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.
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The hotel is surrounded by history, culture, and politics. Pariser Platz is home to the French and U.S. embassies, as well as the glass-fronted Academy of Arts and Max Liebermann’s house—both of which still house regular exhibitions. Guests who pass under the Brandenburg Gate from the hotel will be crossing the former East-West border. To the right is the Reichstag; to the left is the poignant Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, with Potsdamer Platz a little further on; and straight ahead are the leafy charms of the Tiergarten Park. Shops, cafés, and restaurants are all near the hotel. Café Einstein, on Unter den Linden, is good for kaffee und kuchen, and Grill Royal, on Friedrichstrasse, for fine dining.
Need to Know
Rooms: 382 rooms and suites; from $750. Check-in: 3 p.m.; check-out: noon. Dining options: At opulent Lorenz Adlon Esszimmer, guests can enjoy Michelin-starred dishes while looking out onto the Brandenburg Gate; the canard a la presse has been on the menu for 80 years and is one of the world’s best. The somewhat more down-to-earth Restaurant Quarré serves a classy currywurst, and local celebrity chef Tim Raue presents his upscale Thai-Japanese fusions at Sra Bua. A classic afternoon tea in the lobby is the perfect opportunity to admire the famous elephant fountain as well as the stylish clientele. Spa and gym details: The hotel spa is open daily and includes a spacious pool, gym, and hair salon. The spa also has a special Woga and Watsu suite for underwater massages.
Who's it for: Well-heeled business and leisure travelers seeking exclusivity and tradition. Our favorite rooms: The front rooms have iconic views across Pariser Platz and the Brandenburg Gate; the rooms facing the inner courtyard are quieter and suitable for families or others seeking peace and quiet. The Presidential Suite has a private sauna, personal butler, and limousine service. Indulge yourself: The breakfast includes champagne and caviar.