Westin Grand Hotel Berlin – Experience Its History

trendy-week-berlin-and-Leipzig-smallBerlin is a city that I just can’t get enough of, it is truly beautiful and has a wealth of history. Even now 26 years after the wall came down they are still rebuilding parts of its lost history, like the reconstruction of the Berlin Palace. A place destroyed by the second world war and ultimately taken down by the East German government under huge protest from both the West & the East.

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Reconstruction of Berlin Palace

The Westin Grand Hotel is located in the vibrant life of Berlin Centre known in German as Mitte. This former part of East Berlin is right next to Unter de Linden, the street connecting Brandenburg Gate with Alexander Platz. The hotel is close to the Reichstag, the Potsdamer Platz and the Gendarmenmarkt, all places where history has been written.

The History

The site of the Westin Grand Hotel is the former location of the Kaisergalerie shopping center, opened in 1873, destroyed by an air raid in 1943, and demolished in 1957. The site was vacant for a while until in the 1980s, the the East German state-run Interhotel monopoly decided to build a flagship luxury hotel for Western tourists.

East German architect Erhardt Gisske designed the hotel in the style of early twentieth century luxury hotels. The glass dome was modeled on the one in the former Kaisergalerie. The hotel was opened as the Grand Hotel Berlin on August 1, 1987 by East German leader Erich Honecker as part of the city-wide celebrations of the 750th anniversary of the founding of Berlin. It was only open to foreign guests, as it did not accept East German Marks, only Western hard currencies. The construction came in at a great cost of USD 110 million, a lot of money then.

Only two years after the hotel was build the Berlin wall came down. The Grand Hotel Berlin had various owners since then and in July 1997 it became part of the Westin family and is since then known as the Westin Grand Hotel Berlin. The hotel has had major refurbishments and the spy equipment installed by Stasi, the former Eastern German secret police, was removed. The lobby with staircase, glass roof and columns are still kept intact of 1987 design with the rest of the hotel being modernised.

Take A Piece Of History Home With You

This year marks the 26th anniversary of a historic day for Germany: November 9, 1989, the day that the Berlin Wall fell. The Berlin Wall divided East and West Berlin, keeping families and friends apart, for over 28 years. What a fantastic experience here at the Westin Hotel Grand. You get to chip off your own little piece of the original segment of the Berlin Wall. It is just like Berliners did during the peaceful revolution 26 years ago. You must book this in advance before checking in.

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The Hotel Lobby

Once you enter the hotel, the dome and rooms around it stand out, it gives it a truly Grand experience. I loved the big staircase going up to the first floor, I was told by the hotel marketing manager that it has featured in fashion shows lately.

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Winter Garden

The hotel was built by a Japanese construction company and maybe that is why you feel some Japanese ambiance throughout the hotel. Outside, there is a winter garden and there are four dragons watching you. This garden area is a perfect place for conferences or weddings. They have a dedicated room for functions, which gives you private access to the garden.

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Meeting Rooms

Normally I don’t review meeting rooms but I was shown one with a bit of history. This meeting room, known as the fireplace room, was heavily decorated German style by Eastern Germany and they decided to keep most of it. It has been toned down a bit.

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Salon Diana – The Fireplace Room

Linden Superior Room

I stayed at the Linden Superior Room which was a spacious double room at 30m². It came with a balcony and a view of the famous boulevard, “Unter den Linden”. Here I could experience the history and the inimitable charm of Berlin, and I could spot the Brandenburg gate from my balcony. It was nice to stand on the balcony in the morning, as I am an early bird, and watch the city wake up. The room was equipped to the highest standard with the incomparable king-size Heavenly Bed. Soft colours and stylish lighting also make for an ambiance of relaxing elegance. In addition to the conveniences of the superior room, I had access to coffee and tea making facilities and a spacious rainfall shower in the bathroom.

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Grand Spa Suite

If you want to treat yourself to a pure luxury night out then the Grand Spa suite is for you.

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Spa & Gym

For all guest there is free access to the gym and the circular shaped pool.

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Breakfast

The breakfast selection was amazing. It was very healthy and had a luxury selection of fish, fruits and healthy juices to drink. The atmosphere was great and the Germans are famous for their sausages and bread, and there is plenty to choose by here.

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Conclusion

The Westin Grand Hotel is perfectly located in the central area of Berlin near all historic sites. The hotel, although not that old, still has history in being the most expensive hotel that the former East German government had built. The Westin Grand Hotel has all modern comforts but you still notice parts of its history. Whilst staying there, I would take part in creating your own piece of history, and take home your part of the former Berlin Wall as a souvenir.

Details

  • Room reviewed – Linden Superior Room – From €229
  • Website: westingrandberlin.com
  • Address: Friedrichstrasse 158-164, Berlin 10117, Germany
  • Phone: +49 30 20270

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