Europe, Hotel Reviews
January 31st 2009
Despite my brief stay, one night only, I managed to engage in a dramatic love affair with Berlin’s Hotel de Rome. Perhaps it is because it is one of the few luxury hotels in Berlin that’s housed in an original building. As the former head office of the Dresder bank, original building’s classic and ornate design are still visible however, designer Tommaso Ziffer has given it a more contemporary twist. And, similar to other hotels in Sir Rocco Forte’s collection (see review on Hotel Amigo in Brussels), the interiors of Hotel de Rome were overseen by his talented sister, Olga Polizzi.
Located on Bebelplatz, off Unter den Linden near the museum island and within walking distance to the Brandenburg Gate, the Hotel de Rome is well situated for tourist visits. The hotel’s best coup though is its magnificent rooftop terrace which overlooks Bebelplatz and virtually the whole city.
What struck me most about the hotel was it’s masterful blend of the austere proportions with the dramatic colors, elegant details and soothing fabrics used in each of the public room’s furnishings. Corner banquettes dressed in velvet, impressive floral displays and daily offerings like high tea and apertifs in the sleek bar keep the hotel filled with local patrons and guests feeling swathed in definitive glamor.
Known for catering to business clients, the hotel offers just the sought-after serene backdrop for any professional meeting, while the restaurant is both refined and reliably outstanding with mediterrean style fare and a knowledgeable (and friendly) sommelier. Do yourself a favor and have a romantic or expense account (if those still exist) dinner at Parioli Restaurant. Begin with the champagne, indulge in the measured black truffle topping and do not skip desert. We were delighted to have the actor, Michael Douglas dining at the table next to us, elevating the restaurant’s stature instantly.
In the warmer months, the outdoor terrace makes for a pleasant and tranquil spot for an al-fresco lunch or breakfast. The breakfast buffet at the Hotel de Rome was quite memorable with multiple fresh-squeezed juices, fluffy eggs with mozarella and sun dried tomatoes and virtually every type of bread product you might fancy. I would go back for breakfast alone, particularly because the service was wonderfully attentive. My cappuccino was never empty for long. Now, onto the guestrooms…
Hotel de Rome has 146 large bedrooms (61 Classic rooms, 27 Deluxe rooms, 15 Superior Deluxe rooms, 30 Junior suites, five Classic suites, three Executive suites, two historical Deluxe suites, two Historic suites and the uber-hitter, 105m2 Bebel suite). The majority of the rooms have high ceilings and classical proportions like this one pictured above. I am particularly fond of the wood paneling and the dark stained floors featured above in a Superior Deluxe room however, we were in a Deluxe room which, while still comfortable and spacious, was farm more sleek and modern. A classic room is pictured below.
Once again, Rocco Forte hotels have pleased me with their bathrooms and especially, the heated bathroom floors. Winter in Norther Europe can be cruel (very cruel) and little luxuries like heated bathroom floors can make a world of difference.
Another huge plus to the Hotel de Rome is its basement setup for fitness and wellness. The generously sized gym features top quality machines and plenty of space for multiple guests at a time (a rarity here in Europe). The spa and health center area includes an indoor pool, Finnish sauna and an aromatherapy steam room.
My husband and I opted for a couple’s massage at the spa and were both pleased with our treatments and the spa experience (check in, locker-rooms, professionalism) In all honesty, mine was a bit light (odd coming from a German) however, my current condition (pregnancy) may have been the reason for the therapist’s hesitancy.
Overall, I was very pleased with my stay at the Hotel de Rome and have no compunction recommending it to future visitors. Before booking, please note the Hotel de Rome’s definitively contemporary, cool design and marked absence of ornate gilding. If old-world luxury is more what you’re after then I would steer you instead to the highly lauded Hotel Adlon Kempinksi, whose grandness cannot be denied. Nevertheless, for something a bit more modern and ideally suited to both those on holiday and savvy business travelers, the Hotel de Rome is my top pick.