Kaiser Wilhelm II, the last German emperor, was so enthralled with the Hotel Adlon Kempinski he demanded that he be the first to set foot inside, and he treated it as one of his palaces. The hotel, situated steps from the Brandenburg Gate at the geographical heart of Berlin, owes its name to Lorenz Adlon, creator of the hotel, which opened in 1907. Adlon’s vision was to build the most opulent hotel in the world. It impressed the kaiser, and now, having recently celebrated its 100th birthday, it continues to impress all who enter it.
In the past, this landmark was the centre of Berlin social life. Grand orchestras regularly filled the Adlon’s public rooms with music while elaborate restaurants satisfied the most demanding palates. The ambience was lavish and the guests well-heeled. Legend has it that Marlene Dietrich was discovered in the Adlon’s lobby.
And then, like the city it was emblematic of, the glory faded.
The Adlon survived the Second World War largely intact, but much of the hotel was destroyed by fire in the spring of 1945. Only one wing remained of the original structure, which is located just inside the boundaries of what became East Berlin. But just like the city, the Adlon has made a remarkable recovery. After the Berlin Wall came down, the Adlon family and Kempinski Hotels & Resorts plotted its resurrection, and on August 23, 1997, the grand hotel finally reopened. (This reincarnation of the Adlon came with a €415-million price tag.)
The seven-storey hotel is one of the key symbols of Germany’s reunification. The property reflects the classic style of its predecessor but with today’s five-star standards. Enter a spacious lobby through the Adlon’s front door and you are overwhelmed by the elegance. The centrepiece of the hotel is the winter garden, a leafy oasis in an atrium full of potted palms, a trickling fountain and plush armchairs. The lobby bar with its coffered ceiling and art-deco overtones is a high-octane spot where international deals are brokered. The Quarré restaurant occupies a prime corner overlooking the Brandenburg Gate, but the Adlon’s most celebrated eatery is Lorenz Adlon, an intimate, Michelin-starred retreat where chef Thomas Neeser creates culinary delicacies.
Attention to detail is a hallmark of the guest rooms and suites; oversized accommodations, and exquisite designs, materials and colours imbue every room and suite with unique and personal charm. The distinguished interiors strike the right balance, and the service leaves nothing to be desired.
The Adlon’s guests have included Albert Einstein, Teddy Roosevelt and Charlie Chaplin. Current stars enjoy this hotel, too, including Michael Jackson, who dangled his baby over a balcony here, to the shock of the paparazzi below.
At the Adlon, guests can experience luxury living at its best in an atmosphere that is inspired by an illustrious past and a dynamic modernity in the heart of Berlin.