I absolutely love a hotel steeped in history that manages to maintain its origins while exhibiting a modern and contemporary feel at the same time. The lavish Hotel De Rome, in what was formerly East Berlin, is a perfect example.
Once the historic headquarters of the Dresdner Bank, the hotel is situated in Mitte, specifically on the historic Bebelplatz square where young Nazis burned some 20,000 books in 1933, and around the corner from the Berlin Konzerthaus and the State Opera House.
The contemporary interior of the hotel is just as fascinating as its past. It utilises many of the interior features that still ruminate from its past life as a bank, most impressively the jewel vault which was transformed into a gold-flecked underground indoor swimming pool. What was the cashier’s hall is now a grand ballroom and, for those looking for even more space (all the rooms are large) to hang one’s hat, the former bank manager’s office became the beautiful Gutmann Suite.
Compared to many city-centre hotels, the Hotel De Rome is intimate, with only 109 rooms and 36 suites. This ensures service is attentive and personalised and I appreciated the staff’s attention to detail throughout my stay. There is only one main restaurant, La Banca, where the breakfasts are plentiful and the Italian cuisine at lunch and dinner is very well executed. There is a beautiful small terrace adjacent to La Banca for alfresco dining in the warmer months, complete with a resident DJ and a rooftop terrace with sublime views over the prewar buildings and gold-tipped churches, serving simple dishes and creative cocktails.
For the more traditional amongst us, the Opera Court, once the bank’s lobby area, is now utilised for afternoon tea, complete with over thirty different loose leaf teas and delicious petit fours, a gracious and welcome respite for an all-British gal on a cold winter’s afternoon in Berlin.
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