If I hadn't known already that Düsseldorf was a city of fashion, I would have discovered it as soon as I walked into the Hotel Indigo after a surprisingly quick, cheap and hassle-free taxi drive from the airport, which is about four miles and €20 away. I know I'm in the right place from the big hotel sign out front in, of course, indigo. But where's the reception?
I seem to have walked into a fashion showroom, with mannequins in swishy pastel dresses standing and sitting in a large open space with artworks and bookshelves all around. But there is a reception desk in the far corner, staffed by smiling helpful people who soon have me time-travelling back to the 1960s. Each floor of the hotel is devoted to a different fashion decade, from the '50s to the '90s, and I seem to be sharing my room with Twiggy.
In fact, I discover later, it's a Twiggy lookalike as all the photos from the different fashion decades have been done by a local photographer featuring the same local model. It's part of the hotel's ethos, to focus on what the city and the local area is noted for. In Düsseldorf that could have been art or architecture, or even beer, but the Hotel Indigo has gone for fashion.
My room has a gently retro look, with white walls balanced by subdued purple or lime accent colours, which manage to be fun without being overpowering. I also discover that the 1960s-style chair is actually comfortable, as I chill for an hour before heading into the city. On my bed, instead of the usual breakfast menu or note about how eco-friendly the place is, there are two bookmarks for me to use, with a quote that says 'Fiction is life by design', by Mary Kittredge.
On the desk is a copy of Vogue and some other lifestyle magazines, and when I log on to the free WiFi I'm offered a range of free digital newspapers and magazines to download. If you want that day's Times, Der Zeitung, or any one of about 12-15 other newspapers from all over the world, or a similar number of international travel, fashion and lifestyle magazines such as Food and Travel or Conde Nast Traveller, then they're yours to download for free. I like that, and enjoyed reading that day's Times with breakfast each morning over my 3-day stay.
My room was at the back of the hotel, definitely the side to opt for. There was a small balcony overlooking the hotel's patio and private garden, and beyond that was a small private park, filled with trees that hid many of the apartment buildings around the park. It's a remarkably rural feel for being so close to the city centre, and every morning I awoke to the sound of birds singing.
What better way to start each day - birds singing, a daily paper on my iPad, and a breakfast sourced from local suppliers. Even the eggs, I was told, were brought in by one of the hotel staff who bought them from her neighbour, who kept hens. Now that's the kind of touch which will never go out of fashion.
Kaiserswerther Str. 20
Phone: +49 (0) 211 49990
For more information about visiting Düsseldorf see the website of the Düsseldorf Tourist Board.
Düsseldorf city breaks are available through Fred Holidays.
All photos courtesy of Hotel Indigo.
Mike Gerrard is an award-winning travel and drinks writer.