Ritz Carlton Berlin = Marriott Ambassador Benefits Better than Expected

100   Recommended

Junior Suite
August 1, 2019 by
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Junior Suite

Liked:
Location
Service
Food
Amenities
Room

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Room
Junior Suite

Berlin is generally not seen as a hot bed of top notch hotels; I stayed at Hilton before and it was ok but I was looking for a change.  I initially considered Waldorf Astoria but that property is often getting some lukewarm reviews; also the Best Rate Guarantee team gave me the run around several times on valid claims so I gave up and considered other hotels instead.  For my dates, Grand Hyatt did not have standard suites available anymore for Globalist upgrades, instead I wanted to use points to upgrade to a premium suite, but they refused and said the room type I wanted was not eligible, in contradiction with their own website.  I am not a regular guest at Ritz Carlton hotels, in part because similar to Fairmont there is no elite breakfast and no free lounge access.  However one favorable change at the RC brand is that elites can now receive upgrades to suites so I am more inclined to stay at RC than in the past; I suspected I would get a modest upgrade to a junior suite if I booked RC Berlin so not the most amazing stuite, but better than a “view room”.  All this to say that RC Berlin was not my first choice but luckily I found a very good BRG and knowing they recently renovated their rooms, was I looking forward to try this hotel, breakfast or not.  

Room

I saw a few days before arrival that we had been upgraded to a junior suite which was aligned with my expectations.  The junior suite sells for roughly 100 EUR more than the price of a standard room which is a decent upgrade and I would not complain. That said the entry level room is already quite large at 40 sq meters and the junior suite is not hugely different at 50 sq meters so even without an upgrade I would have been ok.  We arrived around noon and unfortunately our room was not ready.  As we waited near reception we were asked if we wanted a drink and we asked for water, I was shocked to find out afterwards the price was 12 EUR, exactly 10% of the price of daily Club Lounge access for a day - quite excessive.  So it was not the best start having to wait and pay this price for water particularly since there are plenty of shops around, but we eventually got our room at 2pm.  

Renovations at this hotel were a success in my opinion at least based on our room which looked good with new and excellent quality furniture throughout.  Our room was at the far end of the corridor so quiet and no heavy foot traffic outside. We were not disturbed by noise at any time during our stay, possibly in part thanks to the thick doors.  There was a large window near the living area and another one closer to the bed where the wall is at an angle.  The bed was very comfortable and air conditioning strong, which we really needed after sweating in Andaz Amsterdam during the heat wave a few days prior; we had great sleep in RC Berlin.  The bathroom is all marble and looks luxurious, the shower is a bit small but it has a dual rain shower and hand shower which you can operate at the same time, plus a convenient mirror.  The toilet enclosure has a partially frosted glass door which you can see through – this was probably the only feature I did not like. For this reason it requires you to close the door of the entire bathroom when using the toilet and it defeats the purpose of having a door for the toilet to being with.  Bathroom amenities were the standard Ritz Carlton Asprey Purple Water which we always enjoy.  According to electronic temperature controls it looks like you can have heated floors in the bathroom which we did not need in July but definitely a plus in the winter. 

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Dining

As per Marriott rules I did not expect to get free breakfast because of the RC brand exclusion, but at check-in I was told breakfast was 6:30-10:30am and that it was included for us.  When arriving in our room I double-checked my reservation and there was no mention of breakfast so I thought perhaps it was a mistake because I did not book a rate including breakfast.  The first morning I sent a message in the chat feature of the Marriott app to ask about breakfast and I was told it was free for us because of our Bonvoy status.  Perhaps this property decided to be more generous than the rules; if so then kudos to them.  I did not want to rock the boat and ask for details.  We ended up having breakfast in the Pots restaurant every day except the day of departure.

You have the choice of having breakfast inside the restaurant or on the terrace outside.  The seating arrangement inside is a bit tight and it was made worse by the hotel closing a section of tables near the entrance on the first day although later during our stay that section was open as the hotel was more fully booked. The breakfast buffet had standard western options of hot food including sausages, omelets, etc.  They had smoked salmon and gravlax, both of which were good. For fruits it was fairly standard except they had passion fruit available which I was pleased with, but on one morning perhaps they ran out and there was none by the time we got there. You can also have free flow champagne although during our stay they changed it to sparkling wine when the hotel got busier which might or might not be a coincidence.

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All in all, there is no way I would complain about free RC breakfast given they go above and beyond the rules, and it’s not like breakfast was poor: it included some luxury options such as free flow sparkling wine and good smoked salmon.  However apart from that, if this was a St.Regis hotel I would say it was no better than average particularly hot food choices could include something more creative, and fruits left to be desired when there was no passion fruit, in other words very Sheraton-like for fruit choices if I allow myself to be a bit critical.

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Service

Usually when we go to a hotel lounge we have more frequent contact with staff and we are in better position to assess service, but on this trip we did not go to the Club Lounge.  We had asked ahead of time to get lounge access for a couple of days during our stay (but not the entire stay) which they agreed to for 120 EUR for day, but my wife ended up being a bit under the weather so we skipped. Other than the lounge, from what I can tell service in the hotel is fine: they sent me a pre-arrival e-mail and helped me with directions to the hotel, service in the restaurant for breakfast was decent, housekeeping was well done exactly at the time requested, I had a few interactions in the chat feature during our stay for various requests which were all handled efficiently, etc.  I would also note that we received a bottle of champagne and chocolate covered strawberries as a welcome gift.  

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Location

The location of the hotel is very good as it is within walking distance of many tourist sites.   You are also right in front of the Potsdamer Platz train station so no need to walk long distances to catch public transportation, however for some destinations it requires you to change train lines to access parts of the city so perhaps a slightly less convenient location than hotels near more major train stations, but quite good nonetheless.

Gym

The gym is a bit small but it has brand new and modern equipment which have the large glossy screens which I like.  

Overall

Overall we had a very solid stay, this hotel has great hardware with nicely done renovations, free breakfast, and suite upgrade, albeit somewhat modest but suite nonetheless, so I am not sure there is a whole lot more I could ask for.  I could have gone to Waldorf instead thinking I would get breakfast there, but RC offers it to elite members too and it is less clear that I would have had a suite upgrade at Waldorf, even a modest one.  In addition, RC does not give free Club Lounge access, but on some trips if we want to pay for it, at least the lounge is available at RC to meet our needs, which is simply not a choice at WA; having a paying lounge is better than no lounge and guests are free to decide.  So all in all we found RC to be good value and they found themselves new customers – we are likely to return to this hotel on our next visit to Berlin because without having visited WA it is hard to expect better than what we got at RC and we were pleased enough that I would possibly not shop around next time.

 

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