Blink and you might miss it. I look out the window of my taxi as we slow to a stop. The driver points toward a small entrance nestled between Hugo Boss and an Apple Store. He says, “es ist da”, which I manage to understand despite my limited (or rather non-existent) German. I walk toward the entrance of the Hotel Zoo Berlin, suitcase in tow.
Catwalk at the Hotel Zoo Berlin. Image courtesy of Hotel Zoo Berlin.
The moment of worry around trying to juggle my very over-packed suitcase and find a free hand to open the door, is short lived. The outer doors swing open, as if they’ve read my thoughts. Thank goodness for automated doors!
Once inside, the subtle entrance of the hotel makes perfect sense. I am in awe, surrounded by bohemian elegance. The hall leading toward the check-in desk is dimly lit. On both sides of the hall are exposed brick pillars and clay pots with a variety of different plants. I watch as the light bounces off the leaves. My eyes gravitate toward the carpet. Long, and green in colour, the carpet features leopards (or cheetahs – I can never tell the difference). It isn’t until later I realise that the designer hasn’t simply chosen a carpet with cats on it, but has created a ‘catwalk’ to fit in with the hotel’s movie star vibe. For €17, guests can even purchase a specialty nail polish to match the colour of the catwalk.
Warm smiles from the staff, and a little fluffy dog belonging to another guest, are waiting at the check-in desk. As I say my name, I bend to pat the dog and laugh as it responds with enthusiastic kisses. I’m very early for my check-in and my room isn’t quite ready. I’m offered a different room instead, but I don’t mind waiting.
I step through sweeping curtains into the lobby. It’s adorned with plush velvet purple and pink loungers, gold and glass side tables, flowers, antique bowling pins, a decadent fireplace, and a chandelier that looks like it could be worn to the Met Gala. Behind the chandelier is my favourite piece of art in the hotel. In the background, two men and a woman dressed in what I would say is 16th century attire are positioned around a table. And in the foreground, creating a beautiful juxtaposition between the historical elements of the hotel and the more modern, boujie side, is a woman with rollers in her hair, bathrobe on, relaxing with her feet up. I sit on one of the pink velvet loungers. To my right, there’s a door that makes me feel like Alice in Wonderland. The door is massive and the handle equally so. Just as the jetlag begins to hit me and I begin to imagine the doorknob talking to me like Alice, my room is ready.
The Wintergarten. Image courtesy of Hotel Zoo Berlin.
The elevator walls have images of old-school photographers. As the button for my floor is pushed and the elevator starts to move, lights begin to flash. It’s as if the photographers on the wall are taking my photograph. Thankfully, this is an effect rather than a reality – I was not photo-ready. But photo-ready or not, I do feel like a movie star as I make my way to my room.
The Grand Deluxe Room, with views over Kurfürstendamm – Germany’s grandest boulevard – will be my home for the next two nights. There are 141 rooms in the hotel, some with a green palette and others with purple. Mine is purple. There is a large king bed in the centre of the room and a glass-top desk near the windows (perfect for my writing). The bathroom has a rain shower head and luxury amenities designed just for the hotel.
The Grand Deluxe Room. Image courtesy of Hotel Zoo Berlin.
After a long sleep, I’m ready for ‘Sunrise Yoga’. The sessions run on the rooftop from 8 am until 9 am (so a little after sunrise) on Tuesdays and Thursdays. You can book with the hotel reception or head to the lobby a little before 8 am to sign up. Alex from Lululemon ran my session. I couldn’t have been more excited to practice yoga on the rooftop of such an incredible hotel. Alex was the perfect teacher, blending her relaxed easy-going personality with gentle encouragement when I was a little wobbly. After the session, there was fresh fruit and plenty of water on offer.
The Hotel Zoo Berlin isn’t just a luxury hotel: it’s a gateway to the historic Kurfürstendamm. The boulevard began as corduroy road between a hunting palace in Grunewald Forest and the Berlin City Palace around 1685. Today, the only hunting going on around this street is for a new addition to your wardrobe. Modelled after the Champs-Elysées in Paris, Kurfürstendamm serves as Berlin’s prime luxury shopping street, and it’s quite impossible to resist.
Modern-day Gatsbys and bohemians gather at Grace Bar. Image courtesy of Hotel Zoo Berlin.
After a day of shopping, I head to the Hotel Zoo Berlin’s Grace Bar – a 1920s speak-easy. This is a place for wealthy bohemians and creative souls to discuss the world over a cocktail or two. Guests, locals, and visitors are welcome to enjoy the signature and classic cocktails on the menu. I recommend the Hillside Sour – Apostles Mate Gin, Pandan Syrup and Matcha Powder (yum!). If the weather is nice, take your cocktails to the rooftop bar for some sun and relaxation.
Rooftop relaxation. Image courtesy of Hotel Zoo Berlin.
Mahala Wallace stayed as a guest of Hotel Zoo Berlin. All images courtesy of Hotel Zoo Berlin
For more personalised information tips and advice, or to book this incredible holiday contact your local TravelManagers’ personal travel manager here.