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A Waldorf Astoria Hotel Tries To Brighten A Gray Berlin Neighborhood

Located near the Berlin zoo, the address is the first in Germany for the famed US luxury hotel brand.

A Waldorf Astoria Hotel Tries To Brighten A Gray Berlin Neighborhood
Judith Liere

BERLIN - Waldorf Astoria rang in the New Year with a new hotel in Berlin – the first hotel in Germany for the American hotel and resort group.

The location of the 118-meter high, 232-room luxury tower in the concrete jungle around Berlin’s world-famous zoo has been cause for comment in the German press. The neighborhood – a major commercial and transportation hub in what was formerly West Berlin – is not seen as a match for the posh Waldorf Astoria brand. The area still bears the scars of World War II bombing.

However Friedrich Niemann, the hotel’s managing director, refers to the hotel’s “inspiring" surroundings: “a neighborhood that is part of the process of inner city refurbishment.” Niemann also stresses that the hotel has done everything to fit in: it adopted a giraffe at the nearby zoo and had employees weed a local park. The hotel also features artwork by students, graduates and professors of the nearby Universität der Künste (art college) in the rooms.

Berliners were invited to tour the premises before the official opening, and some 5,000 took up the invitation over the New Year weekend.

The hotel’s café is called the Romanisches Café, after the famous Berlin café of the 1920s, where the cream of Germany’s artists and writers hung out and philosophized.

Standard rooms at the Berlin Waldorf Astoria start at a 210 euros a night, while the 280 square presidential suite on the 31st floor costs 12,000 euros a night. If you can drop that kind of cash, you will look out over the zoo, with a superb view of the zoo’s flamingos from the bath tub.

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