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the luxury hotels of Berlin

the luxury hotels of Berlin

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Old Oct 7, 13, 2:21 am
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the luxury hotels of Berlin

Berlin is a contemporary city. As it was largely destroyed during World War II, most of the construction in the city is contemporary. There is a lot to see and do, including remnants of the Berlin Wall, Checkpoint Charlie, and many museums. There are four Virtuoso hotels in Berlin. As always, I would emphasize that these are my own subject opinions of the hard product only; others can and should disagree!


Rocco Forte Hotel de Rome

Rocco Forte Hotel de Rome is the only Virtuoso hotel in Berlin housed in an historical building. Occupying the former Dresdner Bank which was spared destruction during WW2, the hotel is typical of Sir Rocco's designs. Preserving the architectural features of the old bank building, especially the extremely high ceilings on the lower floors, contemporary guest rooms mix well with the historical context of the building. Three basic color schemes — terracotta, blue, and beige/red — are utilized in guest rooms.

We were shown a Deluxe room and the Renaissance Suite (one of the hotel's four signature Suites), both on the first floor where the former bank's Directors had their offices. The extremely high ceilings create a sense of grandeur. The hotel has three classes of rooms — Classic, Deluxe, and Superior Deluxe; views from the latter category look out onto the square in front of the hotel and at the historical buildings of Humboldt University. The first floor Renaissance Suite was a real WOW, especially the living room which preserved the original wood paneling of the Director's office. The bathrooms of both rooms had only a single vanity, but separate tubs and step-in showers are provided in all rooms.

With 146 rooms and suites, Hotel de Rome is the most intimate of the four Virtuoso properties in Berlin. This turned out to be my favorite hotel of the four, but at a higher price point.


Ritz-Carlton Berlin

With 303 rooms and 40 suites, Ritz-Carlton Berlin has the look and feel of a typical city Ritz-Carlton hotel. It opened in 2004 and has all of the features one would expect of a RC of this vintage. The marble lobby is impressive with marble columns with gilded Corinthian capitals and a large Swarovski crystal chandelier.

Rooms are large and spacious, with fully featured marble bathrooms (dual vanities, soaking tub, step-in shower, and WC), with wood flooring in the entrance hallway/closet area and carpeting in the bedroom. Guest room styling features a green and gold color scheme with highly lacquered wooden door trim.

Superior rooms (40 sqm) have plaza views while Deluxe rooms look out over the Tiergarten. We were also shown an open floorplan Junior Suite, called a Starlight Suite, 50 sqm with a large bedroom and light-filled bathroom whose soaking tub offers a view! Executive Suites are 57 sqm, Belleview Suites are 68 sqm, and Grand Suites a huge 108 sqm.

The 10th floor Club is currently being renovated, but we were able to use the temporary Club on the first floor. Club access is a valuable complimentary perk for Virtuoso guests, including free internet and complimentary pressing of two items per day as well as free drinks and five food presentations during the day. Virtuoso/Club guests can also have their breakfast in the restaurant — highly recommended due to the extensive buffet offerings!


Regent Berlin

If the Regent Berlin reminds you of Four Seasons, that's because the hotel was originally built by Four Seasons in 1996. After Four Seasons merged with Regent, the hotel's owners decided to go with Regent branding and management. The building's exterior is contemporary construction (as is much of Berlin), but once you step inside, you enter a classically traditional marble lobby lit with crystal chandeliers.

With 195 rooms and suites, this property is sized like a typical Four Seasons. As Virtuoso guests are upgraded at booking, you should never end up in a lead-in Superior Room. Deluxe rooms are the same size (40 sqm) but are found on higher floors or with better views; some rooms have balconies. Bathrooms are typical FS with one vanity, soaking tub, separate step-in shower, and WC. The desktop provides a useful set of international power plugs and ethernet ports. The room we saw had green carpeting, yellow wallpaper, and off-white painted wood trim. Other rooms in this category made use of a peach color scheme.

Given the Virtuoso upgrade-at-booking, the sweet spot is from Superior Deluxe to Executive Suite; these rooms are 50% larger with 60 sqm of interior space. Dual vanities are provided in Superior Suites (75 sqm) and up. There are two basic varieties of Superior Suites — some with outside windows in the bedroom and others without. While my own preference is for a lot of natural light, but some guests prefer darker bedrooms as they find it easier to sleep.

The Deluxe Suite that we were shown was a very spacious corner accommodation with a large living room and master bedroom.


Adlon Kempinski

With the Brandenburg Gate right outside its front door, guests of the Adlon enjoy Berlin's most iconic landmark every time they arrive or leave the hotel. The Adlon originally opened in 1907 and survived World War II without a scratch. Paradoxically, an electrical fire in 1945 burned the hotel to the ground, and the site remained vacant until after 1989 when the Berlin Wall came down and Kempinski began the task of rebuilding the hotel, reopening in 1997.

The largest of the Virtuoso hotels in Berlin, the hotel has 382 rooms and suites built around three light, green, and quiet courtyards. The three categories of guest rooms are identical, each sized at 40 sq meters, and there are multiple suite categories. Executive rooms* have a view out the back of the hotel. Deluxe rooms open onto one of the hotel's three attractive inner courtyards. Superior Deluxe rooms offer views out the front of the hotel and potentially of the Brandenburg Gate. Bathrooms in all room categories provide what luxury guests expect with dual vanities, separate shower and tub, and WC. *Note that Virtuoso guests should never find themselves in an Executive Rooms, as the Adlon offers an upgrade at booking.

The hotel is planning a thorough soft goods renovation of all guest rooms, beginning next June or July with completion by the end of 2014. Rooms will share the cleaner and more contemporary interior design of the Adlon's already-renovated Suite categories. This will be a welcome improvement. We were shown a Deluxe Room with the "old" style interior design — classic contemporary with yellow wallpaper, red headboard, muted orange seating, and beige carpeting — and the renovation will substantially improve the rooms' appearance.

There are three categories of Junior Suites (each with open floor plans), again differentiated by view, but were not able to see any rooms in this category. We were shown an Executive Suite, nearly twice the size of regular guest rooms with French doors closing off the living room area from the bedroom. The suite we saw used shades of gold in the fabrics and wall treatments..

The Linden Suite that we were shown (a full 1 BR Suite) was quite attractive. Darker gold fabric was used for the bedspreads, making a nice contrast with the green walls. I found this decor more visually interesting to my taste. We also saw a Pariser Platz Suite — smaller than the Linden Suite but offering an unobstructed view of the gate — equally as attractive.

As previously mentioned, the Adlon offers Virtuoso upgrades at booking and when possible will offer guests alternatives at check-in, the choice of larger room vs. a better view. The Adlon offers a great breakfast buffet, complimentary to Virtuoso guests.


Executive Summary

Rocco Forte Hotel de Rome — my favorite in Berlin, Hotel de Rome is a boutique hotel whose attractive contemporary rooms coordinate well with the hotel's historical building.

Ritz-Carlton Berlin — RC fans will feel quite at home in this traditional-feeling Ritz city hotel; Virtuoso guests receive complimentary Club access.

Regent Berlin — FS fans will feel very comfortable in this former Four Seasons hotel; Virtuoso guests are upgraded at booking.

Adlon Kempinski — A larger hotel right by the Brandenburg Gate; Virtuoso guests are upgraded at booking.

map and Virtuoso amenities
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Old Oct 7, 13, 3:06 am
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We really enjoyed our recent stay at Rocco Forte Hotel de Rome , glad you liked it too .
Appreciated the high ceilings alright , felt right at home

Though strange to have manicure , etc done in the vault
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Old Oct 7, 13, 7:11 am
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In fact, when Four Seasons managed what is now The Regent, they found it impossible to make a profit as Berlin is such a low-yield destination.

By then, Four Seasons had merged with Regent long ago, and Carlson had bought the Regent brand, so by then, Regent had nothing to do with Four Seasons. Different people entirely.

Now the Regent brand has yet another owner, so it will be interesting to see what they do or if the owner will, once again, switch brands!

On another note - obviously not Virtuoso - but for me Soho House Berlin is one of the best options.
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Old Oct 7, 13, 7:36 am
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Originally Posted by vuittonsofstyle View Post
In fact, when Four Seasons managed what is now The Regent, they found it impossible to make a profit as Berlin is such a low-yield destination.
I donīt think that was the real problem. In my opinion the hotel is a bad planning, without pool and rlative unattractive common areas. Also at least today itīs a typical (vintage) FS, which hasnīt very much personality.
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Old Oct 7, 13, 10:23 am
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Originally Posted by offerendum View Post
I donīt think that was the real problem. In my opinion the hotel is a bad planning, without pool and rlative unattractive common areas. Also at least today itīs a typical (vintage) FS, which hasnīt very much personality.
When Four Seasons Berlin first opened they had to hire greeters to show the locals around, as the lobby and interior were the most sumptuous ever seen in the old Eastern side.

Some said it more resembled a Ritz-Carlton, as there was so much gilt. It was certainly not a dull hotel in those days and the public areas, tea room and restaurant were beautiful - but that was a long time ago. From what I can see Regent have done little to enhance the original. It is time for a refurbishment.
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Old Oct 7, 13, 11:12 am
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Originally Posted by vuittonsofstyle View Post
It is time for a refurbishment.
Absolutely!
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Old Oct 7, 13, 12:05 pm
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great as always DavidO !

Originally Posted by DavidO View Post
built by Four Seasons in 1996. After Four Seasons merged with Regent, the hotel's owners decided to go with Regent branding and management.
Originally Posted by vuittonsofstyle View Post
Four Seasons had merged with Regent long ago, and Carlson had bought the Regent brand, so by then, Regent had nothing to do with Four Seasons.
FS and regent and berlin >
2004 FS wanted out of equity/lease of berlin; after that rezidor got management, possibly paying for new restaurant
2002 carlson partner with rezidor (initially in EMEA region)
1998 FS sell regent name to carlson (not management)
1992 FS acquire regent

wow, FS still manages regent singapore?
not sure when FS stopped managing regent taipei
nov 2005 - regent kuala lumpur drops FS management

berlin incl FS >
Originally Posted by vuittonsofstyle View Post
impossible to make a profit as Berlin is such a low-yield destination.
FS regretted having minority stake in development and lease of berlin hotel (and other hotels elsewhere)
re berlin - FS mentioned something about pending/continuing redevelopment of area around hotel
in general - the events in early 2000s impacted global economy, not just berlin

hyatt opened grand in 1998 and marriott opened ritz in 2004 and they both lease their hotels
although FS also owned 26% stake in company that held freehold ownership of hotel

in 1991 Four Seasons entered into an operating lease to acquire the management of the Four Seasons
Hotel Berlin...Four Seasons Hotel Berlin opened in September 1996...Fee revenue earned from the hotel has been less than $400,000 per year [1999 through 2003]
operating loss incl ownership cost and excl fee revenue >
1999 $1mm / 2000 $1.8mm / 2001 $1.5mm / 2002 $3.9mm / 2003 $3.8mm

Last edited by Kagehitokiri; Oct 13, 13 at 11:56 am
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Old Oct 7, 13, 1:31 pm
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Thanks DavidO -- this brought back memories of my stay at FS Berlin just before they ceased management of the property. I met up with a friend and we had a Deluxe double room on the top floor next to the Presidential Suite. We spent a few early evenings on the balcony listening to the open air classical musik concerts playing at the GendarmenMarkt before heading out to Kreuzberg or Prenzlauerberg for some fun...
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Old Nov 29, 13, 6:17 pm
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Originally Posted by vuittonsofstyle View Post
On another note - obviously not Virtuoso - but for me Soho House Berlin is one of the best options.

I second that.
Staff at the Soho House on Torstraße 1: Fantastic. The bar scene: Busy. The rooftop pool: A nice bonus.
If you book a room in the Extra Large category, you'll have quite a bit of space to roam in. Or 118 square meters to be more precise. And these rooms come with a record player and a little selection of records. Yes, that would be vinyl records.

:: h ::

Pics and my impressions of the Soho House Berlin to be found here.


.
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Old Nov 30, 13, 6:15 pm
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We stayed at the RC Berlin in 2007 - and I wrote it up here:

http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/luxur...ml#post7847556

Enjoyed our stay a lot. Different chef in the main restaurant now though - can't vouch for it one way or the other. Robyn
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Old Dec 1, 13, 7:35 am
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Thanks for posting DavidO. I personally really enjoy both the Rome and Soho House which are both excellent and very different properties.
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Old Dec 1, 13, 10:53 am
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Originally Posted by robyng View Post
Enjoyed our stay a lot. Different chef in the main restaurant now though - can't vouch for it one way or the other. Robyn
Nothing special I must say. Nothing to compare with Lorenz Adlon or Fischers Fritz.....
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Old Dec 1, 13, 5:08 pm
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Originally Posted by offerendum View Post
Nothing special I must say. Nothing to compare with Lorenz Adlon or Fischers Fritz.....
Thomas Kellermann - the chef from the old RC Restaurant - Vitrum - is now at a Relais/Chateaux property - Burg Wernberg in Wernberg-Koblitz (near the Czech border) - restaurant is Kastell. He has the 2 Michelin stars I thought he deserved when we dined at Vitrum . Certainly worth a detour if anywhere in the neighborhood IMO.

I don't think most people think of Berlin (or other parts of Germany for that matter) as a food destination - but it was very very good in my opinion. Too bad about the RC restaurant. Because a really good luxury hotel in an exciting city like Berlin should have a great chef/restaurant if possible. Robyn
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Old Dec 2, 13, 12:24 pm
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Originally Posted by robyng View Post
Thomas Kellermann - the chef from the old RC Restaurant - Vitrum - is now at a Relais/Chateaux property - Burg Wernberg in Wernberg-Koblitz (near the Czech border) - restaurant is Kastell. He has the 2 Michelin stars I thought he deserved when we dined at Vitrum . Certainly worth a detour if anywhere in the neighborhood IMO.

I don't think most people think of Berlin (or other parts of Germany for that matter) as a food destination - but it was very very good in my opinion. Too bad about the RC restaurant. Because a really good luxury hotel in an exciting city like Berlin should have a great chef/restaurant if possible. Robyn
After Kellermann left Hendrik Otto took over. He has now also 2 stars with the Lorenz Adlon. At Podsdamer Platz is the Facil, also now a 2 star restaurant. You canīt complain about food-scene in berlin. Also great options for vegetarians: La mano verde and Moschinskiīs. Great vegan scene in Berlin
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Old Dec 2, 13, 1:17 pm
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Originally Posted by robyng View Post
Thomas Kellermann - the chef from the old RC Restaurant - Vitrum - is now at a Relais/Chateaux property - Burg Wernberg in Wernberg-Koblitz (near the Czech border) - restaurant is Kastell. He has the 2 Michelin stars I thought he deserved when we dined at Vitrum . Certainly worth a detour if anywhere in the neighborhood IMO.

I don't think most people think of Berlin (or other parts of Germany for that matter) as a food destination - but it was very very good in my opinion. Too bad about the RC restaurant. Because a really good luxury hotel in an exciting city like Berlin should have a great chef/restaurant if possible. Robyn
I used to LOVE Thomas Kellerman when he was at Vitrum. R-C managed to ruin that hotel, post Marriott. Such a pity. Good to know where to find him - thanks!
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