Hotel de Rome, Berlin, Germany ****

Q: What is it? A: A Berlin hotel that works like a Swiss watch, located in a former bank.

It still looks quite like a bank. Also, it feels a little like a bank. OK, then… It’s a pretty nice bank.

It still looks quite like a bank. Also, it feels a little like a bank. OK, then… It’s a pretty nice bank.

If the police would ask me: ”Have you ever been in that room?”, I wouldn’t know what to say. In fact, I have severe problems remembering ever having stayed there…

If the police would ask me: ”Have you ever been in that room?”, I wouldn’t know what to say. In fact, I have severe problems remembering ever having stayed there…

Spacious bathroom with shower and bathtub? Yes. Exciting bathroom? No.

Spacious bathroom with shower and bathtub? Yes. Exciting bathroom? No.

Design-attempt: Huge red designed pots makes the lobby look a little less bank-ish.

Design-attempt: Huge red designed pots makes the lobby look a little less bank-ish.

Sehr kompetent? Jawohl.
In fact it looks very much like a bank. Who’s that? Is that security? No, it’s a friendly doorman approaching to assist with the bags. Up the stairs and into the lobby and it feels even more financial-ish. Even the efficient staff at front desk contribute to that bank image. But I’m not here to make a monetary transaction. I’m checking in at Hotel de Rome on Bebelplatz, just off Unter den Linden. A little googling gives a not very surprising result: The building, constructed in 1889 by architect Ludwig Heim, housed the head office of Dresdner Bank until 1945. Ka-ching! That’s why it looks like a bank.

If you want things to work, stay here.
Because things do work. Members of staff are polite and efficient. The breakfast is as close to massive you can get without breaking the scale. However, the hotel website gives you the expected corporate caca. How about: “This is one of the few luxury hotels in Berlin located in an original building making use of its full architectural splendour and thereby offering guests an authentic Berlin experience.” The same website even tries to give some extra oomph to the work of designer Tommaso Ziffer, who along with architects Aukett + Heese reworked the interior. They call it a “contemporary twist”. I find it about as boring as a radio station playing the AC format. That’s Adult Contemporary for you, (in other words; if Phil Collins would stay in a Berlin hotel, this would be his choice). See the four red glazed pots in the picture above? That’s the contemporary twist. Don’t go here to be blown away by design. Go here if you want a place that does not look overly exciting, but where everything works with the precision of a watch from Lange & Söhne.

It’s not exactly a boutique hotel.
With its 146 bedrooms, it’s a tad too large to fall into the boutique category. Of these rooms, 43 are labeled Junior suites or better. And there’s no doubt which slice of the market Hotel de Rome is aiming for. This has its advantages, even for us who are not board members of the Siemens Aktiengesellschaft. Since the members of the targeted clientele are used to get everything they point at – fast, then the service must be adapted to their needs. And it really is. A special honorable mention goes to the concierge Katja Hoffmann. Not only is she a nice and charming woman but also, (apparently), super well-connected. She manages to squeeze me into one of Berlin’s better restaurants as I’m waiting, and jawohl, she does it with a smile.

I may not belong to the core target group for this hotel.
In fact, I may never be pinstripe three-piece enough to feel 100% at home at Hotel de Rome, but I’ll be back. First of all, it’s a very good hotel. Second, I find it almost impossible to write a proper review without some thorough testing of their roof-top bar. Also, the original vault of the bank has become a 20-meter swimming pool. I promise to write that updated review while my hair is still wet.

Hotel De Rome
Behrenstrasse 37
10117 Berlin
Germany
+49 30 460 60 90

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