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.
- Daily breakfast for two
- Room upgrade upon arrival
- Subject to availability
- Food & Beverage credit
- €85 credit to be used during your stay
- Early check-in / Late check-out
- Subject to availability
- Complimentary Wi-Fi
Exclusive benefits may vary by hotel or hotel group. Exclusive benefits apply when booking the Best Available Rate and are not combinable with any hotel offers or special packages unless stated.
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Arriving at the Hotel De Rome would normally be fairly impressive but sadly when I stayed there was renovation work taking place on the buildings in the Bebelplatz square and hence the views were obscured. When my car pulled up, the bellboy arrived within seconds to take my bags up the impressive steps into the building and to the front desk.
The lobby is the main focus of the hotel as soon as you enter. Four large, curved banquette sofas made of black velvet and a glossy black lacquer finish, render the illusion of a circular space. It is from here that the front desk, bar and restaurants are accessed, making it the heart of the hotel. There were always people using the lobby area, waiting for friends, talking on the phone or working on their laptops, so it felt lived in yet never crowded. I enjoyed the buzz.
Rooms and suites
I was originally booked into the lead-in room category, a Classic room, but was generously upgraded to a Deluxe upon my arrival. I was impressed by the size of the room which has its own small foyer area with wardrobe space, leading into the bathroom and the bedroom. This spacious room was very nicely appointed, with a large king-size bed, sofa area and a mixture of black, lacquered furniture and side work tables to make up this seemingly quite masculine palette.
Do make sure that you request a room with a balcony or with a view of the street or Cathedral as my room was a Courtyard View, which basically overlooked other rooms. However, for those who are light sleepers, these rooms would probably be the best choice.
I did not, sadly, love the bed. I’ve stayed in many Rocco Forte Hotels and, as a brand, I find their beds uncomfortable. No Princess and the Pea story here, but the beds are hard and with no mattress topper, which, at a time when even low-cost hotels use them to create a ‘floating on feathers’ experience, upping the ante here wouldn’t go unnoticed. In addition, the king-size bed turned out to be two beds pushed together, something I don’t like.
The décor with its Art Deco and neo-Classical furnishings, is weighty on the masculine side, but saying this, there are the odd hints of colour here and there which gave the room a unisex and contemporary feel. Light and bright, I loved the fact that I could open a window to let in some fresh air as even in winter, heating can at times be a bit oppressive, although it can be controlled in a nanosecond by a thermostat on the wall.
The technology in the room is functional, but not impressively high-tech. There are normal wall sockets, but only one was in a good location next to one of the tables and there was no USB sockets in the room. You need to use an adapter for any plugs other than Continental European ones.
There are several lighting options from side lights, to main lights and standard lights, and I was glad to see that they could be controlled from the main switches, rather than having to turn each one off individually, a pet hate of mine.
The TV is a large, flat-screen HD, located on the black, lacquered cabinet which seconds as the minibar and safe. There is a comprehensive menu on the TV, however, the lack of UK or USA channels was very disappointing in a hotel of this calibre. There was only a bare minimum of about four news channels so you would have to make do with movies on demand only if you were so inclined. During my stay, the WiFi worked very well and better yet, it is complementary for each 24-hour period so you only need to log in once a day.
The bathroom was a good size in the Deluxe category. With a large shower cubicle, a large bathtub and vanity unit, I loved the fact that there was underfloor heating in the bathroom, making the marble tiles on the floor lovely to walk on barefooted.
The amenities were nicely scented from the Malin + Goetz range, exclusively made for Rocco Forte Hotels in 40 ml sizes, which, while somewhat stingy in size, were replenished twice a day.
La Banca is a lovely restaurant, with banquette style seating and stand-alone tables. The ceiling is very high and gives the feeling of lots of space and given that it is not a huge restaurant in terms of covers, it feels appropriately intimate without being crowded. The breakfast was a fabulous affair, with a myriad of juices, a variety of breads and pastries, fruit, cereals, meats, and cheese selections. There were numerous jams, compotes honey; endless choices on display. A la carte dishes were also on offer, from eggs to full (German) breakfasts, pancakes, and speciality breakfast dishes.
Service was exceptionally quick, efficient and very friendly and, better yet, on the weekends, breakfast is served until 2 pm, allowing those so inclined to have a lie-in followed by some serious tuck. This unusual offering ensures the restaurant is consistently lively without there being any rush.
During the rest of the day, La Banca serves Italian cuisine and the lunch I ate there was excellent, served with freshly baked breads and oils. La Banca Bar is the perfect place for a pre-dinner drink with inventive cocktails. Partial to a cocktail, I tried a Berlin Lemonade, a Thai Martini, and A Stranger Came to Berlin — yum!
Spa and wellness
The spa is stunning with many of the bank’s old features, now with another lease on life, being put to use here both functionally and decoratively. The old bank vault featuring a 15 cm thick steel door, leads into a treatment room. Gold leaf mosaics are still on the wall, a throwback to where the bank once held its gold deposits.
The Spa houses 6 treatment rooms, a twenty meter indoor swimming pool, sauna and steam rooms, and a state of the art gym. I managed to sneak in a treatment time and enjoyed the Russian Honey Massage, one of the best treatments I’ve ever had, and in such a fascinating and historic space. Pre-book to avoid disappointment.
Pool and beach
The indoor pool is historic and heavenly. I only wished there was one or two gold trinkets remaining on the floor under the water to dive for.
Staff and service
I’ve stayed in many of Berlin’s top hotels over the years and service varies massively between them, but I have to say that the experience at the Hotel De Rome was a very good one. The service was warm, personable, friendly and professional. I interacted with many staff at the hotel during my stay, from the bellman, to the front desk, to the Concierge, the restaurant and bar staff. Without exception, all were polite, courteous and friendly and made me feel very welcome. There was no pretence and everyone seemed to be going about their work happily. As we all know, Germans are über efficient, but the De Rome staff had the added advantage of being very charming and amiable to boot.
Wealthy folk, of all genres, but those obviously not wanting the more stuffy hotels that the luxury set offers in Berlin. The De Rome is definitely a locale for those who like a beautiful environment, a great location, and a less formal and more contemporary locale. Excellent for families too, the hotel has interconnecting rooms and child menus.
The check-out was very quick and efficient. There were two staff on the front desk when I left and both were engaging and genuinely interested in how my stay had been.
How to get here
35 minutes by road from Berlin Airport
145 Rooms & Suites
Non smoking rooms
First-hand knowledge from LuxuryBARED members who've been here.
What I liked
The perfect hotel breakfast! Seamless service, an abundance of tasty food, high-quality tableware, and a sophisticated clientele in attractive surroundings. No kids running around spoiling the environment. Could easily spend 3 hours lounging over the most important meal of the day.
What I disliked
Not many flaws in the offering, except that the TV in the room was noticeably small and the room I occupied felt a bit sparsely furnished.
What I liked
Lobby and public spaces are impressive, grandly proportioned and theatrical. The lobby and bar worked really well to meet guests and the bar/snack menu was great. The restaurant was wonderful – breakfast in particular was an impressive spread – fresh, nicely presented with smart/fun service.
Wonderful location – easy to walk to most of the central sites.
The spa and gym set up is really impressive. Elegant, clean and really well appointed.
What I disliked
I wasn’t blown away by the room. Whilst a nice size, the bedroom was very bland. The bathroom, however, was excellent – nice sized, walk in shower and loads of space.