Just about the grandest of the city's imperial buildings, the Steigenberger is an imposing five-star deluxe affair. The doormen can look down their noses at anyone not in a fur coat or suit, but other staff are charming and helpful.

The antiques and oil paintings in the broad corridors, staircases and landings create a grandiose air. There are large comfy sofas in the atrium, where the dinner-jacketed elite of Düsseldorf gather for a cognac and a cigar, while cabinets showcase the latest must-have watches and necklaces for people with too much money.

The Etoile bar, with its collection of brass telescopes, offers cakes, accompanied by piano music. In the Opernsalon dining room, bankers and politicians clinch deals.


At the top of the shopping area, the Ko, beside the opera house. Steigenberger Park Hotel, Corneliusplatz 1 (00 49 211 13810; www.duesseldorf.steigenberger.de)

Time to international airport: about 15 minutes (€22/£15) by taxi.


Rooms are spacious with large beds and swish leather chaises-longues. Bathrooms are marble and steel with cotton-wool-soft dressing gowns and a fresh rose every day.

Freebies: The hotel has own-brand vanilla-essence soaps and gels.


Standard double rooms cost €260 (£185), including an excellent buffet breakfast. Rates fall at weekends, when a double costs €220 (£150).

I'm not paying that: Try the clean and cheerful youth hostel Jugendherberge Düsseldorf (Düsseldorfer Strasse 1, Oberkassel; 00 49 211 557 310; www.djh.de/ jugendherbergen/dusseldorf), with dormitory beds at €20.70 (£14) and doubles from €46.60 (£33).