and Milton Court has the most wonderful acoustics.
    London does need an all singing/dancing full size concert hall for sure, with apart from the obvious …….easy loading in and out, choir stalls, organ, half decent backstage facilities, loads of storage…….dream on?

  • Joachim Mischke says:

    I have written about this project since early 2000 as a journalist in Hamburg.Sorry to say it – but this news about the hotel and the residential units is no news. This was a basic idea since the very first stages of this project. And it has never been a secret, on the contrary.

    • Michael Schaffer says:

      I was in Hamburg 2 years ago and I went and looked at the Elbphilharmonie. It certainly looks very impressive from the outside, but my question is, how are they planning to get all the patrons there for the concerts, with the building sitting out there on the end of that quay in the old harbor? There is just one small street leading up to it. I see there are two subway stations nearby, so are the patrons supposed to take the subway and then walk up there through typically inclement Hamburg weather? Will there be big fans installed at the doors to dry the drenched music lovers? 🙂

      I find it kind of ironic that they spend so much money on building that new hall when Hamburg is one of the few cities in Germany which actually has a nice old hall which survived the war. True, the Laeiszhalle is a little on the small side, with just over 2000 seats, but then I read the big hall in the Elbphilharmonie will have just around 2100 or so seats – so what’s the point?

  • Alexander Hall says:

    Das Problem, lieber Joachim Mischke, ist dass die meisten meiner Landsleute kaum fremdsprachliche Kenntnisse mitbringen und deshalb selten in der Lage sind, Presseveröffentlichungen oder Mitteilungen in den nichtenglischsprachlichen Medien zu verstehen.