New in Berlin

THE BAR at Hotel am Steinplatz draws a dynamic crowd at night; by day, it’s a lovely stopover for coffee.

We dropped in on Hotel am Steinplatz on a recent trip to Berlin and found the hotel, part of Marriott’s Autograph Collection, to be a freshly renovated classic stayover close to the city’s main shopping Kurfürstendamm thoroughfare. Originally the place to be in Berlin’s “Age of Glamour” in the ’20s and ’30s, the boutique-size hotel rivaled The Adlon as a meeting place for VIPs in the ’50s, when Heinrich Böll and Günter Grass and film stars such as Brigitte Bardot and Romy Schneider were regular guests. As a protected building, the 100-year-old structure reopened after a three-year renovation in January.

Pictured: The BAR at Hotel am Steinplatz draws a dynamic crowd at night; by day, it’s a lovely stopover for coffee.

The result is a classic hotel with high ceilings and “Berlin Art Nouveau” details throughout. There’s a vaulted ceiling at the entrance, an inner courtyard with Gothic arches, and black-and-white styled bathrooms, with elegant amenities by Etro and sink fittings by Hansgrohe that give the guest rooms a pristine feel. (We also hear the bathroom floors and mirrors are heated). The rooms are a cozy place to hide away for hours, but we felt the hotel’s first-floor bar would be an excellent place to sip lattes during the day, reading a newspaper as the sun shone in from the posh surrounding district of Charlottenburg, which is garnering attention in its own right as a cultural hub. That local fine arts vibe is found throughout the Hotel am Steinplatz, thanks to a rotating photography exhibit on loan from the nearby C/O Berlin Gallery. It all gives a lovely sense of place, and you’ll be able to step that up in the evenings when Bar am Steinplatz hosts its DJ nights with the goal of bringing in a 20-something crowd and/or those in the digital industry. Thirty-two types of gin adorn the shelves, many of them local, and Rollberger, a craft beer hailing from Berlin’s Neukölln district, is on tap.Hotel De Rome’s Bebel Suite is an ideal venue for VIPs seeking space for their entourages, family and friends.

Pictured: Hotel De Rome’s Bebel Suite is an ideal venue for VIPs seeking space for their entourages, family and friends.

Of the 84 rooms, there’s just one Junior Suite and two Spa Suites with private saunas. Spa am Steinplatz, aside from two saunas and five treatment rooms, provides great views of Berlin’s rooftops. Jessica Witt ([email protected]; 011-49-3055-4444-6080) can fill you in on the details of the Berlin Nobility facial, which ends with a glass of champagne and chocolate-covered fruit.

Dining is at Restaurant am Steinplatz with an open kitchen overseen by Executive Chef Marcus Zimmer. Here, you can really live like a local with classic Berlin menu items, such as veal dumplings or a Prussian meatball dish, also known as “Königsberger Klopse.” The restaurant’s décor is freshly vintage, with cool table-top touches; for example, butter knives have been collected from local antique markets.

The hotel is run by General Manager Iris Baugatz; luxury travel advisors can contact the hotel’s director of sales and marketing, Carolin Beuster ([email protected]; 011-49-3055-4444-6020), to make special arrangements. She suggests families traveling together should reserve a Grand Superior Room and an adjacent Superior Room or, instead, the Junior Suite and adjacent Grand Superior Room. Note: Grand Superiors are the hotel’s third-highest room category and the most popular, measuring up to 409 square feet. This category and above offer bathtubs, while categories below provide walk-in showers.Hotel Am Steinplatz is a carefully restored boutique hotel combining classic character and comfort.

Pictured: Hotel Am Steinplatz is a carefully restored boutique hotel combining classic character and comfort.

The guest relations manager, Thomas Praeg ([email protected]; 011-49-3055-4444-6099), has insider tips for all things Berlin, including shopping excursions to the famous department store, KaDeWe, where a visit to the food floor is an absolute must for each visit to the city. Here, you’ll find aisles and aisles of gourmet food, glass-case enclosed offerings of more sausage types than you can ever imagine and dining spots that include champagne bars, unique cafes and even the Chocolate Bar (think pralines and truffles).

Praeg also suggests a visit to Belle Rebelle, a shop on Bleibtreustrasse 42, which sells perfumes exclusively from Berlin, plus luxury cosmetics and scented candles.

Book the hotel six to eight weeks out; keep in mind busy times for the city are during “Berlinale,” the city’s film festival, in February, ITB in March, and September, when things are just busy in general.

Also new to the city is the Bebel Suite at Rocco Forte’s Hotel de Rome, measuring in a cool 2,150 square feet. If that’s not enough for your space-loving clients, it can all be extended to take over the entire third floor to create a five-bedroom abode. Note: This is also the place for those seeking top security; windows have bulletproof glazing and there’s CCTV surveillance on tap. We think we could snuggle up in the suite’s living room, whose library has more than 1,000 books, a 65-inch TV and a virtual surround sound system, but we’d also be tempted to soak up the sun on the 82-foot-long terrace and perhaps invite a few of our friends over for a Berlin bash. The luxury travel advisor liaison here is the director of sales and marketing, Stefanie Brueckner ([email protected]).

For a full report on Hotel de Rome, see Richard Beck’s Just Back report in the July 2014 issue of Luxury Travel Advisor.

Getting There

Flying to Berlin also provides a new experience. Airberlin has added new “FullFlat” seats in its Business Class service on its new Airbus A330s. The product is the same found on the flights of its financial partner, Etihad Airways, but is more intimate in feel in that there are just 19 seats on airberlin’s service. Nice Touch: All chairs have direct access to the aisle and can be completely reclined; there’s even a massage feature. Fifteen-inch monitors serve up current box office hits, TV programming, music and games; there are also USB ports.