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You can chose from a lot of options at this stylish and low-key retreat near the shores of the Alster: a choice of pillows and bedding, the style of decor (traditional or soothing minimalist), which of four buildings you prefer (from a 19th-c. villa to a sleek concrete and glass modern annex), even where you want to enjoy breakfast—in a conservatory that, like many rooms, overlooks a lovely Italianate garden or, in good weather, the garden itself. Many famous writers like to lay low in these soothing surroundings while in Hamburg on book tours and to lecture, and autographed copies of many modern masterpieces are proudly on display. You’ll find plenty of other reading matter lying around the cozy library, or you can rent a bike for a spin around the lake. There are no elevators, and some especially spacious and attractive units are multilevel, so if stairs are an issue, ask for a room that requires a minimum of climbing.