Berlin like Babylon - The Adlon Kempinski
Kaiser, Chancellors and Kings or Queens stayed in this hotel, at the center of political Germany, near the Reichstag at Unter den Linden where history happened so many times: Emperor Wilhelm II. of Prussia before WWI made this hotel possible in the first place and was a preferred guest, a lazaret during the war, then in the roaring 20s where the high society partied and stumbled into the crisis that ended the Weimarer republic.
“Es ist wohl nur ein Traum - das bloße Haschen nach dem Wind”
…translating to “Probably only a dream - the mere catching of the wind”
from Babylon Berlin, surprise TV hit from Germany that depicts the roaring 20s in Berlin in a fantastic way. This quote is from the musical number in season one, which - to me - puts into one song the tragedy of the first German republic.
The Adlon regained its former glory when it was rebuilt in 1997 - after five centuries of complete disregard by the communist German Democratic Republic.
Berlin has a few “city centres”, but if you want to put one at the top it surely is where the Adlon is - Unter den Linden 77 directly next to the Brandenburg Gate, the most famous tourist sight of Germany’s capital. The Reichstag and the whole German government is another fancy neighbour, as well as embassies of the USA, France, and Russia. Enter the hotel from the main street and you’ll feel just a little more important than the other tourists who just walk by.
The whole lobby lounge and bar has been renovated in 2016 and it definitely gives a luxury grand hotel vibe with a modern touch. Expensive materials like marble, onyx and gold have been used, also to rebuild the elephant fountain of which the original was once given to the hotel by a Maharaja. Most amazing to me was the effect of calm and quiet when coming in from the super busy Unter den Linden. Truly an oasis in the city.
Let’s go to the room!
I received a one level room upgrade due to LHW membership and I was definitely pleased with the courtyard-facing room. Big bathroom, nice bed and quiet in the middle of the city. The style was not how I would decorate my home, but it kind of fit the Adlon. See for yourself:
The spa in the Adlon did not impress that much. While the antique roman style was appreciated, the division of the pool area and the massage area was not. I had to go up the elevator, walk through the whole building in a bathrobe and down with another elevator to the massage spa. Seriously?
Also, the mosaic stones in the whirlpool were loose and many have not been replaced. The sauna area was quite small, too. Really not what I had expected.
The breakfast buffet was really great - lots of good choices and the light Mercier champagne included. Service was friendly, but sometimes overwhelmed by the many guests.
The lobby bar was a nice way to relax after a few hours of city touring. Comfortable seats, calming water fountain and a signature Adlon cake. Nice!
We also dined in the fantastic Lorenz Adlon Esszimmer awarded with 2-Michelin stars - read my review of the experience here.
|Hotel||Adlon Kempinski Berlin|
|Brand||Kempinski, LHW and GHA Discovery|
If you are a first time Berlin tourist, you should start with the Adlon. From here you can explore the most important sites and also get a feel for the glorious Prussian times. If you need perfect wellness and spa with your city trip you should choose a different hotel. I’ll probably stay in other hotels on my next Berlin trips, just to see what else is out there. Nonetheless, I can recommend the Adlon and would easily stay there again for its quiet courtyard-facing rooms, the great breakfast and the relaxing lobby cafe and bar.