Tried & Tested

Hotel check: Park Plaza Wallstreet

25 Apr 2007 by business traveller

WHAT'S IT LIKE? Following in the footsteps of the popular Art'otel Mitte, Park Plaza's latest Berlin offering is a designer hotel with a twist. The building's exterior, which dates back to 1904, is a welcome relief from the concrete brutalism of the eastern sector. Inside, however, the emphasis is on contemporary minimalism, enhanced by an unobtrusive New York Stock Exchange theme (inspired by the hotel's location on Wallstrasse) – look out for the gold and silver leather chairs in the lobby bar and the ticker-tape carpet in the corridors. Most rooms face on to a wide and peaceful central courtyard.

WHERE IS IT? Between the Australian and Chinese embassies in a quiet street in the south-east corner of Mitte, one block back from the river and on the edge of trendy Kreuzberg and Friedrichshain.

HOW MANY ROOMS? 167, comprising 117 superior rooms, 42 executive rooms and eight suites. Three rooms are adapted for disabled use.

ROOM FACILITIES The financial theme is continued in the rooms, with dollar-bill carpets on the floor and capitalist quotations above the comfortable beds. The rest of the décor, however, is simple and soothing: minimalist flower displays compliment white walls and subtle lighting, while huge windows with muslin curtains give an airy feel. All rooms are equipped with air conditioning, iron and ironing board, laptop safe, minibar, and tea and coffee-making facilities. Executive rooms and suites all face the courtyard and have separate shower and bath, and dressing gowns and slippers are provided. As well as broadband wifi (e10 for one hour, e17 for 24 hours), internet access is available via flat-screen TVs, which also offer a selection of music albums – from Maria Callas to Queen – at e1.50 a time (although the inability to skip or repeat tracks can be irritating).

RESTAURANTS AND BARS To the right of the lobby is the Rule 405 bar (named after the US guideline on suitability of investments), a welcoming space where light snacks and an array of well-executed cocktails are served until at least 1am. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are available in the 23 Wallstreet restaurant (0630-2300).

MEETING AND BUSINESS FACILITIES Three meeting rooms (Dax, Nikkei and Nasdaq), all with natural light, are located on the ground floor, along with a 50-seater cinema and a tiny business centre. On top of the roof at the back of the hotel, reached by a separate lift, is a boardroom seating 20, with huge windows down two sides and views over the Berlin rooftops.

LEISURE FACILITIES A small gym and sauna are located in the basement, which is also home to one of the hotel's most intriguing features. Built into the floor behind one of the weights machines is a vast safe, which hasn't been opened since before the Second World War. Appeals for the key or for anyone who can pick the lock have so far been unsuccessful, and it can't be blown open because of fire regulations, so its contents remain a mystery.

VERDICT A very well thought out addition to the Berlin hotel market, and an ideal choice for smaller meetings. The Wall Street theme adds a touch of fun but isn't overdone, and the interiors are relaxing and practical.

PRICES Internet rates for a midweek stay in a superior room in mid-May started at E139, room only.

CONTACT Park Plaza Wallstreet, Wallstrasse 23-24, Berlin D-10179, tel +49 30 847 117, parkplaza.com.

Lucy Fitzgeorge-Parker

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