10785 Travel Guide
The dream of every prestigious hotel is to create a unique environment, one that will bring locals in off the street as much as it will entice its guests to stay put. During a recent trip to Germany, we stumbled upon a brand-new bar (no pun intended) at the Ritz Carlton Berlin that might just be the most out of the box concept we've seen at a hotel in a long, long time.
Called Fragrances, the bar's premise combines perfume with cocktail creation, encouraging patrons to use their sense of smell to pick their drink. The visual menu is set up right inside the entrance to the lounge-like bar, a lineup of perfume bottles displayed alongside the ingredients used to make the drink. Above, a photo of the cocktail's presentation hangs.
When selecting a drink, you smell the perfume carefully because the drink will 1) also smell like that perfume and 2) reflect that smell in its taste. The concept was designed and implemented by mixologist slash perfume expert Henning Heissen, who through a number of trials, was able to find the combination of ingredients that replicated the smell of the perfumes. Each drink is served in a unique way, from glasses in buckets and birdhouses to those that resemble baby bottles.
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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.
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German police responding to an unrelated 1995 Berlin heist, as seen in "Masterminds: The Berlin Heist".
If they can wake up without a post-Oscars hangover this morning, Hollywood screenwriters could find the next big action caper writing itself with a little help from the headlines. A group of armed and masked bandits made off with a million-euro haul on Saturday after storming a poker tournament taking place at the Berlin Grand Hyatt in the middle of the day. German police said today that while the theft was captured on video, they still have no firm leads on the crooks.
The downtown hotel was home to a lineup of stars during the recent Berlin Film Festival, but the panic was real this weekend when the robbers toting machetes and guns forced hotel staff to hand over bags stuffed with cash. At least seven people were injured while trying to escape, according to reports.
Despite the attack—and the loss of part of the prize money—the five-day tournament organized by the European Poker Tour resumed again on Sunday.
[Photo: Crime and Investigation Network ]
A freak-out moment: we actually remember the fall of the Berlin Wall and now there are hotel packages celebrating the 20th anniversary of that momentous day. Ignoring the we-feel-old thing, we our focusing our thoughts instead on this package, put together by the Ritz Carlton Berlin.
Their "Remember the Wall" package is being offered from now until the end of the year and has a bunch of cool inclusives for $417 per double. You get Berlin Wall Museum tickets, a Goodbye Lenin DVD (great movie!), Gorbachev cocktails on arrival and even DDR Rottkaeppchen sparkling wine. You also get a "genuine" piece of the Berlin Wall, but we are a touch skeptical about that--if all the tourists in the world put their souvenir pieces of the Wall back together, we suspect there'd be enough for two or three walls.
Berlin is a great city and the Ritz Carlton there not only has comfy beds but also a truly central location on Potsdamer Platz. A Fall of the Wall anniversary year sure sounds like a good excuse for a quick trip there.
While it seems kinda odd to fly half-way around the world to work out how to sleep better, Mo recently tried out the weekend sleep clinic package that's supposed to teach you how to sleep more soundly (although we reckon we're pretty good at that already). According to Mo, the package includes several days of being "steamed, sloughed, kneaded, and glazed", and apparently his sleep profile meant he had to wear a "brain light" at night.
It is probably pretty easy to sleep well when you're being totally pampered; how that translates into a better sleep pattern once you get home isn't clear, but perhaps it involves a lot of return trips to the Ritz-Carlton's sleep clinic--could be just a case of very clever marketing.
[Photo: This Year's Love]
· Check Out My Commie Hot Rod [News Bloggers]
· On the Eighth Day God Created the Ritz-Carlton Bed [HotelChatter]
· Berlin Hotel Reviews [HotelChatter]
We seem to be having an international day here so we are going to continue on over to Germany. If you're staying at the Ritz-Carlton in Berlin and enjoying the excellent restaurant, spa, pool and lounge facilities, it might be almost irrelevant that you could also go outside and be within short walking distance of half of what's worth seeing in Berlin, like the Reichstag, the Sony Center and Potsdamer Platz.
And if you're thinking of spending the Christmas or New Year season there, it's all food, wine and merriment right within the hotel walls.
The hotel has two packages going on right now. The first is "Winter Magic" which is $250 per couple per night and includes accommodation in a superior double plus buffet breakfast, more than enough to warm you up if you decide to brave the outdoor winter chill. This deal is good through Jan. 7.
Or you might prefer the "Grand Night at the Ritz-Carlton" package which is a little pricier at $800 per person, and valid from December 30 to January 1. For your "Grand Night" you actually get two nights' accommodation, a ticket to the Grand Ball for New Year's Eve, constant rounds of champagne, a four-course dinner, a late-night buffet on NYE and breakfast each day. Or you can opt to have the hotel brunch instead if you're having trouble getting the eyes open after the NYE Ball.
· On the Eighth Day God Created the Ritz Carlton Bed [HotelChatter]
· Ritz Carlton Berlin reviews [TripAdvisor]
[Ed. Note: This is the Bad Rate in our Good Rate/Bad Rate feature. This screenshot was taken on Sept. 11, 2006 for the days of Sept. 22 and 23. As always, rates are subject to change. Enjoy.]
Instead of a good rate Pop Art package at the Art'otel in Berlin, how about staying in a place that just looks like it's stuck in the 1980's? If you want dated decor and an inconvenient location, take a local bus to the Grand Hotel Esplanade in Berlin.
One of Mark Twain's letters he wrote while traveling in Europe goes on a rant about how most places with the word "grand" in their name are anything but, except when it comes to the bill. We think he would snort in appreciation at the $340 euro ($425) 2-night weekend tab at the Grand Hotel Esplanade, not including breakfast. (If you do want breakfast, that would be an extra $50 per day for a couple.)
Berlin is known for its hip, minimalist hotels, for rooms where you don't really have to fear about bumping into anything in the middle of the night since there's hardly any furniture. The Esplanade gets the second part right: there are no true double beds, only twins pushed together, covered by two separate duvets.
They seemed to have missed the target on the minimalist decorating though. Shooting for retro, they just end up looking tired, if these reviews are any indication:
· "The wellness area looks a bit like a 1980s YMCA"
· "The decoration is somewhat dated"
·"It's like a mix between 80's Wall Street and Miami Vice"
· "Breakfast is served in the "orangery" which is a room decorated with tens of orange plastic trees"
If you want to pay a lot and get a little (in decor that is), there are more contemporary options in hip Berlin.
· Berlin Grand Esplanade reviews [TripAdvisor]
· Good Rate :: Art'otel Berlin City Center West [HotelChatter]
We always pay close attention when we get hotel tips from folks in the UK. Maybe it is because we read their tips with an accent, so they just sound smarter.
In any event, this Brit's review of the Ritz Carlton Berlin started with high praise for the bedding, then broke into an all out hotel recommendation:
Simply phenomenal. Don't let the overt opulence of marble chandeliers and some of the worst paintings in the history of art deter you! Time Out was not inaccurate when they described RC Berlin as 'Versailles meets Vegas.' My wife and I were lucky enough to spend a week here being gloriously pampered in the Club Lounge on the 10th floor. We had the holiday of a lifetime. Ritz Carlton is the epitome of customer service.
The hotel is alive and has a buzz to it that reflects the whole shock of the new that symbolises the reclaimed no man's land of Potzdamer Platz.
Sure the Ritz is gonna cost you, but if you are looking for a stay that would make Liberace proud, sounds like this is your place.
· Ritz Carlton Berlin Reviews [TripAdvisor]