The Berlin Scene

Some stats, shows and hot spots around town.

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WWD Berlin Preview issue 01/08/2014

THE BIG SLEEP: With a new hotel popping up on every Berlin corner, not to mention an inflationary number of vacation apartments, “Wow” is not the usual reaction to new overnight options in the German capital. However, two special new establishments are generating high buzz.

Gorki Apartments, located on a lively crossroad between Mitte and Prenzlauer Berg, features 35 individually designed apartments as well as two luxury penthouses for stays of one night to six months or more. Minimally modernist in style, the 226- to 540 square-foot apartments are outfitted with classic design pieces by the likes of Eiermann, Dixon, Hansen or Knoll mixed with vintage finds from local flea markets plus contemporary items capturing the spirit of Berlin. For an extra fashionable touch, German fashion label Odeeh designed the pillowcases; the staff’s uniforms are by Danish label Wood Wood and all in-room organic toiletries are by Dr. Bronner’s.

There’s also an anonymous side to the house. Room numbers have been replaced with fictitious names, each dwelling has its own doorbell and mailbox, and guests can register under a pseudonym, allowing them to remain “nearly undisturbed.”

Meanwhile, across town in Charlottenburg, the Art Nouveau landmark Hotel am Steinplatz has just been kissed awake after decades of abandonment. The five-star, 87-room hotel is the first German entry in the Autograph Collection of international boutique hotels. Elegantly renovated, the sage green facade with its multi-colored stucco accents and Moorish-style windows beckons as it did when the building originally opened as a luxury hotel in 1913.

The work of August Endell, the architect of Berlin’s celebrated Hackesche Höfe complex, the Hotel am Steinplatz has had a lively history. After the October Revolution, it housed many a Russian aristocrat and intellectual, and drew leading Berliners and cultural figures such as Vladimir Nabokov and Zarah Leander. A herd of goats moved into the courtyard during WWII and tomatoes were raised on the roof, while in the Fifties, the basement bar was a favorite hangout for writers Heinrich Böll and Günter Grass and film stars Bridget Bardot and Romy Schneider.

The basement bar hasn’t been revived, but the restored house has a handsome gin-centric bar featuring newly created cocktails using Berlin-produced spirits. Legendary Berlin clubman Cookie has been called in to infuse some edge, while the photo gallery C/O Berlin is another partner. The hotel restaurant is under the conceptual direction of Michelin-starred chef Stefan Hartmann, who is focusing on newly interpreted German cuisine. But perhaps the freshest re-interpretation is the hotel’s neo-Art Deco furnishings in both the public and private areas, designed under the direction of Arp Architects. The chandeliers are alone worth a visit.

Norma Quinto and M.D.

Gorki Apartments
25 Weinbergsweg, 10119 Mitte
Tel.: +49-30-4849-6480

Hotel am Steinplatz
4 Steinplatz, 10623 Charlottenburg
Tel.: + 49-30-554-4440

NEXT: German Apparel Retailers — Where the Stores are Spending >>

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