It was Fashion Week in Berlin and I was visiting one of the main destinations of fashion designers in Berlin: Hotel de Rome. This luxury hotel, situated in the heart of the capital city, a couple of minutes away from the Museum Insel, is part of a large network, Rocco Forte Hotels, with several locations in Germany, Belgium, Czech Republic, Russia, Italy, UAE and Great Britain, among others.
Despite the busy schedule of guests, the lobby is quiet. The discrete buzz behind the curtains, at the reception and in the restaurant or the bar reminds of the former active life of the building during the time when it used to be a bank.
As many other locations in Berlin, this building has its own story too. It was originally built in 1889 as the headquarters of the Dresdner Bank. It continued to be a bank during the Cold War in the then communist Germany and shortly thereafter was converted into a party space. Once turned into a hotel, it was redesigned following a project signed by Olga Polizzi. The old offices become historical suites and the serious halls were given a colourful stylish touch.
The historical ballroom, for instance, preserves the shapes of the old balconies from where the main managers used to overview the main operations of the bank. Nowadays is adorned with luxurious candelabra whose light is completing the natural daylight provided through the glass roof. It has a capacity of up to 250 guests. The space can be used for big parties, weddings or even congresses.
Another favourite location of the guests, especially for the wedding photos, are the old metal stairs, whose seriousness was sweetened with some creative yet simple lightening solutions.
Some of the rooms from the historical part were kept in their original format. Nowadays the safe-like doors are hiding the privacy of the customers. Most of the visitors are from the US, UK, Italy, France and Brazil. The guests are free to stay as long as they want.
The hotel has 146 bedrooms, with 37 suites. The 4 historical suites have 5-metre high ceilings and original wood-panelled walls. The ambiance is relaxed, with a wise use of the space, whose dynamics are mainly created by a colourful choice of accessories and irregular sizes of furniture.
The main inspiration of the suites is the active life of the city. The eclectic mixture of materials and styles are keeping a classical main line. Special arrangements can be made for families with children, not only in terms of offering the extra-beds, but also regarding exclusive services focused on the little guests. The hotels provides children's amenities, including slippers and robes, children's in-room dining and restaurant menu, special babysitting services, that may also provide special classes, such as cooking or various entertainment programs.
While I am presented those details, I sigh nostalgically: wish I am a child to get all this pampering treatment here...
Even for luxury hotels, the bathrooms aren't always looking too stylish or inviting. Thins are different in the case of Hotel de Rome, where the wall mosaic brings a welcomed note of elegance. In addition, all bathrooms feature heated floors, with walk-in showers and separate bath.
The modern rooms have more bold colours, but the same combination of elegance and practicalities is kept. You can easily work comfortably in your room, have a special business meeting or a conference call. For high-speed Internet one may need to pay around 20 Euro/day.
The best kept secret of Hotel de Rome is the pool, hosted in what once used to be the old jewellery vault. A perfect choice, isn't it? It is the longest hotel pool in Berlin, of 20-meter, mostly reserved for the hotel's customers. Bachelorette parties can be also booked. The spa has 6 treatment rooms, a Finnish Sauna and a gym. In the summer, the hotel's terrace can be used for yoga training.
The nail parlour is another example of successful integration of the long-term memories of the building. The small window was used to bring the necessary supplies of money to the bank. The original metal door frames and some of the closets were kept. The space can be also transformed for a romantic private dinner. The candle lights and the tasty food possibly create a different ambiance.
As I decided in the next weeks to test the offer of afternoon tea in the non-English city of Berlin, I love to hear that there is a special program offered in the Opera Court, for 35 Euro. The location looks inviting, cosy and even discrete, although it is an open space. I am already thinking to my next visit.
The restaurant Parioli has a Mediterranean menu changing weekly, offering mostly seasonal dishes. The breakfast is basically a buffet, composed by local German jams from Spreewald, pancakes and eggs Benedict. The average business lunch costs 26 Euro for 2 courses.
If interested to meet the VIPs, most probably the bar is the perfect place. The bar and lounge offer not only views over the Bebelplatz, but also a variety of drinks and cocktails. As in the entire hotel, people are working all round the clock here too. The room in-dining is available 24-hour.
One hour later after I started my tour of the hotel, the same discrete buzz is continuing, with the same welcoming quietness in the main lobby. You don't have to be a fashion designer to want to return here, even only for another hour of afternoon tea.
More views of Hotel de Rome, on the Pinterest board: http://www.pinterest.com/ilanaontheroad/hotel-de-rome-berlin/
Disclaimer: I was offered a complimentary tour of Hotel de Rome, but the opinions are, as usual, my own.