20 Apr A Luxurious Stay In Beautiful Berlin
Berlin is one of Europe’s most energetic, vibrant, cosmopolitan and creative cities and is the capital and largest city in Germany. It has had a fierce and eventful past and has overcome the challenges of rebuilding itself since unification.
It’s mid-March and there is a distinct feel in the air that Winter is fading away and the Spring season is very much among us. I arrive at Tegel International Airport in Berlin courtesy of British Airways and the flight was smooth and took approximately one hour and forty-five minutes from Heathrow.
I am getting ready to make my onward journey to the Adlon Kempinski Hotel, one of the finest luxury hotels in Berlin and probably one of the most prestigious addresses in the German capital. This incredible hotel has seen difficult times and was bombed in the war and was only restored to its former glory in 1997. The hotel has welcomed over the years a collection of dignitaries, politicians and star-studded guests, from the likes of Charlie Chaplin, Greta Garbo, Michael Jackson, Albert Einstein and Her Majesty the Queen.
It’s no surprise this outstanding hotel is a firm favourite with an array of VIP’s around the world. I am greeted by my awaiting driver from the concierge department from the Adlon Kempinski Hotel, his name is Miller and he proceeds to take my bag and show me to the waiting, slick, black, Mercedes-Benz limousine. Miller is amiable and very knowledgeable about Berlin and advises me on all the hotspots I should explore whilst in the city.
My transfer from the airport to the hotel was luxury at it’s very best, smooth, serene and seamless. A very warm welcome is bestowed upon me once I arrive at the Adlon Kempiniski Hotel, the sort of reception reserved for celebrities and global superstars.
Once I am in the lobby of the hotel I am greeted by a delightful smile from a graceful lady dressed in a bright red designer suit. Her name is Julia and she is part of a fabulous team known as the “Ladies In Red”. An elite guest relations squad who are there to ensure all Adlon guests are catered for at the highest order from the beginning to the end of their stay. Julia showed me to my suite and explained everything in a warm and attentive manner about the hotel, it’s history and what I could expect from her and her team in the coming days with regards to service and attention.
My home for the next few days was a dazzling Pariser Platz Suite which is approximately 80sqm and comes with a separate living room and bedroom, Kingsize bed, working desk, flat screen TV, I-Pod docking station, and has a breathtaking view of the iconic Brandenburg Gate. A complimentary bottle of champagne, an assortment of fine chocolates and an exquisite large fruit platter that could easily feed a small family are appealingly presented in the suite.
The décor and interior design of the suite is gorgeous and is the creation of London’s Ezra Attia Associates and Sweden’s AB Living Designs. The Pariser Platz Suite is warm in appearance, stylish and inviting. The floor and door borders are made of valuable limestone, whilst the walls and doors are a combination of plush mahogany and cherry furnishings.
The bathroom is finished in a black granite, vanities, pale marble, bathroom, bathtub and a separate standalone shower. A personal safe, well-stocked mini bar, multi-purpose plugs, and PC-access points complete the equipment and accessories within the suite. I really liked the technical functionality of the suite too as the electronic key card system turns on the lights and air-conditioning when it opens the door.
Everything within the suite can be controlled by a simple handheld device making it easy and a pleasure to use. Lorenz Adlon Esszimmer The Adlon Kempinski Hotel has a fantastic selection of three sublime culinary venues to choose from.
They are the Lorenz Adlon Esszimmer, two Michelin stars, run by the talented Chef Hendrik Otto serving the very best of traditional and modern German dishes. Restaurant Quarre is a brasserie-style restaurant offering excellent international specialities prepared with regional ingredients. I was fortunate enough to dine at Quarre for lunch and
I thoroughly recommend the Königsberger Klopse which is German meatballs in caper sauce, mashed potatoes, beetroots and capers. And last but not least the blissful Sra Bua by Tim Raue, serving the finest modern pan-Asian cuisine executed with local seasonal produce. I really enjoyed Sra Bue and thoroughly recommend the dish No sushi, hamachi, tamari which is part of a six-course menu.
My waitress Lily who served me at Sra Bua was fantastic with her kind and thoughtful recommendations and fabulous service throughout too. The Sra Bua restaurant Manager Stefan was brilliant and very hospitable during my first class dining experience too. During my stay at the Adlon Kempinksi Hotel I couldn’t resist the famous culinary trademark of the Adlon-Currywurst. The ingredients are secret but the taste and flavour of this famous Berlin cuisine is a sheer joy and a must try.
That evening my culinary journey continued to the much talked about VOLT restaurant which is headed up by gifted Chef Matthias Gleiss and his team and can be found in an old substation Kreuzberg built in 1928 at the Landwehrkanal. It’s an uber cool eating house with exposed brickwork and hanging lamps with a bright shiny metallic finish.
The service throughout the evening was flawless and the menu was superb which is based on regional products serving modern, regional German cuisine. VOLT restaurant I went for menu number one, a five-course menu which consisted of the following; Octopus which was marinated, then pan roasted, the Lamb’s Lettuce which was blanched then pureed using butter, onion and apple cider vinegar.
Next was the Pheasant and black Salsify, sautéed and braised, followed by the Flat Iron of Beef which was seared then sous vide at 55°C for 50 minutes and for dessert a delicious apple marinated, ice cream with cinnamon, broth, gel, malt crème Brulee. In short, VOLT is definitely one of Berlin’s finest restaurants and the dining experience was nothing but exceptional.
After all of that food consumed on day one, I was very excited for day two as I would get the opportunity to explore Berlin city via a walking tour and to really experience some splendid Berlin luxury, history and culture. It also meant I got a chance to walk off all that marvellous food I dined on the night before too.
Berlin is a city rich in history and culture and I thoroughly recommend a visit to the likes of the German Reichstag which is the seat of the German Parliament and is also one of Berlin’s most famed landmarks. Checkpoint Charlie Another great attraction is Checkpoint Charlie which was once the main entry point for visitors wanting to cross the infamous Iron Curtain to East Berlin during the division of the city. Other must see attractions are the likes of the Brandenburg Gate, East Side Gallery, Museum Island, Holocaust Memorial to mention but a few.
The city is packed with a number of museums, galleries and theatres that each tell their own story. Brandenburg Gate From the old to the new via luxury shops and department stores which are very much part of the chic Berlin landscape now. The hip and trendy establishment, The Corner is known as Berlin’s most plush emporium with celebrity shoppers such as Katie Holmes, Claudia Schiffer and Jude Law to name but a few that frequent the store when they are in Berlin. Here you can find sports trainers for 650 Euros, boots for 785 Euros or sandals for 795 Euros.
Galeries Lafayette Other glamorous shopping locations in Berlin can be found at the likes of Galeries Lafayette the luxury department store from Paris that forms the centre-piece of the Friedrichstadt-Passages where you can assign your own personal shopper.
The food hall at KaDeWe has to be seen to be believed. This elegant luxury department stores is one of Europe’s largest and caters to Berlin’s high society and a variety of affluent customers from all over the world, pampering them with excellent service and a tremendous product and service diversity. Bikini Berlin which is Germany’s first concept mall is a shopping experience with a difference pandering to trendy, style-conscious, international clientele. The highlight of the Bikini Mall is it’s 7,000 square metre roof terrace which is accessible to everyone, and gives you smashing views across the city and of the mischievous monkey enclosure in the Berlin Zoo.
Not forgetting the world famous Friedrichstrabe which is the very popular shopping street in Berlin that stretches over three kilometres and you can find luxury labels such as Gucci and Strenesse amongst others.
After much walking and sightseeing of Berlin my final day in this extraordinary metropolis was dedicated to some much-needed rest and relaxation. I am booked in for a classic Swedish massage treatment at the Adlon Spa by Resense which is an impressive 9,000 sqft of peace and calm spread over three levels.
The Adlon Spa by Resense is Berlin’s greatest wellness retreat. My spa treatment was heavenly thanks to Stephanie my majestic masseuse for the day. My session lasted for a glorious hour but for those that have a little more time on their hands, I suggest you sample the angelic spa suites on offer. There are three suites, each with its own unique facilities including Finnish sauna, steam shower, Jacuzzi or relaxation day bed, private sound system and a feature colour therapy wall.
After my spa treatment, I am ready for lunch and I am on my way to sample one of Berlin’s famous and most successful Chefs, Tim Raue. Restaurant by Tim Raue has two Michelin stars and is situated by Checkpoint Charlie on Friedrichstraße. A very stylish restaurant with retro-influenced interiors, high ceilings, banquette seats and aromatic, Asian-inspired cuisine.
On arrival I am greeted with a warm smile and shown to my table. My waiter Paul was excellent throughout and very knowledgeable and takes me through the enchanting menu and kindly explains each dish meticulously. In no time at all, I am served an array of starters that awaken my taste buds. Over the next two and half hours, I am served a world class luxury menu consisting of the finest spices and blending of flavours. Goose Liver, Pikeperch, Suckling Pig, Peking Duck and Thai Mango all arrive one after the other looking like astonishing works of art and the presentation is impeccable. The signature dish of Peking Duck is my personal favourite and I can see why this is such a popular choice with diners. This was a truly remarkable dining experience and I am already looking forward to returning to Restaurant by Tim Raue to sample further dishes on this wonderful menu.
Berlin is renowned for its nightlife culture and Felix ClubRestaurant is considered one of the hippest premium clubs in the city. It’s an international playground for the elite and celebrities such as Jamie Foxx, Christopher Waltz and Robbie Williams to name but a few have all enjoyed legendary parties at this trendy setting. I really enjoyed my VIP experience at Felix ClubRestaurant which offered great music, a cool atmosphere and sublime service from all the staff.
My Berlin adventure was truly monumental and I was now heading back to Tegel International Airport in a grand, lavish, spacious luxurious Maybach limousine courtesy of the Adlon Kempinski Hotel who are the epitome of luxury, class and style. My driver Sebastian is super friendly, courteous and polite and our journey back to the airport is effortless.
In summary, Berlin and all its wonder is a phenomenal melting pot of history, culture and diversity that offers out of this world luxury to the single traveller, couples or families seeking that premium divine experience.
It seems my love affair with this alluring destination has only just begun and I am already looking forward to returning to sample further delights of beautiful Berlin.
For more information on Berlin, visit Visit Berlin – www.visitberlin.de/en To book a room or suite at the Adlon
Kempinski Hotel, visit: www.kempinski.com/en/berlin/hotel-adlon/
With up to 7 flights a day, fly direct from London to Berlin with British Airways. For more information on flights, visit: www.britishairways.com