Set in the former headquarters of a 19th-century bank, Hotel de Rome forms a major part of Bebelplatz, the historic square best known as the site of the Nazis' notorious book burning in 1933. Sandwiched between the stately Opera House (set to reopen in 2015) and the equally handsome Humboldt University, the hotel has retained the bank’s neoclassical exterior. Parts of the interior are original, too—most notably an elegant staircase that winds up to the fourth floor (these first floors are also original), and the former bank vault, which has been transformed into a spa that is accessed via the vault's original steel door. The high-ceilinged guestrooms and suites are suitably sumptuous, with marble in the bathroom and furnishings of mahogany; the color palettes, however, were devised by Italian designers Olga Polizzi and Tommaso Ziffer and are ultra-contemporary. The hotel also has a swanky restaurant and a popular cocktail bar, and a rooftop patio with splendid views of Bebelplatz and the city beyond.
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The hotel is located on Unter den Linden, which means guests are a guidebook-lob from major sites like Museum Island, the Reichstag, and the Brandenburg Gate. Contemporary art fans will enjoy the nearby Deutsche KunstHalle (formerly the Guggenheim), and it’s a short hop to the high-end designer shops on Friedrichstrasse (try Quartier 206) and the upscale restaurants of Gendarmenmarkt, such as VAU.
Need to Know
Rooms: 109 rooms, 36 suites; from $340. Check-in: 3 p.m.; check-out: noon. Dining options: La Banca serves top-end Italian cuisine by Jörg Behrend (the punchy but smart design is courtesy of Olivia Steele), while the Rooftop Terrace offers anything from a light Caesar salad to a more substantial entrecôte. Afternoon tea is available in the impressive Opera Court—a grand drawing room with marble columns and gilt-edged skylights that was once the lobby of the Dresdner Bank. Spa and gym details: The spa, located in the former vault, features dramatic marble columns and walls adorned with gold-leaf mosaics. There is a 20-meter pool, a Finnish sauna, and an aromatic steam room, plus various treatment rooms.
Who's it for: Business travelers and well-heeled shopaholics ready to max out their credit cards on Unter den Linden. Our favorite rooms: The Gutmann Suite is the former office of the original bank's manager, Eugen Gutmann; it still bears some shrapnel marks from WWII. For opulent views, the 200-square-meter Bebel Suite has a full-length balcony that overlooks Bebelplatz. Enjoy the rooftop: During the summer, the rooftop terrace hosts jazz nights and Cuban nights that are open to the public, and sometimes there's a barbecue.
Hotel de Rome - A perfect stay in Mitte
Berlin is a sprawling city, so being in the heart of it, surrounded by historic buildings, restaurants and museums is ideal. If you are looking for a luxury hotel that boasts this central location, but is also comfortable, friendly and unpretentious, The Hotel de Rome is the perfect choice. You'll be staying in what used to be the HQ of the Dresdner Bank - complete with a jewel vault that has since been turned an indoor swimming pool!
Although the hotel may not seem to be in the hippest area of Berlin, it is one of the most beautiful buildings in Mitte and is a short 5- 10 minute taxi ride away from anywhere you want to go. You can walk to the Brandenburg Gate and The Reichstag in about 20 min, walk to Checkpoint Charlie and pieces of the Berlin Wall in 30 min, and even head up to the cool "SoHo area" of Berlin for shopping, eating and dancing in less than a half hour by foot.
For me, the best parts of The Hotel de Rome were the pool, bar area, breakfast buffet and the concierge staff - I swear they have a direct line to any restaurant or hot spot you want to visit and they do a great job of finding out what kinds of places you like best and then pairing you up with the perfect LOCAL spot. More than once during my trip I was asked by a local Berliner, "How did you find out about this place?"
The hotel is a member of of The Leading Hotels of the World, so if you are a member of their Leaders Club program you can receive the amazing breakfast included and a room upgrade!