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Germany just became a little more appealing to Marriott Rewards members, as the brand announced yesterday it will be adding Berlin's Hotel Am Steinplatz to the Autograph Collection later this summer. That's even more reason to get excited about Berlin right now (aside from the fact that it's a kick-ass city), as Waldorf-Astoria just popped up there in January.
The Hotel Am Steinplatz building originally opened in 1907 with a design by August Endell (also responsible for Berlin's Hackesche Hoefe), though it didn't become a hotel until 1913. Which makes 2013 its one hundredth hotel-iversary. Herzlichen Glückwunsch!
To mark the occasion, Marriott's spruced the place up with an "extensive renovation," and the result is an 87-room property with 3 luxury suites, a restaurant, and a spa.
Knowing what we know about Autograph Collection (and having stayed at one in Budapest), we fully trust that the brand's German debut will be a stunner. The hotel is described as having once been "an exclusive meeting point for artists, writers, philosophers and even aristocratcy." Well. We'd expect nothing less.
There’s been so much activity on the hotel app front this past year that we named it the Must-Have Hotel Amenity in our HotelChatter 2012 Awards. From booking stays and checking in, to ordering room service and finding things to do and see at your destination, it’s all a click away. There is of course the front desk or traditional concierge you can prod for more personal recommendations, but what to do when you are looking to get the true insider track on the city you’re visiting based on your own interests?
Enter the concept created by Plus One Berlin, which allows you to book time with one of over 30 locals and be their “plus one” when getting to know the city. Here’s how it all works.
When we took an early look at the Waldorf Astoria Amsterdam last week, we promised we’d follow up with more details on its sister hotel in Berlin, which is now officially open. Set within the brilliantly named Zoofenster skyscraper in West Berlin, the Waldorf Astoria Berlin first popped up on our radar four years ago this month.
We won’t spend much time dwelling on their missed 2011 opening and move right on to what you can expect at the 232-room hotel.
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No doubt many of you are traipsing around the world this holiday season, visiting friends and family. But unforch, the downside of jetsetting is the inevitable jetlag setting in. We’ve read and written about nearly every cure out there and damn near tried them all. Many are bunk, but these hotels’ jet-lag packages, spa treatments, amenities have actually worked on us, so we’re passing the info along so you can recover more quickly.
London: The Flotation Bed therapies (75 minutes/$185) at the InterContinental London Park Lane’s spa have been a godsend after a transatlantic flight that’s too long to consider a hop, but too short to get Ambien-ed out. Businessmen swear by the day spa’s quick and efficient capsule-like bed where you’re wrapped in a foil blanket.
The dry, weightless flotation device almost immediately eases the strain of being cooped on an airplane seat for hours. There’s a variety additions for the floats a less intense 45-minute Exotic Frangipani and Coconut Milk therapy, but for hardcore refreshing the Musclease Aromas Spa Ocean Float involves a scented pressure point facial massage and scalp treatment, which relaxes the tensest of muscles. We were knocked out in minutes and awoke feeling as if we could bike around Hyde Park, just outside the hotel, without breaking a sweat. And we did.
There's travel talk everywhere about how expensive it'll be to fly and drive this summer, so there has to be some savings somewhere, yes? The most obvious place will be in hotel rates, and so our gift to you this week will be one hotel a day that comes in under $100 a night. Now, we're not saying every place will be of Ritz quality, because then it would be...well, the bloody Ritz. But the places will be nice enough for you to sleep at night.
Our Pick: Hotel Pension-Funk, Berlin
No, this isn't the first time HotelChatter has taken a look at Berlin's art-tastic Propeller Island City Lodge, a collection of 34 rooms individually designed and crafted by German artist Lars Stroschen. But to end the week on a more positive note, we thought we'd re-visit one of our favorite odd hotels.
The themes at PICL, which range from "Prison Cell" and "Grandma's Room" to "The Upside Down Room" (above) and "Coffin Room," mostly draw on places where you'd never, ever want to sleep, but then again we've stayed at far more sensible (read: boring) hotels that charge way more per night.
Interestingly, rates here vary among the different rooms, so a night inside the Prison Cell will only set you back 79 EUR, while a night in the "Two Lions" suite, which, yes, comes with a cage, goes for 190 EUR. We browsed through the hotel's collection of photos and have picked out the ones that appeal most to us. And just for kicks, we put them into a gallery for you to look at.
Click below to take a peek at the odd, odder, and oddest rooms!
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We're not sure whether to be jealous or just plain creeped out—we're a little of both, actually—but we have to give credit to artist Anja Niemi, who really brushed up on her hotel knowledge for a new exhibition, titled Do Not Disturb. In each of the photographs, Niemi takes on a different female character who essentially becomes a 'part' of the hotel room. See if you can spot her in the above shot, "Room 833." Creepy, right?
But rather than settling for just any old hotel, Niemi instead researched for months to find exactly the right room for each shot. Jealous much? Seriously, artists really live the life sometimes. For this project, Niemi traveled to hotels in New York, Vienna, Berlin and Oslo; and when she arrived, all she had to do was play dress-up and pose for the camera. The desire to change career paths completely and become a photographer's assistant has never been stronger.
Read on to find out where you can check out the entire collection!
He looks like one of those fake diver dolls you drop in your home aquarium! Except this diver is doing some hard work--scrubbing clean the aquarium which houses tropical fish. Meanwhile, guests who want to go inside the aquarium will have to settle for riding up the elevator through the middle of the cylinder.
The aquarium is run by SeaLife Berlin next door which operates the elevator ride as well but hotel guests can get a special discount on admission--adult tickets are 11,50€ compared with 16,95€. Room rates at the Radisson, which come with free WiFi, start at 225€ a night.
[Photo: CorinnaWitt/HotelChatter Flickr Pool]
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With the Waldorf Astoria’s London Syon Park hotel all set to open next month, the group have announced a further two new hotels, one in Berlin and one in Panama. Both hotels are due to open late 2011, although no confirmed dates have been set.
The Waldorf Astoria Berlin (above) will be located in the centre the affluent City West neighbourhood. The hotel will be the group’s first in Germany and is housed in the highest building in the west side city.
The website is claiming the 232 rooms and suites:
will set new standards in luxury by combining the pioneering heritage of the legendary flagship Waldorf=Astoria New York with a unique design inspired by Berlin’s vibrant personality.
But we’ll have to wait and see as there are no room photos yet.
Every so often we feature a hotel review from our readers that we feel should be shared with the rest of you dear hotel guests. These reviews are highlighted because they are timely, about cool hotels in cool places and are relatively level-headed. Think you can submit one just like this? Send it in.
Arrival & Check-in
Quick and efficient. The doorman has your suitcase inside before you finish paying the taxi (which is about 20 minutes and 20 euros from Tegel airport). The lady checking me in escorted me to the elevator to show me how to operate the keycard that is required to go up.
Only disappointment I had upon entering the room was two single beds - as a single business traveler two beds are pretty pointless. No luck in getting that changed though, not a king bed free in the house.
While we're not quite sure what is going on with that ironing board in New Orleans, over in Germany, The Marriott Berlin hotel wants you to know that their housekeeping is doing a thorough job of cleaning--even under the bed. Another kind HotelChatter reader writes in:
When I got into my room on Monday and started to settle in, I saw something peeking out from under the bed. First reaction is of course: oh great, I wonder how long that has been there. When I looked closer I thought, hang on a minute - when I pulled it out much to my delight it's the note from housekeeping in the picture saying: "Yes, it's true, we look here too!". On the back are individually signed lines by each member of staff when they clean the room. How great is that? I hadn't seen it anywhere before, thought it was a neat thing to do.
This is a "neat" thing to do so now we can sleep comfortably knowing that there are no monsters or other scary things under the bed. We only wish they could do something about that WiFi situation. For more on the Marriott Berlin, read the HotelChatter review here.
Got a hotel snapshot you think we should see? Don't be shy, send it to us!!
The Germans may only have won third place at the World Cup, but they take first in our book when it comes to the funkiest new design hotels. Andspeak of the devilthe Design Hotels chain has just opened up a new property right in Berlin-Mitte, a walk away from the very hip Hackescher Markt area.
Called the Weinmeister Berlin-Mitte, the new property (which debuted on July 6) calls its aesthetic "Brutal Living/Luxury Punk," and yet all 88 rooms look pretty cozy from the photographs we've seen.
Perhaps the "brutal" refers to the main facade of the building, which is a flat, gold modernistic one. The Weinmeister hopes it'll be called the "golden cage" as a result, but we think the locals will think of far better nicknames than that.