The Hotel Adlon Kempinski surely boasts the most distinguished location in the city—right on historic Pariser Platz, opposite the Brandenburg Gate. The original incarnation of the hotel opened in 1907 with the blessing of none other than Kaiser Wilhelm II. Despite playing host to such illustrious guests as Tsar Nicholas II, Albert Einstein, and Franklin Roosevelt, the hotel was almost completely destroyed after World War II. A new hotel was eventually opened in 1997, and continues to draw celebrities, politicians, and the occasional aristocrat—in 2002, Michael Jackson famously held his nine-month-old son over the fourth-floor balcony.
Needless to say, the hotel is the last word in stately—if somewhat conservative—luxury, as heralded by its glamorous, balconied lobby, which greets guests with the sounds of live piano and a trickling fountain. The sumptuous rooms come with marble bathrooms, full-size working desks, and entertainment centers; the three restaurants include the double-Michelin-starred Lorenz Adlon Esszimmer, which serves classic European dishes such as braised shoulder of lamb (with a four-week waitlist for reservations); and there’s a luxury spa and a range of small boutiques on-site, which offer everything from fine wines to jewelry to porcelain.