Tried & Tested

Hotel check: Das Stue

17 Jun 2015 by Jenny Southan

BACKGROUND

Built just before the Second World War as the Danish Embassy, the neoclassical building Das Stue now occupies previously had three floors (now it has five). However, the top two were badly damaged as a result of bombing.

After the war it was used as a military garrison and then, in 1978, it was sold with the intention of turning it into apartments. It didn’t happen, though, and Deutsche Telecom moved in. By the noughties, it again stood empty.

Development later started on turning the listed building into a high-end hotel with another two floors added, along with a new extension. The independent luxury boutique property, which is a member of the Design Hotels group, finally opened in 2012.

WHAT’S IT LIKE?

Das Stue means “living room” in Danish, and this five-star hotel has gone out of its way to make you feel at home. Stepping through the grand double doors into the pale Travertine marble entrance hall, you find yourself walking along thick carpet under a constellation of free-hanging LEDS, to reception at the end.

At either side are broad staircases and, between the two, is a bronze crocodile head by French artist Quentin Garel. Animals, in fact, appear throughout the public areas in the form of leather hippos, rhinos and buffalos that you can sit on (they are from English footstool-maker Omersa).

You will also come across an impressive collection of black and white vintage fashion photography, along with well-placed mirrors that make interiors seem bigger. While much of the décor is neutral, it is enlivened here and there with a palette of burnt orange, moss green, mustard yellow and sea blue in the form of textiles, well placed fixtures and one-off pieces of furniture.

WHERE IS IT?

In the peaceful diplomatic district, right next to the zoo on the south side of the Tiergarten. It’s a 20-minute drive to Berlin Tegel and 30 minutes to Schoenefeld airport.

ROOM FACILITIES

Bedrooms start from 27 sqm for entry-level Stue rooms, and from 45 sqm for the entry-level Junior suites.

The largest is the 110 sqm Bel Etage suite. The 80 sqm Penthouse suite is the newest, having opened in February – this comes with a 30 sqm terrace, and both top suites include free breakfast and minibar. In total, 13 rooms have balconies.

All guests benefit from free wifi, king-size beds, air conditioning, rainshowers, workdesks with Apple computers/entertainment systems, electronic safes, wardrobes, Nespresso machines and creatively stocked minibars.

Tall windows can be opened and let in plenty of daylight, with most facing the zoo (look out for the ostriches) or the Tiergarten. Most higher category rooms also have bathtubs, while suites also have comfortable lounge areas.

Being a member of Design Hotels, the décor is luxurious and tasteful, with each room having a slightly different mood or look but unified by a general aesthetic.

Hardwood floors, earth-coloured walls and pristine bathrooms featuring white Corian surfaces (a smooth material created by combining epoxy resin and marble dust), are offset with Scandi chairs, bright throws, plush rugs and velvet cushions. The effect is chic yet homely.  

The only minor problem I had was discovering some of the built-in cupboards in the bathroom that were so discreet they were hard to notice were even there. Overall, though, I loved my Tiergarten-facing room at the back, and slept well in the sumptuous bed.

RESTAURANTS AND BARS

On my arrival one Friday night, I found the bar to be filled with well-heeled theatre-goers who were dressed in black tie and were knocking back sophisticated cocktail, while listening to a live jazz band. The atmosphere was great, especially with the silent movie being projected on to the back wall.

Every morning a delicious buffet breakfast is laid out in Casual by Paco Perez on the ground floor, with fresh bread, pastries, smoked salmon, fruit, cold cuts, cheese, bircher muesli and yoghurt. There is also an a la carte menu for eggs cooked to order and Das Stue specials such as fried eggs, guacamole, bacon and coriander.

In the evening, I had a memorable Michelin-starred dinner at Cinco by Paco Perez, which involved a highly creative molecular gastronomy “Experience” menu spanning 16 courses with wine pairings.

Portions were tiny and incredibly artistic, with ingredients served in surprising combinations, forms, textures and temperatures. (Have you ever had cheese ice cream?)

Sitting at the long wooden dining table facing the open kitchen, beneath a cluster of shimmering copper pots and pans hanging from the ceiling, proved a suitably theatrical set.

Perez also dishes up moreish lunches of Spanish-inspired tapas, salads, burgers and sharing plates.

BUSINESS AND MEETING FACILITIES

The elegant, 65 sqm Bel Etage Salon can host up to 30 people indoors and another 20 on the al fresco terrace. It features parquet flooring, comfy sofas, a board table and original 1940s lights.

On each of the three floors in the historical part of the hotel there is a 64 sqm, light-filled landing at the top of a broad staircase – these spaces have been turned into inviting library lounges with B&B Italia furniture and art books. You can have meetings of up to 30 people in each, or sit quietly and get on with some work.

There is also a private dining salon for up to 24 people, along with the option of booking out the restaurants (up to 60 diners combined) or the bar and the 130 sqm outdoor patio.

LEISURE FACILITIES

Just off the entrance hall, to the right, guests can access the 260 sqm spa with three treatment rooms where a wide range of natural anti-aging and beauty treatments can be booked, as well as body rituals, hair removal, make-up sessions, pedicures, manicures and massages.

There’s also a 24-hour fitness room with Technogym and Kinesis machines and a 14-metre-long, turquoise indoor pool open 6am to 10pm.

Personal trainers can be arranged, along with personal yoga and aqua yoga classes.

Joggers can head straight into the Tiergarten – the hotel also has bikes for hire.

VERDICT

This is my kind of hotel – classy and characterful with well-designed interiors, thoughtful amenities, great food and top-notch service. Having a pool was bonus. I really enjoyed my stay and would recommend it to any business traveller happy to stay outside of a chain.

FACT FILE

  • HOW MANY ROOMS? 78 across seven categories (Stue and Embassy rooms, Junior suites, Suites, Stue suites, Bel Etage and Penthouse suites)
  • HIGHLIGHTS The trendy interior design, views into the zoo, trendy bedrooms with Apple technology and stunning Michelin-starred restaurant Cinco by Paco Perez.
  • PRICE Internet rates for a Stue room started from €240 in July.
  • CONTACT Das Stue, Drakestrasse 1, Berlin; tel +49 303 117 220, das-stue.com, designhotels.com

Jenny Southan

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