Q: What is it? A: A palace-like place that got its final design touches by a white-haired gentleman. Way friendlier on the inside than on the outside.
This is not a hotel. This is a Schloss!
It’s not exactly common for me to go ooh! and aah! over a place that look a Schloss. And ‘Schloss’ is of course German for castle. While not being the quintessential castle with towers and pinnacles and gargoyles and ornamental turrets, it sure as heck is a XL-sized mansion built for a certain Herr Walther von Pannwitz, personal advisor to the Kaiser Wilhelm. To expect anything else than the appropriate amounts of gold-leaf, thick carpets and glass chandeliers would be wrong. This is, after all, Germany, where such things always seem to be in high demand. After serving as a casino for British officers after the 2nd world war, the building was in decay until the late 80s when five Berlin families bought it. Their idea: To turn the property into a hotel. And they decided to bring in someone with star quality to give their Schloss a complete overhaul.
If you see a white-haired man with sunglasses…
…then it’s probably the man behind the Schlosshotel’s new look: German fashion guru-person Karl Lagerfeld. His presence is mostly felt on the majestic ground floor where styles are gently crashing into each other. Heavy wooden panels meet Arne Jacobsen lamps. “Hunting mansion meets Bordello” as a magazine once described it. Cosy? You bet! On the ground floor you will also be subject to the hotel’s check-in routine: “Please, take a moment to review this form. All correct? Good. Now, please follow me!” You’re then gently encouraged to take a seat in the English styled bar and offered a glass of Champagne. That’s it. No credit card routines. No fuss. When you’ve finished your glass, your luggage is waiting in your room.
Rooms are on the smaller side, if you’re not staying in Karl’s suite.
When in town, Karl Lagerfeld uses one of the suites as his own but it’s open for bookings if he’s not around. With 250 square meters it’s also supposed to be the largest hotel room in Berlin. My room was slightly smaller and in fact, most of the 54 rooms are nice and cosy. Unlike many other Berlin hotels, WiFi and minibar are complimentary. And as you are staying some 15 minutes from the city of Berlin, the need for fine dining is met in-house. The Vivaldi restaurant certainly is ambitious, although making it a little complex at times. Plus: the breakfast in the Le Jardin is in the very top division. Sashimi, a gargantuan fruit plate, swift service, an excellent choice of bread and cheese… The management at the Schlosshotel know what makes a traveller happy. The question may not be if you should go to Berlin but if you should book a weekend at the Schlosshotel im Grunewald (as it’s not really in Berlin). One of the very best. Sehr gut. Ausgezeichnet. Fabelhalt.
The Schlosshotel im Grunewald
D 14193 Berlin