Berlin continues to post year-over-year tourism gains, with Americans leading the way. Overnight stays by American visitors increased by 17 percent in 2015. Those trends will likely continue, thanks to the capital’s ever-evolving hotel and culinary scene.
“Berlin is one of the hottest places in Europe right now. It’s a real crossroads of the world with some incredible things going on with design, architecture, food, music, and more. It’s vibrant, youthful, with lots of startups. It has all the dynamic elements that are perfectly aligned with our brand,” Josh Littman tells Travel Agent.
Littman is the EMEA vice president of development for hotels at Hard Rock International.
The company has announced plans to open Hard Rock Hotel Berlin Checkpoint Charlie. The 372-room property will open at the famous Checkpoint Charlie. Set for 2020 completion, it will be part of a multi-use project that includes retail, office, residences and exhibit space.
“We’ll be in the middle of the city, where the Berlin Wall stood. It’s a very central location with lots of visibility. We’re planning a very unique product, with a rooftop pool and lounge that will offer some incredible views of Berlin. We can also accommodate a host of corporate events, with ballrooms and meeting space,” said Littman.
On a time frame that’s closer in, more than 1,000 hotel rooms will come on line this year in Berlin.
Among them is the much-anticipated Hotel Provocateur. Opening this spring, the 59-room boutique property is located near the Kurfürstendamm, the “Champs-Elysee of Berlin.” The hotel’s black and red décor and chandelier-filled hallways are meant as a playful take on burlesque. The member of Design Hotels is from the team behind Frankfurt’s trendy Roomers brand. Chef Duc Ngo, who operates two popular Berlin eateries, will operate an Asian restaurant at the property.
Opening in February, the Titanic Chaussee in the Mitte will feature 389 rooms, a Mediterranean restaurant, health club and swimming pool plus 15 conference rooms. Also opening in February is the boutique Hotel Zoe at Hackescher Markt. It will feature 108 rooms, unfinished concrete floors, a roof top terrace and retro Gin & Tonic Bar.
New offerings from Marriott’s Moxy brand, IHG’s Hotel Indigo and Hampton Inn by Hilton are also set to open in 2016 and 2017. In fact, the 344-room, nine-storey Hampton by Hilton Alexanderplatz, will be the brand’s biggest hotel in the world.
Culinary news is also beckoning visitors to Berlin this year. Visitors will find 26 Michelin-starred restaurants, the largest number in any German city.
As with other culinary capitals of Europe, clients should secure reservations to top establishments well in advance.
“It’s the Anthony Bourdain effect. We’re seeing clients excited about certain destinations in Europe because of the food,” David Rubin, CEO of DavidTravel in Corona del Mar, CA tells Travel Agent.
It’s not only high-end dining attracting attention in Berlin at the moment. The city is home to a booming street food movement. Food trucks offer everything from Sudanese lamb to Mongolian momos along regional specialties such as Käsespätzle, wild boar burgers and wiener schnitzel.
One of the most popular food truck venues is the Kulturbrauerei, a former brewery that is now a cultural center in the Prenzlauer Berg. The “mobile kitchens” gather there every other Sunday. Come June, the trucks will be there weekly.
Clients looking to travel in February should know about some romantic hotel, spa and dining packages times for Valentine’s Day. They’re available at top Berlin hotels including The Regent (which also has a wedding planner), Hotel Adlon, Waldorf Astoria, Hotel de Rome and Das Stue.