In the century or more since it was founded, the Hotel Adlon Kempinski Berlin has welcomed everybody from the Queen of England to the King of Pop.
While Michael Jackson created quite a stir during his visit in 2002 – notoriously dangling his son, Prince Michael Jackson II, from a top-floor window – Queen Elizabeth II has also been known to discreetly enjoy the facilities.
Her signed portrait even hangs in the Royal Suite.
Situated directly opposite the Brandenburg Gate at the heart of the German capital, Hotel Adlon was for decades the centre of social life in the city.
Visiting dignitaries would be housed here for months on end, sampling the best the 1920s had to offer, including running hot water, an onsite laundry and dedicated electricity generator.
Sadly almost completely destroyed by a fire at the end of WWII – apparently caused by Red Army soldiers celebrating in the lavish wine cellars – the property was rebuilt and reopened by Kempinski in 1997.
Since then the luxury hotelier has worked to resort the Adlon to its rightful place on the European hospitality scene, offering historic grandeur with a modern flourish.
With this illustrious past in mind, I was interested to see during my stay if the property lived up to its billing – of course, a storied history would be of no value if the hotel was unable to deliver today.
As Michael Sorgenfrey, managing director of the Hotel Adlon Kempinski Berlin, tells me over coffee: “We are always in the limelight here; the signing of the Adlon brought Kempinski itself to international recognition in the 1990s.
“Our guests are honest with us – expectations remain very high, even during this troubled time.
“We are always questioning how we can make it more convenient for our visitors, to anticipate their needs, and improve the reputation of the hotel.
“The pressure is always here; Kempinski has flagship properties across Europe, in Munich, Istanbul and Budapest, so we have to keep the standards high.”
Walking down Unter den Linden and in through the front door of the hotel, initial impressions are good.
The huge lobby is the beating heart of the property, a cool, relaxed space with the concierge and reception desks subtly tucked virtually out of sight.
Water burbles from the famous elephant fountain, a present from the Maharaja of Patiala in the 1930s, while magnificent Murano glass chandeliers hang overhead.
On the veranda above, guests breakfast a Bel Etage, a place where fine silver from yesteryear clinks against contemporary crockery and classical music plays.
For a certain strata of Berlin society, you feel, if anything happens, it happens here.
Up in the suites, fresh white roses await, along with sparkling wine, bon bons and fresh fruit – the quintessential welcome to a luxury hotel.
Opening the curtains, the view over the Brandenburg Gate is worth the price of admission alone, with the glass cupola of the Reichstag building glistening in the background.
A note should be made on