Today: Review of Hotel Adlon Kempinski Berlin (Germany)
- Location: Google maps
- Hotel website: Hotel Adlon Kempinski Berlin
- Tip: get complimentary VIP perks when booking via Virtuoso
The legendary Hotel Adlon Kempinski Berlin, first built in 1907 and located right next to the Brandenburg Gate, regained its status as Germany’s most prestigious hotel after its reopening in 1997. This is the meeting place for heads of state, royals, politicians, stars, intellectuals, artists, designers and entrepreneurs, and last but not least, the Berliners themselves. Business and leisure travelers find respite in the hotel’s 307 guest rooms and 78 diverse luxury suites with opulent designs and unique stories. The illustrious Restaurant Quarré (with summer terrace) and the two-Michelin-starred Lorenz Adlon Esszimmer impress with inspiring menus and spectacular views of Brandenburg Gate. More exciting dining experiences await in the pan-Asian Sra Bua and in the Lobby bar, known as the most vibrant living room in Berlin. The Adlon Spa by Resense offers a lovely retreat from the busy city.
Hotel Adlon Kempinski Berlin features in my top 10 list of the best luxury hotels in Germany.
Have you ever stayed at Hotel Adlon Kempinski Berlin? If so, what was your experience? Leave a comment.
In this review (more info and photos below my YouTube video):
- Pros & things I like
- Cons & things to know
- My verdict
- Tips for future guests & save money
- Best time to visit
- How to get there
PROS & THINGS I LIKE
- Hotel Adlon Kempinski Berlin enjoys a terrific location right next to the Brandenburg Gate, Berlin’s most famous landmark and a must-see for all visitors. The large sandstone gate was commissioned by King Frederick William II in the 18th century as a dignified conclusion of the magnificent boulevard Unter den Linde. The Brandenburg Gate used to be a memorial of division: after the construction of the Berlin Wall, it was located in a restricted area and could not be visited by East or West Germans. After the fall of the Wall, the gate became a national symbol of peace and unity. The hotel is also close to several other top attractions in the city, such as the Reichstag, the Potsdamer Platz and the Holocaust Memorial (which are only a stroll away). The property is easily accessible by car, taxi or public transport.
- The name Adlon never referred simply to a hotel; it always meant the Berlin institution, literally the first address in the city’s centersquare by the Brandenburg Gate. The hotel owes its name to the original owner, Lorenz Adlon. He opened the Adlon with the support of Kaiser Wilhelm II in 1907, and it quickly became known as the best and most famous hotel in Germany. Adlon’s vision was to create a superlative hotel that set standards for the future of the hotel industry. Guests from all over the world were enthusiastic about the comfortable amenities of this hotel, such as hot running water, electric power and a cooling system connected to a well. The building of the Adlon, which had survived both World Wars unscathed until it burnt down in early May 1945, was later demolished. But the name lived on in the minds of Berliners, and not just Berliners. The “Adlon” endured, it remained a legend and appeared regularly in stories, books and memories.
- When the reunified city of Berlin started a new era in the early nineties, the “Adlon” was one of the first striking buildings to rise again. Architects Patzschke, Klotz and Parter modeled their design largely on the original hotel but added two extra storeys. The building was financed by Fundus-Fonds-Verwaltungen GmbH in Cologne, and Kempinski was given a long-term lease contract. The hotel was officially opened by German President Roman Herzog on 23 August 1997. The Adlon Hotel at the Brandenburg Gate soon regained its popularity as a meeting place for international guests from the worlds of politics, business and show business. The property particularly established itself as a residence for state visits over the past 25 years. To provide these guests with even more comfort and the highest quality standards, the luxury hotel has been constantly refurbished and extended in recent years.
- Today, Hotel Adlon Kempinksi Berlin reflects the classic style of its historic predecessor, which is evident the moment you step inside the grand lobby. Crowned by a stained glass and gold leaf cupola, the multi-storey, oval-shaped lobby features timeless design elements, such as selected antiques, a Murano glass chandelier, a majestic marble staircase, and fine materials such as limestone, leather, brass and onyx. The lobby houses a lively lounge, one of Berlin’s most elegant social hubs and a popular spot for afternoon tea. Flanked on one side by the reception & concierge desks and on the other side by a magnificent bar, the lounge features dozens of armchairs and lounges which are arranged around an elephant fountain. This structure is an exact replica of the original historic piece, a present from the Maharadja of Patiala who particulary well known for his lavish lifestyle.
- With a total of 307 rooms and 78 suites, including three Presidential Suites, the “Grand Hotel” at the Brandenburg Gate offers the largest range of suites in Germany. During my visit, I was upgraded to Pariser Platz Suite on the hotel’s second floor. The luxurious and spacious suite featured a separate living and sleeping area, both enjoying wonderful views of the Brandenburg Gate and Pariser Platz. Classically elegant in design, the suite was furnished with mahogany panelling and fabrics. Fitted in black granite and light marble, the main bathroom was equipped with double vanity, bathtub and shower. There was also a second, smaller bathroom that came with one sink, a shower, and a sauna. Welcome amenities included a bottle of wine, fresh fruits, macarons, and a chocolate miniature of the hotel.
- Since the hotel’s opening in 1907, fine dining has always been a key element in the Adlon’s tradition of gracious hospitality. Even the legendary hotel’s founder, Lorenz Adlon, sang the praises of “the comforts and pleasures of indulgence”. Hotel Adlon Kempinski Berlin houses several restaurants:
- Established as Berlin‘s finest gourmet venue, the two Michelin restaurant starred Lorenz Adlon Esszimmer offers a sophisticated and exciting culinary experience with a splendid view of the capital‘s landmark, the Brandenburg Gate. Chef Reto Brändli creates surprising and modern aromatic cuisine based on classic French cuisine with Asian influences. Head Sommelier Hans-Martin Konrad charmingly complements the culinary delights with a selection of unexpected rarities and discoveries from the extensive wine list.
- Located on the hotel’s ground floor and facing the Brandenburger Gate is Brasserie Quarré, which serves German and French specialities. The menu features, for example, a Caviar tasting with classic side dishes, Bouillabaise, Adlon tartare or the Berlin veal liver. In summer, the bistro’s spacious terrace with a unique view of the Brandenburg Gate offers the perfect setting for a pleasant stay.
- On the hotel’s first floor is Bel Etage Restaurant, which offers an extensive breakfast buffet or on weekends the Adlon afternoon tea with a unique view of the lobby with the elephant fountain.
- Hotel Aldon Kempinksi Berlin is home to an intimate wellness center. Called the Adlon Spa by Resense, the space features a welcoming reception area, with a fireplace and illuminated walls made of Alabaster. The spa offers exclusive beauty treatments, massages and therapeutic programs. Adlon Spa’s latest care range by Resense, la prairie, is a unique combination of pure luxury ingredients to pamper the senses. The world-famous premium brand from Switzerland stands for timeless beauty and sets standards in the luxury cosmetic industry with innovate skin care collections. All la prairie treatments focus on visible anti-ageing results and the physical and mental well-being of the guest. In addition to the Adlon Spa by Resense, the hotel offers a heated pool, a whirlpool, a sauna and a steam room as well as a fitness center with state-of-the-art training equipment.
- When you stay at Hotel Adlon Kempinski Berlin, you will follow in the footsteps of heads of state, royals, politicians, stars, intellectuals, artists, designers, and entrepreneurs. The historical guest list right after the opening of the first hotel reads like a “Who is who” of the then celebrities: Marlene Dietrich, Charlie Chaplin, John Davison Rockefeller and Franklin D. Roosevelt all stayed at the hotel. After its rebuilding, the hotel hosted many other dignitaries and celebrities, such as Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, Queen Elizabeth II, and the Dalai Lama. The Adlon Hotel was also the very spot where Michael Jackson famously hung his son Prince Michael II over the railings in an alleged effort to further connect with his fans below, and where Angela Merkel and Barack Obama enjoyed an intimate dinner date following the US president’s famous speech at the Brandenburg Gate.
- Hotel Adlon has been part of the European luxury hotel chain Kempinski since 1997. From Berthold Kempinski’s humble roots as a Berlin-based wine merchant back in 1897, the Kempinski brand has come a long way and the group currently operates more than 80 five-star hotels and residences in more than 30 countries. With heritage hotels, luxury holiday resorts, business and spa hotels around the world, every Kempinski hotel is unique, designed for guests who value five-star holidays and luxury getaways. Kempinski is also a founding member of the Global Hotel Alliance (GHA) which was founded in Geneva in 2004. Members of GHA’s Discovery loyalty program receive recognition and rewards across more than 570 hotels, resorts, palaces and spas in 35 brands of hotels across 85 countries.
CONS & THINGS TO KNOW
- Hotel Adlon Kempinksi Berlin is a fairly new hotel, built in the nineties, and modeled on its historic predecessor (which was destroyed in a fire). The designers choose for a classic decor, honoring the Adlon’s reputation as one of Europe’s Grand Hotels and creating an ambiance of nostalgia. However, the traditional decor won’t appeal to everyone. While the lobby and some other areas (such as the restaurants) have a slightly more modern and timeless feel, the decor of the rooms and also the wellness & fitness areas around the indoor pool feel a bit dated compared to today’s hotel standards. IMHO, a refurbishment of the rooms would be welcome in the near future, although I don’t think the hotel feels much pressure to do so, since its reputation as Berlin’s top hotel is solid (due to its location, Michelin starred dining and exceptional soft product) and since there is not much competition from other hotels in the German capital.
- Hotel Adlon Kempinski Berlin offers a wide variety of rooms of suites. While the top room & suites offer gorgeous views of the Brandenburg Gate, the entry level rooms lack views as they look out over a courtyard.
- Hotel Adlon Kempinski Berlin offers one of the most impressive breakfast spreads I’ve ever seen at a hotel (the buffet even includes caviar). But the service can be a little chaotic during times of high occupancy, which is often the case during weekends. For example, during my stay, the breakfast restaurant on the lobby’s first level closed earlier to prepare for Sunday brunch; guests who arrived a bit late were redirected to Brasserie Quarré on the ground floor, which offered a smaller yet still excellent breakfast buffet. Unfortunately, there was a long wait to be seated at Brasserie Quarré (more than 20 minutes), which was rather annoying, since the hotel should have been prepared for this situation (as I assume it often happens on Sundays). It was a mystery to me why the staff did not solve this problem by seating guests in the adjoining lobby lounge (which was completely empty as we were waiting in the breakfast line).
- Location: 9/10
- Design: 7/10
- Pool: 8/10
- Rooms: 8/10
- Food: 9/10
- Breakfast: 9/10
- Spa: 8/10
- Service: 9/10
- Value for money: 8/10
- Overall experience: very good 8/10
TIPS FOR FUTURE GUESTS & SAVE MONEY
- Save money: get complimentary VIP perks at Hotel Adlon Kempinski Berlin when booking via Virtuoso (e.g. upgrade, daily breakfast, early check-in, late check-out, and $100 USD food & beverage credit).
- Save money: read here my tips for getting the best deal at a luxury hotel like Hotel Adlon Kempinski Berlin (and/or receive many free perks).
- Room tip: as mentioned above, entry level rooms lack views as they look out over a courtyard, so make sure to book a room with a view if that is what you are looking for.
- Read my tips for preparing your trip in time.
BEST TIME TO VISIT
Berlin is best visited between April and May (spring) or September through November (autumn), right before or directly after the summertime high tourist season. You’ll contend with fewer tourists, enjoy somewhat mild temperatures (the city’s weather is notoriously finicky), and also experience Berlin as the locals do, at its laid-back best.
HOW TO GET THERE
Hotel Adlon Kempinski Berlin is the heart of Berlin’s city center. By taxi and public transport from Berlin Airport to Hotel Adlon Kempinski Berlin, the trip takes about 45 minutes and costs approximately EUR 55 by taxi and EUR 4 by public transport. The best way to reach the hotel by public transport is on the “Brandenburger Tor” stop (S-Bahn).
Below is a selection of my photos of Hotel Adlon Kempinski Berlin. To view more photos (including breakfast as well as dinner at two Michelin restaurant starred Lorenz Adlon Esszimmer), click here.