Hardly any other name in the hotel industry is as synonymous for the epitome of ultimate luxury as The Ritz-Carlton. With only two properties in Germany it is also quite an exclusive address to stay at. Apart from The Ritz-Carlton Wolfsburg, we have stayed at The Ritz-Carlton in Berlin and hope that with this review we can give a glimpse of why The Ritz-Carlton is deservedly one of the best addresses in Germany’s capital.
Location wise it probably doesn’t get much better. Situated at Potsdamer Platz, The Ritz-Carlton Berlin is found at the hub between old East-Berlin’s center and the new West-Berlin. Rich in history, it is one of the most important public squares in the middle of the city today in close proximity to many of Berlin’s most visited sights such as the Brandenburg Gate and the Reichstag (Parliament Building).
The five star superior hotel opened its doors in January 2004 and interior designer Peter Silling took his inspirations from Prussian architect Karl Friedrich Schinkel who designed neoclassical and neogothic buildings in the early 19th century such as Potsdam Newski church and the Konzerthaus in Berlin.
The monumental lobby with its marble staircase is the first thing that takes our breath away when we enter the hotel through its doors, carefully opened by the doormen. Situated halfway up the stairs is a piano that is being played for afternoon tea, a celebration for the tealovers that is held every day and which I will explain later in greater detail. Throughout the hotel only the finest materials are used to create a contemporary and homelike, yet classy feeling. Over 14000 Swarovski crystals sparkle at the hotel’s chandeliers in grand style.
The Ritz-Carlton Berlin is one of the few hotels that is able to accommodate state guests / politicians that require the highest level of security such as the US-President, the President of Israel, the Pope and the Queen. Barack Obama for example has been repeatedly stayed at The Ritz-Carlton Berlin in 2008 and 2013. With 303 rooms and suites however, the hotel has enough space for everybody who enjoys the luxury of this outstanding hotel.
The hotel puts great effort in ecofriendliness and processing mostly regional products and foods and therefore is the only five star hotel in Europe that has been EMAS (Eco-Management and Audit Scheme of the European Union) certified four times in a row. A few more words about where the food and its ingredients come from will follow later.
The Rooms and Suites
The hotel’s 225 deluxe and superior rooms have a size of 40 m² and are either facing Potsdamer Platz or provide a commanding view of the green Tiergarten Park. The way the rooms are appointed and designed it’s obvious that the hotel’s goal of giving a home-away-from-home feeling has been more than reached. The Ritz-Carlton Club Level at level 10 offers guests in 25 club rooms and suites a very intimate setting to enjoy food and beverages 24 hours per day as well as a more private check-in and check-out. Designed in prussian style the Club lounge offers a great panoramic view from the highest floor in the hotel.
There are 39 suites in five different sizes ranging from the smallest Junior Suite with 50 m², Executive Suite with 57 m² and Bellevue Suite with 65 m² to the Grand suite with 105m². And then there is The Ritz-Carlton Suite, otherwise known as Presidential Suite with a size of 204 m² and with highest security standards as well as a separate entrance and elevator. To accomodate state guests that require the highest security level such as the US-President, the President of Israel, the Pope or the Queen it was necessary to have the Presidential Suite in kind of a “Sandwich” position, which means all other rooms around it must be empty. For this reason one of the attached tower apartments was bought back by The Ritz-Carlton and converted into a hotel room as well. The Ritz-Carlton Apartment is therefore slightly bigger than the Presidential Suite and can be rented for 15’000.- Euro per night.
All of the rooms are equipped with the latest technology such as touch screen panels, electronic curtains, flatscreen-TV and highspeed wifi. The bathrooms come in beautiful portuguese and italian marble with the floors comfortably heated up. The kingsized beds are of highest quality and we could enjoy a wonderful sleep in it. In fact they are so good that some of their guests ordered those beds for their home. A fancy pillow menu completes one of the most comfortable nights ever imagined. The menu includes cherry pit, horsehair and fragrance (valerian or mint) pillows.
The SPA and Pool
The spa area spans around 400 m² and provides enough space for relaxation after a long day of sightseeing or business meetings in Berlin. It includes a Sauna with rainforest-like background sounds and visual effects, a jetstream-indoor-pool and a jacuzzi. The ceiling is hand painted and blazes with sparkling crystals, reminding a sky full of stars. Those who like to work out can do so in the well-equipped gym. If you fancy a massage, there are four treatment rooms available on request.
Because of the close proximity to Tiergarten park it suggests itself to go biking or jogging outdoors. The hotel provides fresh towels, water and fruit for those who want to go outside.
Dining and Afternoon Tea
The main restaurant in The Ritz-Carlton Berlin is Brasserie Debrosses which is a perfect blend of old and new with the ambiance of an authentic french Boulangerie from the year 1875. It was dismantled in 2003 in the french town of Mâcon and then refurbished and rebuilt in the hotel. Hand painted wall panels, colorful flagstones and dark parquet floor create a nice and relaxing atmosphere. The restaurant of course serves delicate french dishes but can also impress with regional food.
Speaking of regional food, The Ritz-Carlton Berlin runs its own 1.5 hectare sized field where salads, pumpkins, herbs and vegetables are grown to be served in the Brasserie Debrosses to ensure highest quality of the organic ingredients used. About 65% of the demand is currently met by the field and most of the rest is provided exclusively by Müritzhof farm located about an hour northwest of berlin.
In the Tea Lounge an extraordinary tea experience can be celebrated for Afternoon Tea every day with the help of tea-sommeliers Sandra Rosenmüller and Burak Köseoglu who have been educated TeaMasters in India. There are 68 flavors to choose from of french gourmet brand “Mariage Frères”, which is another exclusive by The Ritz-Carlton Berlin in Germany. A so called “sniff box” is helpful in finding the perfect combination of flavors for a long lasting tea experience.
Of course some sweet or hearty snacks will be served to enjoy with the tea. Thursday to Sunday the Afternoon Tea is accompanied by piano music played on the monumental staircase in the lobby. Especially for the women there is Ladies Tea where a glass of Champagne or Kir Royal is served besides the tea, while the men can enjoy a glass of Brandy for Gentlemen’s Tea.
The Curtain Club and Fragrance Bar
The Curtain Club is the hotel’s main bar with seating for up to 60 people and therefore a nice meeting point to have a drink just before dinner. Exactly at 6 pm every day the curtains will be opened by the beefeater in his traditional garment identical to the former guards of the Tower of London to salute the evening. Most of the syrups and ingredients for the drinks are also hand made for an exceptional cocktail experience.
In the Fragrances bar, guests should not only enjoy drinks but experience them, said Arnd Heissen, head bartender. It is the attempt to combine famous perfumes with first class spirits, served in artistic jars such as a little birdhouse to create a truly extraordinary cocktail experience. Guest can choose their favorite liquor and fragrance that are beautifully arranged at the doorway. The bar is open from Wednesday to Sunday and we can highly recommend going on this inspirational trip that tickles all the senses.
Consistent with the drink there is a selection of snacks one can choose. For example the sweet “Macaron Énorme” with vanilla and raspberry fits “Signorina” drink perfectly, which is inspired by the correspondent fragrance by Salvatore Ferragamo.
We have been told that Fragrances is frequently visited by guests who want to invite their friends for something very exceptional and can only agree that this is a great choice if you are looking for something different, because this bar is one of a kind and unique in the world. A world’s first from Berlin, created by head bartender Arnd Heissen.
The Ritz-Carlton in Germany’s capital is all what you are expecting from a five star superior luxury hotel and still it is a little more. With its unique bar, the original and authentic french restaurant and the monumental Prussian style lobby it definitely stands out. If you are looking for a high class luxury stay, located in one of the best places in Berlin, then The Ritz-Carlton is probably your best bet.