BACKGROUND Germany’s first Waldorf Astoria opened in January in the new 118-metre-tall Zoofenster tower in Berlin’s Charlottenburg district.
WHAT’S IT LIKE? This contemporary five-star property is polished and smart, though lacks personality and seemed quiet when I visited in May. The high-ceilinged lobby has comfy armchairs and marble floors, with a staircase leading up to Les Solistes by Pierre Gagnaire restaurant. Doormen are always outside to welcome guests and call taxis, and reception staff are pleasant and helpful. Guestrooms are on levels three to 15, and 22 to 31, with offices in between. Although you get a good view from the upper levels, it is not particularly pretty – I could see the Erotic Museum to one side and swathes of grey blocks beyond.
WHERE IS IT? On Hardenbergstrasse, near the western corner of the Tiergarten and close to the zoo. The area is rather grotty and nondescript, especially around the S-Bahn Zoologischer Garten station, but there is also access to the U-bahn underground network directly outside the hotel. It is 7km from Berlin Tegel airport and 23km from the still-to-open Brandenburg airport.
ROOM FACILITIES Entry-level King Junior Deluxe rooms are 42 sqm and standard features include a minibar, a Nespresso machine and a kettle with a nice selection of herbal teas, plus a safe, robes and slippers, air conditioning, a workdesk with EU sockets next to it, a 40-inch flatscreen TV with wireless computer keyboard (internet is free through the TVs, otherwise wired/wifi access costs e25 for 24 hours), free newspapers and fresh flowers.
I stayed in a well-appointed 63 sqm King Corner suite on the tenth floor with a separate living room. The décor was a palette of earth tones offset with orange velvet curtains. The luxurious marble bathroom had a walk-in shower, bath, twin sinks, Salvatore Ferragamo products and under-floor heating. The room offered views on two sides through floor-to-ceiling windows, though when I tried to draw the curtains one came off the rail and despite there also being electronic blinds, I couldn’t achieve total darkness. Room service was speedy, though my macaroni cheese (e18 plus e5 service charge) was rather rubbery.
RESTAURANTS AND BARS As well as Peacock Alley lobby lounge (a brand standard), there is Romanisches Café (named after a bohemian Berlin coffeehouse destroyed in the Second World War) for pastries and small plates, the art deco-style Lang bar for cocktails and late-night snacks, and the formal Les Solistes (now closed until August 5). I had breakfast here – the buffet was varied but somewhat depleted as it was late on a weekend morning. My toast was served as warm bread as I was told the toaster wasn’t working.
BUSINESS AND MEETING FACILITIES There are six meeting rooms on the second floor ranging from 66 sqm to 120 sqm, and a 330 sqm ballroom that divides into three and can accommodate 250 people for a reception. There is also a business centre with three Mac computers. On the sixth floor is a roof terrace with a few loungers – it would have been a great spot for an outdoor pool or bar but is generally used only for private functions of up to 200 delegates.
LEISURE FACILITIES Germany’s first Guerlain spa is on the fifth floor and has eight treatment rooms. There is also a fitness room and a pool area – I spent an enjoyable hour unwinding in the whirlpool bath, steam room and sauna. The pool isn’t really long enough for laps but it has a current to make it more difficult.
VERDICT If you are in Berlin for a couple of days, this is a smart new top-end business hotel that you might want to try, though it lacks character.
HOW MANY ROOMS? 232 – 23 King Junior Deluxe rooms, 52 King Deluxe, 16 Twin Deluxe, 45 King Deluxe with view and 14 Twin Deluxe with view, plus 26 King Junior suites, 12 Twin Junior, 12 King Junior with a view, six King Corner, 12 King Tower, six Twin Tower, three King Grand Tower, one King Ambassador, one Twin Ambassador, one Presidential and two Accessible.
HIGHLIGHTS The in-room Nespresso machine in my spacious corner suite, and the peaceful spa.
The hotel also comes equipped with:
- 24hr room service
- Two bars
- Six meeting rooms
PRICE Internet rates for a flexible midweek stay in September started from E280 for a King Junior Deluxe room.
CONTACT Waldorf Astoria Berlin, Hardenbergstrasse 28; tel +49 308 140 000; waldorfastoria3.hilton.com