Berlin’s tourism has been expanding rapidly and when it comes to luxury there are a plethora of options available to the discerning traveller. The hotels listed below are certainly not an exhaustive list, but are designed to give a range of options, from old and trusted establishments to the newest hotels on the Berlin scene – everything from old school luxury to the new trendy hotels favoured by the ‘in’ crowd, there’s something for everybody here.
Location location location. Right on Pariser Platz with some rooms having views directly to the Brandenburg Gate it doesn’t get any more central than this. One of the most famous hotels in Germany it was opened by Lorenz Adlon in 1907. During the 20s this was THE celebrity hotel, with guests such as Marlene Dietrich or Charlie Chaplin, Henry Ford or John D Rockerfeller coming for visits. It survived the bombing raids of WWII only to be burnt down by a fire started by some drunk soviet soldiers. Boasting several Michelin starred restaurants, the current hotel reopened in 1997 and is still favoured by many celebrities visiting Berlin.
Right at Potsdamer Platz this was part of the re-development of what was Berlin’s busiest intersection in the 1920s, which was then destroyed in the War and then had the Berlin Wall running right the way through it. Continuing the Ritz-Carlton tradition, it offers a traditional English afternoon tea in their lobby lounge, complete with the best fresh baked scones Berlin has to offer. It opened in 2004 and is now able to boast that it was the hotel to host Barrack Obama and family on his latest visit to Berlin.
Only opened in early 2013 it has yet to prove if it lives up to the Astoria name. Certainly with the restaurant Les Solistes from Pierre Gagnaire it has high expectations to fulfill. Over in the heart of former West Berlin this area is currently seeing a lot of investment and redevelopment as the economic pendulum swings back westwards after a 20 year obsession with the former east. Perfect for those who love to shop it is a block away from Berlin’s famous boulevard Kurfurstendamm and the infamous Ka De We department store (Berlin’s version of Harrods).
Also in the west, this gorgeous hotel is smaller than many of the larger 5 star franchises and is situated in a green leafy backstreet away from lots of traffic. With a lovely internal Winter garden and only 58 rooms (plus suites), it is perfect for those who like a more personal touch such as flowers and books in the rooms, chocolates on arrival or eclectic artwork. One of the few 5 star hotels to be created in an original pre-war building, it boasts the old style 3.90 metre high ceilings in the rooms. The restaurant Quadriga used to be Michelin starred, but unfortunately not any more. The standard is still however extremely good.
Another of the new 5 star hotels in Berlin – it opened in December 2012. On the western side of Tiergarten, the hotel is the former Danish embassy from 1939 and has a rather impressive and imposing front entrance. If you look closely you can see where the bullet damage from the final days of the War has been repaired. An interesting blend of pre-war architecture with a new ‘Design Hotel’ style interior, its restaurant ‘5 – Cinco by Paco Pérez‘ has received glowing reviews, and offers both fine dining and a more casual option. From the terrace bar you apparently even have a view into the Ostrich enclosure at Berlin’s zoo!
Located in a former bank in the centre of Berlin, the gym is downstairs in the former jewel vault (complete with original vault door!). The former cashiers hall is now a fabulous ballroom, and the cocktail bar on the roof is the perfect place to wind down, watching the sunset after a full day touring Berlin. Designed by Tommaso Ziffer, it opened in 2006 and has fast become a mainstay of the Berlin luxury scene. The flower displays in the main lobby are usually spectacular with an artistic take on modern floristry.
Very centrally located this was the hotel which opened in 1987 to host the Creme of the East German guests celebrating Berlin’s 750th birthday. 5 star luxury at relatively affordable prices you can easily walk to everything in the old historic quarter, and it has a rather lovely spa to enjoy especially in the winter months. The central staircase was made famous by Matt Damon running down it in the film The Bourne Supremacy. Beware that for the next little while there is major construction right next door as Berlin extends the underground train system down to the Brandenburg Gate. Request a room on the other side of the building!
The Regent is an interesting mix as from the outside it is a completely modern building, but step inside and experience total old world luxury bedecked with chandeliers, marble and antiques. In the heart of the historic district next to Gendarmenmarkt and a short walk from Checkpoint Charlie it is an excellent location for those wishing to take in Berlin’s incredible history. It has the added bonus that it’s restaurant Fischer’s Fritz was the first of Berlin’s restaurants to acquire 2 Michelin Stars, so it’s perfect for gourmet travellers.
In a restored bauhaus building in the heart of trendy Mitte, the Soho House is a relative newcomer to the Berlin 5 star scene. It has become very popular with the Berlin film scene afficionados – it was recently home to George Clooney and Bill Murray whilst filming ‘Monument Men’ and hosted the World War Z launch party with Brad Pitt. Only having 40 rooms it is a private members club and has a fabulous rooftop pool and bar. It also has a great ‘Cowshed’ spa and a private screening room in case you want to share your latest blockbuster with a few close friends. The atmosphere is definitely urban casual luxury.
Located in Potsdamer Platz, you are in the middle of everything the old historic area has to offer. The hotel itself has a more modern ambience – they are part of the ‘Design Hotels’ alliance – and boast that they provide the most spacious rooms in the city (on average 55 square meteres). If that’s not enough space for you, they have a sister hotel offering only suites on Friedrichstrasse (also very central). The main Mandala hotel also has a superb restaurant Facil (see ‘Top 10 luxury restaurants in Berlin‘) and also a stunning spa for those who feel the need to unwind after a long day exploring Berlin’s famous streets.
Penelope Hassmann is Owner of Berlin Private Tours.