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Adlon A night at the Brandenburg Gate

Friday, July 13, 2018
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Hotel Adlon Kempinski
Unter den Linden 77
10117 Berlin-Mitte
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+49 30 22 61 0
www.kempinski.com

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It's only our second stay at the Hotel Adlon on Pariser Platz, but somehow it almost feels like coming home. Some things have even changed. The lobby has been completely redesigned since our last visit and is now brighter than before. The replica of the original 1930 elephant fountain gurgles cheerfully, like the calming centrepiece of the house.

Gold-coloured velvet sofas and armchairs with embroidered fabrics from the Rubelli weaving mill in northern Italy and golden table lamps add atmosphere. A three-and-a-half-metre-high Murano chandelier floats magnificently in front of the lifts. It is enthroned above one of the opulent flower arrangements, whose counterpart also welcomes guests at the entrance to the Adlon. In the middle of it all, an illustrious crowd is having tea. A lively seeing and being seen.

Everything seems so nonchalant, as if it had never been any different, yet this place has experienced a lot. Did you know, for example, that the Adlon was not destroyed in the war, but only accidentally caught fire after the war ended? By Russian soldiers looting the then legendary wine cellar? By far the largest part of the building was actually demolished under the GDR dictatorship.

Hotel Adlon am Pariser Platz in Berlin-9
Hotel Adlon am Pariser Platz in Berlin-10
Adlon Hotel Berlin Kempinski Brandenburger Tor Zimmer
Hotel Adlon am Pariser Platz in Berlin-6
Hotel Adlon am Pariser Platz in Berlin-7
Hotel Adlon am Pariser Platz in Berlin-1
Hotel Adlon am Pariser Platz in Berlin-4
Adlon Hotel Berlin Kempinski Brandenburger Tor Eingang
Hotel Adlon am Pariser Platz in Berlin-5

And that is just one of the countless stories that can be told about Berlin's most legendary hotel. Built in 1907 at a cost of 17 million gold marks, the Adlon was soon regarded as the meeting place par excellence, not only by its greatest patron, Kaiser Wilhelm II, but also by everyone of distinction in Europe. Its architecture, its artistic design and above all its technical perfection were praised worldwide.

The Emperor himself paid an annual sum to be able to accommodate his personal guests here when necessary. Everything in the house fascinated him. According to stories, he often played with the light switches or turned on the taps just to see if everything still worked. 

Embassies moved their offices to the hotel and preferred the Kaisersaal to their own ballrooms. Noble families sold their palaces in Berlin to live in the Adlon instead. Among the regular guests were such famous celebrities as the Tsar of Russia, Greta Garbo or Albert Einstein and Charlie Chaplin, whose daughter Geraldine also stayed in the newly built Adlon decades later.

The hotel was reopened in 1997 with 306 rooms and 78 suites. The floors and door surrounds are made of Jura limestone, walls and doors are veneered with cherry and burl wood. The bathrooms are in black granite and light marble. There are three presidential suites, including the "Royal Suite", named after the many crowned heads it has hosted.

There is a small Asian-inspired library, all in red and gold with antique-looking glass bookcases. Really enchanting! I can literally see the Queen there at her desk. 180 square metres, which can be extended by numerous other rooms if necessary and even has a wood-burning fireplace in the living room.

But our Paris Square Suite is also breathtaking. Spacious with every conceivable comfort. A two-room flat with a walk-in wardrobe, a bathroom with a separate guest toilet and a sleeping and living area covering dozens of square metres. The interior, inspired by the old days, is classic and elegant. Two minibars provide us with drinks and snacks.

The greatest thing, however, is the view of Pariser Platz and the Brandenburg Gate. It's the World Cup public viewing and the cheers of the football fans can be heard from the Straße des 17 Juni. We have our finger on the pulse of time. The square is an event in itself. Sometimes curious in the afternoon, it is deserted in the early hours of the morning and invites us to revisit history.

Of course, you don't want to leave a room like this, so we are grateful for the room service, which brings in dinner on a large round table: Wonderfully sloppy risotto with vegetables and a club sandwich with chips, as befits a world-class hotel. Those who like it more exquisite are of course better off in the 2-star restaurant Lorenz Adlon Esszimmer, as one of three restaurants in the house, but we are blissfully happy.

Even the Adlon Spa by Resense, with its exclusive beauty treatments, body scrubs and massages from all over the world, doesn't make us leave the room. Neither does an exclusive yoga class or the pool area with whirlpool, sauna and steam bath or the fitness area with state-of-the-art equipment. The room with its magnificent view is completely sufficient for us. Only for breakfast we are willed to give up our temporary domicile.

Translated by Alexander Brandes

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Adlon – A night at the Brandenburg Gate
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