Its reputation stretches far beyond the shores of the Inner Alster Lake, over which it has a fine view, and indeed beyond the northern powerhouse of Hamburg: at Restaurant Haerlin, the creative French cuisine of classically trained Executive Chef Christoph Rüffer has won awards aplenty, including a pair of coveted Michelin stars. Served against an elegant backdrop – think cream and pale green, with Chinese silk tapestries, gold embossing and a 20,000-crystal chandelier – the culinary offering is technically perfect, intense with occasionally unexpected flavour combinations, and employing top-quality seasonal ingredients. There’s also a built-in wine closet and excellent wine list, as well as an eight-seat Chef’s Table one floor below, where gourmets have a bird’s-eye view of the kitchen team at work. The sophistication and refined luxury carry over into the restaurant’s ‘home’, the Fairmont Hotel Vier Jahreszeiten, the epitome of grand European hospitality, its 156 rooms and suites set in a 19th-century mansion between the opera house, smart boutiques and the lakeside.