View of the State Opera House from Hotel de Rome’s rooftop terrace
Just about everyone remembers where they were when they heard that the Berlin Wall had fallen, delivering one of the final blows to the Soviet Union and bringing East and West Germany together again.
This year, November 9 marks the 20th anniversary of that historic event. In the two decades since the Wall came down, Berlin’s travel industry has exploded, and the city has become a popular tourist destination with luxury hotels and museums springing up. Berlin now hosts more than 17 million visitors each year, and has 99,000 hotel beds.
To honor the anniversary, Berlin has planned a series of special events, exhibitions and commemorative functions focusing on the division of Germany and Berlin, the Cold War and the Reunification, culminating in a large celebration at Brandenburg Gate on the anniversary date. A 1.25-mile length of oversized plastic blocks will cascade into one another, symbolizing the fall of the Wall. There will also be a major concert and a street festival. Museums, including Checkpoint Charlie Museum, the German Historical Museum, the Allied Museum, the Stasi Museum and the DDR Museum will feature exhibits that focus on the Wall and its collapse.
Visitors to Berlin can go on GPS-guided walking tours on the trail of the Berlin Wall, guided or self-guided bicycle tours on the Wall path, visits to underground Berlin, former watch towers and Wall memorials, or drives into the east of the city in original GDR Trabant cars.
Where to Stay
Several hotels are offering special packages to celebrate the anniversary. The Hotel Adlon has a deal that includes two nights’ accommodation. Guests will stay in deluxe rooms with a view to Boulevard Unter den Linden, and can dine in either the Restaurant Quarré or the Gourmet Restaurant Lorenz Adlon. The package is valid from November 8-10 and costs $1,361 (with dinner in Restaurant Quarré), or $1,597 (with dinner in Gourmet Restaurant Lorenz Adlon). The price for a double room, double occupancy, includes the hotel’s gourmet breakfast buffet. Agents should call Anne Martinussen, director of sales, at 011-49-30-2261-1111.
The Rocco Forte Hotel de Rome is offering a Fall of the Wall package through December 29. (The building, constructed in 1889 as the headquarters of the Dresdner Bank, later served as the official State Bank of the GDR under Soviet occupation.) In addition to two nights’ stay in a deluxe room, daily breakfast, a piece of the Wall and cocktails at Bebel Bar, the deal includes a four-hour bike tour tracing the path of the Wall and tickets to the museum at Checkpoint Charlie. The package price is $1,116 for a Deluxe Room or $1,646 for a Junior Suite. Agents should contact Stefanie Brückner ([email protected]).
The Westin Grand, Berlin, situated alongside a remnant of the Wall, is offering a deal that allows guests to chip away their own souvenirs. The package, valid until end of November, includes two nights, breakfast and a special map to guide visitors along the route of the Wall. Cornelia Opitz ([email protected], 011-49-30-2027-3420) is the travel agent liaison.
Sweet New Suite at Kempinski
For clients who want to commemorate the occasion in style, the Kempinski Hotel Bristol Berlin has a new Presidential Suite with more than 5,300 square feet of living space sprawling across the 10th and 11th floors of the hotel’s tower. The suite has five bedrooms, seven bathrooms, two living rooms, a pantry on each floor, as well as two boardrooms, which can double as bedrooms. The suite can also be divided into two same-sized deluxe suites. The two master bathrooms have LCD TVs in the mirrors, and the walk-in rain shower glows with illuminated water jets.
One of two living rooms in the new Presidential Suite at the Kempinski Hotel Bristol Berlin
The suite has 13 TVs, DVD players, and a hi-fi unit with an iPod docking station and Dolby surround sound. Wireless LAN is available throughout the suite. On request, corridors of the suite can be covered by closed-circuit TV. The suite can also be accessed by a separate entrance to ensure a high level of security for VIP guests. Contact Managing Director Uwe Klaus at 011-49-30-8843 or [email protected]