Ruth Jackson puts her feet up at the Adlon in Berlin, one of Europe’s grandest hotels.
Travellers looking for a historic location and wanting to enjoy some luxury should make a reservation at the Adlon in Berlin. Opened in 1907, this “grande dame has been a favourite of many: from Albert Einstein to a baby-dangling Michael Jackson”, says Lara Brunt in The Independent. Situated right next to Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate, the hotel survived World War II only to be accidentally burnt down by Soviet soldiers who were looting the wine cellar. Rebuilt in 1997, the hotel now offers luxury at a far from eye-watering price.
If you want to stay in style, then a Junior Brandenburg suite offers you a superb view of the beautiful gate along with a four-poster bed, a spacious living area and a bathroom big enough for parties, with an enormous bathtub and shower that doubles as a steam room.
The suites certainly have the wow factor, but for a fraction of the price the 35 square-metre standard rooms are “spacious enough for most”, as Paul Sullivan says in The Daily Telegraph. The decor is “classic but not dated, and [they] have amazingly comfortable beds”, adds Julia Brookes in The Times. And you can still “savour the view with a drink on the hotel’s large outdoor terrace”. The standard rooms are particularly good value as you get access to all the same services as someone paying thousands of euros for a suite. This includes the knowledgeable concierges, who can guide you to the area’s best restaurants.
The “main hotel highlight, though, is the spa”, says Sullivan. “Designed by Anne Maria Jagdfeld, it’s a self-contained universe of luxurious pampering.” Whether you fancy a swim, pamper session or private yoga class, it’s all available. The spa uses the best of the best in terms of products too, with La Prairie facials and beauty treatments on offer.
Make sure you leave a trail of breadcrumbs from your room, though: the hotel is a warren and some lifts do not stop at all floors. It took me 15 minutes to find my way back to my room from the spa, which isn’t fun when you are in a bathrobe and in constant fear the lift is about to spit you out into the bustling lobby.
Breakfast may not be cheap – €45 per person – but it doesn’t come with more choice than at the Adlon. Prepare for a feast – the menu offers everything under the sun from honeycomb to fortune cookies to caviar. For dinner, you have a choice of three “top-notch” restaurants, says Brookes. The best is the two Michelin-starred Lorenz Adlon Esszimmer. This is refined European cuisine at its best – €175 buys you a six-course tasting menu, with highlights including saddle of rabbit and popping candy ice-cream magnums.
A word of warning though: small portions combined with generous pours on the paired wines can mean things get a bit hazy around course number four. But the excellent food and high-quality wine make the fuzzy head the following day a price worth paying.
A Junior Brandenburg suite costs from €1,800; a standard room starts at €340. To find out more or to make a reservation, visit kempinski.com.
Three hip alternatives
Soho House Berlin
This hotel is a “stylish world unto itself, offering decadent interiors, excellent drinking and dining, and a rooftop pool”, says The Daily Telegraph.
It is in a central location and there are three restaurants to choose from, but the best is the Italian-themed Cecconi’s, serving “a top- notch menu of risottos, carpaccios, fish and home-made pasta dishes”.
It’s an ideal place to stay for “those who enjoy fine design and an air of hip exclusivity”.
Doubles from €200, room only. See sohohouseberlin.com
SO/Berlin Das Stue
This 78-room hotel is located in the former Danish embassy on the edge of Tiergarten – Berlin’s Hyde Park. “Rooms come with high ceilings, Arne Jacobsen Egg chairs and high-end entertainment systems, while the sprawling Stue suites have freestanding silver tubs,” says The Independent.
The newspaper ranks the hotel as the best place to stay in Berlin if you are looking for a modern take on the luxury hotel.
Rooms from €240, bed and breakfast. See das-stue.com
“This luxury bolthole is giving the Adlon a run for its money,” says The Times. “Plush Art Deco rooms with floor-to-ceiling windows have cracking views and the suites are the highest in Berlin.”
The hotel is part of Zoofenster, one of the tallest buildings in the city, and a short walk to the city’s luxury shops, including those of Versace and Chanel.
“Book a treatment in the only Guerlain spa in Germany and don’t miss a martini in the (Fritz) Lang Bar.”
Doubles start from €240, room only. See waldorfastoriaberlin.de/en