On this beautiful sunny morning in Berlin it is hard to imagine that not 30 years ago this city was still cut in two. Sitting on our balcony of the Adina Apartment Hotel Hackescher Markt at this early hour I can hear nothing but a subtle traffic hum passing me by and can see the odd person on the streets below; it makes me wonder what people in this area were feeling when they woke to the sudden divisions created by barbed wire in August 1961.
Today I have the freedom to wander through the streets, jumping from East to West without even a thought as to where I am and it makes it really difficult to imagine what it must have been like for residents of Berlin during the division, when the GDR took freedom and choice away from millions of people almost overnight.
Mitte is the historical epi-centre of Berlin and home to many of the famous landmarks that grace the skyline of this now desirable city. Just a stone’s throw away from our hotel the lime green dome of the Cathedral (Berliner Dom) commands your attention, which stands on the peripheral edge of Museum Island, glancing in the other direction and you will see the tall, looming grey tower of the iconic GDR masterpiece, the TV Tower. At night, after the blue hour has passed, the sky is alight with a florescent burst of colour from this very tower, making it stand out night and day and for this reason became the focal reference point for us during our stay.
Having only a few days to explore this relatively new unencumbered city we decided to base ourselves in the historical heart, near to Alexanderplatz, knowing that we were in touching distance of all of the sights whilst having the ability to explore further afield if time permitted.
Drenched in hotels and apartments, including the Hotel Adlon, which famously rekindled the limelight when Michael Jackson draped his son over the balcony for the world’s media to snap away at, choosing the one that suits your style could be difficult. Knowing that we were arriving late on our first evening having somewhere to prepare a late night snack was always going to be a bonus and was one of the reasons we decided to book the Adina Apartment Hotel Hackescher Markt.
Adina Apartments are a franchise spread across Europe and Australia with three appearing in Berlin alone. Location is key for us when we are undertaking a city break and is the main reason for choosing the Adina Apartment we did. Easily accessible from the airport on the S-Bahn; when you jump off the train you are in the heart of the market square which is full of restaurants and bars to indulge in after a day of sightseeing. Leisurely wander two minutes around the corner, and I mean meander, and you come face to face with the entrance of our accommodation for the next few days.
Being in Mitte doesn’t mean that the historical building is historic on the inside – quite the opposite. We are welcomed at the highly glossed black reception desk by a very chirpy gent, considering the late hour, and a breezy check-in took place. The chic art deco interior looks brand new, as if no-one has yet taken the opportunity to sit in the unusual configuration of orange metal that I can only assume is a modern day armchair placed precariously in-between the reception and bar area. Further into the dimly, mood lit bar area and the furnishing looks far more to my tastes. Big, squishy cushions lounge on rows of comfy looking sofas inviting me to sit down and it takes only a few minutes before we have found a space for our suitcase and have ordered a couple of welcome drinks for ourselves to unwind after our commute.
Settling in for the night, unable to now summon any energy to go in search of food, even though we had a wealth of choice two hundred metres around the corner, first impressions had won us over and we ordered from the bar. Now this is almost always unheard of, ordering food from any hotel is more costly than going in search of a local eatery nearby but on this occasion not only were we wowed by the attentive service at both the reception and the bar but the prices were inviting as well. To take the compliment one step further my husband praised the food whole-heartedly. To the point where I could tell he had secretly been dreading the ordeal of eating sub-standard food hastily reheated in a microwave as many bars back home would have done. Not in this bar however, freshly cooked pasta and chicken arrived in front of us and we both truly enjoyed each mouthful.
Yet to see our room, we head off to explore. This is where I always get nervous. Will it be ok? Have the photos lied to me? This trip had also been booked in advance of my husband’s 40th birthday and so I had requested a balcony room in order for him to get some scenery photos of the TV tower – would we get this? I hoped that disappointment wouldn’t reign.
As soon as I crossed the threshold I smiled inwardly. Just as the photos on their website had shown the apartment was in pristine condition. Walking into a large corridor we were firstly faced with one of the biggest wardrobes I have ever seen, even the most excessive of packers would have had trouble filling it, followed by a stylish, large shower room and an open plan bedroom area with glass windows stretching the entire length of the room. It didn’t stop there though – around the corner and we had a fully functionally kitchen with dishwasher, mini dining table and full sized fridge. I don’t know about a few days but you could quite comfortable live in this place. But it was the window that honestly held my attention, it was huge, the only question remaining was – had we got a balcony? Frantically looking for that one window that converts into a door I pulled at each of the curtains. Surely they wouldn’t tease us with a window that size – would they? Eventually I spy what I am looking for and dramatically open the door to reveal the largest balcony area we have ever had during any city break. I promise I am not exaggerating. Standing outside, observing that we have a second table and chairs to utilise, we watch the TV Tower in front of us flash slowly from yellow to green to a rather bright pinkish colour. It was fair to say that we were both happy with the room and tomorrow we would be able to gauge whether we were also happy with the location.
After snuggling down in the super soft bed and having a fantastic night’s slumber, I knew that I would need all of my energy for the sightseeing plans we had for the day ahead, so we headed off in search of a sumptuous breakfast. Every imaginable breakfast item was spread out in front of us as we walked towards our table. Croissants and pastries, pancakes, toast and preserves, bagels, smoked salmon, fruit, cereals, yoghurt and much more. As we settle down fresh coffee was poured and we were asked if we would like a cooked breakfast which included eggs poached, fried or as an omelette of your choice. At this rate we would be consuming a day’s worth of calories in one sitting. However, so not to disappoint anyone we tucked in and enjoyed every morsel, washing it all down with excessive amounts of coffee and fresh orange juice. It is definitely fair to say that our tanks were full and we walked away very content. I also noticed that as we sat there the buffet elements of the breakfast bar were refreshed frequently so you had no fear of something sitting there for hours on end before it was consumed.
What was unique about this hotel is that whilst it most definitely fell into the hotel category you felt like you were staying in an apartment. The service was of the highest class so that you never felt overlooked or overwhelmed by the presence of a staff member but they were never far away should you need their help. Space is a novelty in any city and I welcomed the room size and the ability we had to spread out, knowing that someone was still going to come in each day to replace the towels and bed sheets as required.
This was more than a hotel it was a home away from home and definitely gets my stamp of approval.
I often wonder what others are after when booking a hotel in a hectic city environment. Are you like us and want somewhere where you can relax and unwind or are you someone that wants to be surrounded by others to discuss your experiences and meet new people?
What style of accommodation do you go for?
For more information on the Adina Apartment Hotel Hackescher Markt visit –