An icon overlooking Brandenburg Gate

If any Berlin hotel offers a sense of local history, it’s Hotel Adlon Kempinski Berlin. Built in 1907 by wealthy wine merchant Lorenz Adlon, it was supported by Kaiser Wilhelm II, who insisted that no one set foot in the finished building before him. With this royal stamp of approval — and a large investment — it quickly became one of Europe's star luxury destinations: Chaplin, Einstein and Tsar Nicholas II of Russia all stayed here before it was destroyed during WWII.

Rebuilt in 1997 by the Kempinski chain, the current incarnation merges a contemporary-luxe aesthetic with references to its glamorous past. A diverse range of refined rooms and sumptuous suites are supplemented by several restaurants, a couple of bars, an opulent spa area (with heated pool) and a handful of boutiques selling fine wines and high-end porcelain.

The concierge desk happily caters to almost every whim, from a bulletproof limousine for a visiting dignitary to coloring books for a five-year-old guest.

The Location

Located on Pariser Platz, one of the city’s most prestigious and historic squares, the Adlon’s neighbors include the iconic Brandenburg Gate, the Academy of Arts (the oldest of its kind in Europe, dating back to 1696), the former home of Max Liebermann (now a museum and gallery) and several embassies. Major Berlin sights such as the Reichstag, Unter den Linden and Potsdamer Platz are all a stroll away.

Numerous public transport stops are dotted throughout the area. The neighborhood is hardly ever devoid of tourists, and the occasional grand concerts and events on the square can be boisterous.

The Design

The rooms and public areas were designed by London’s Ezra Attia Associates and Sweden’s AB Living Designs. References to the original Adlon abound, in the grand cream-colored marble lobby’s Louis XVI-style chairs and replica of the original elephant fountain, for example, but the overall vibe is classic Kempinski luxury.

The Rooms

The Berlin hotel rooms and suites are plush and classic, with an emphasis on high-quality materials (limestone floors, mahogany furnishings, silk bedspreads) and the notable absence of anything overly flamboyant. The black granite bathrooms come with bathtubs even in the standard accommodations (generous at 377 square feet) and modern amenities like flat-screen TVs and state-of-the-art entertainment center.

Splurge for one of the suites overlooking the Pariser Platz, but then watching the sun slowly set over the Brandenburg Gate, glass of champagne in hand, is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. For longer stays, the hotel’s 40 suites are fitted with kitchenettes.

The Food

Lorenz Adlon Esszimmer is the headliner here. Overseen by accliamed chef Hendrik Otto, it serves refined and imaginative French and European cuisine (think expertly cooked sole, venison and foie gras) in a traditional, wood-paneled room with views over the Brandenburger Tor.

Slightly less formal is the surprisingly stylish Sra Bua, which serves contemporary Thai-Japanese fusion cuisine created by celebrity chef Tim Raue. Restaurant Quarré offers a regional fare and a delicious Sunday brunch.

The Spa

The luxury hotel’s all-white spa is a serene, modern space that offers some of the most high-end pampering in the city. Treatments range from underwater massages to anti-aging rituals and you can also arrange professional yoga sessions or a trim at the in-house hair salon.

There are also saunas and steam baths; the heated pool and whirlpool area has its own health-conscious dining menu.

DETAILS - Insider Information About This Hotel

DETAILS - Insider Information About This Hotel