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Hotel check: Hotel de Rome


HOW MANY ROOMS? 108 rooms and 37 suites.

PROPERTY HIGHLIGHTS Plenty of history and grand design wrap spacious guest rooms with luxurious baths.

PRICE A mid-week stay in September starts at €392 ($463) with complimentary Internet.

CONTACT Hotel de Rome, Behrenstrasse 37 10117 Berlin, Germany +49 30 460 60 90,

VERDICT: More than just a luxury property, the Hotel de Rome boasts a unique venue that takes ‘adaptive reuse’ to a new level. Everywhere you look there are surprising elegant design elements. But more important is a staff dedicated to delighting guests at every encounter.

BACKGROUND: Hotel de Rome occupies an historic 1889 landmark that was once the opulent head office of once-powerful Dresdner Bank. The structure itself survived both World Wars and the rise and fall of the Berlin Wall. Rocco Forte Hotels, a portfolio of 11 luxury hotels and resorts known for imaginative design and impeccable service, has restored the old building to create a remarkable five-star property.

WHAT’S IT LIKE? The hotel entrance itself has an understated grandeur, not at all glam or flashy – it was a bank, after all – but impressive nonetheless. From the rather staid entry we made our way to the lobby, which opened up in magnificent fashion with marble columns, oversized seating and, in the middle, an incongruous red neon bird cage that sets the design tone throughout.

More impressive was the personal service. Somehow the staff discovered the date I arrived was my birthday (I certainly didn’t tell them). But they had prepared a special treat – cake and champagne – awaiting me in my room when I checked in.

WHERE IS IT? The Hotel de Rome is located in Mitte, the youngest and hippest section of what used to be called East Berlin. Just across the Bebelplatz in front of the hotel is the famous boulevard Unter den Linden, and it’s just a short walk to the iconic Brandenburg Gate, the Reichstag where Germany’s parliament meets, and that favorite fixture of 1960s spy thrillers, Checkpoint Charlie. There’s more of course, and Hotel de Rome seems to be right in the middle of it.

ROOM FACILITIES: City-center hotels are not known for their expansive accommodations; however my room in the Hotel de Rome was surprisingly spacious. In addition it was elegantly appointed with a plush king bed and plenty of comfortable seating. The bathroom was almost as large as the sleeping area, with heated floors and towel racks. I was surprised however that with all that space, the shower, though more than adequate, was relatively small.

RESTAURANTS AND BARS: La Banca, the hotel’s lobby-level restaurant, serves up an impressive breakfast buffet, as well as a midday prix fixe menu and a la carte selections for lunch and dinner. La Banca Bar offers an exceptional variety of wines, imaginative cocktails and, naturlich, beer. The rooftop terrace is a summertime treat for Berliners and hotel guests alike with spectacular city views, light bites and beverages, while the Opera Court in the old bank’s lobby holds forth every afternoon with a traditional English tea from October through March.

MEETING FACILITIES: A real treat for the eyes, the historic ballroom is a brilliant adaptation of the former cashiers’ hall, with natural light beaming through the glazed roof 30 feet above and reflecting off the original mosaic floor. Five other first-floor meeting rooms are adjacent to the ballroom and all are equipped with state-of-the-art meeting technology. Perhaps most intriguing is the bank’s original walk-in safe which can be booked for a special event, as a dining space or a spa room.

LEISURE FACILITIES: The Spa de Rome is housed in the original bank vault, complete with 20-meter swimming pool. The spa features six treatment rooms and a Finnish steam and sauna. The hotel’s fitness room has a lineup of equipment by TechnoGym.