The Waldorf Berlin felt over the top luxurious like a western 5-star hotel in Asia and had the design of New York City circa roaring 20s. With gorgeous, spacious rooms, excellent spa, and a great location, I can’t imagine anyone being unhappy here.
The location is great for walking West Berlin and enjoys easy access to the S, U-bahns, and the airport express bus to Tegel. The excellent zoo is across the street, and the fine shops of the KuDam including KaDeWe and most international retailers are a block away. However touristy East Berlin requires a 3-4 stop U-Bahn ride or a lengthy 45-minute walk through the Tiergarten (quite pleasant during good weather).
Classy, Spacious Rooms
While our King Junior Suite was only on the 5th floor, the room was sizable at 538 square feet (50m²) and had a great view over the historic Zoo station. The floor to ceiling windows were easily covered by manually operated black-out shades. The deep carpet and plush velour furniture look and feel rich, but may aggravate allergies (as they did mine). The rooms generally feel very quiet except when other guests allow their room doors to slam shut.
The room technology was probably cutting edge when the hotel opened in 2012. However, the two iMacs attached to each flatscreen TV are starting to feel a little old and superfluous in the age of smart TVs with built-in Google Chromecast and Apple Airplay.
Unlike newer hotels, there were no built-in USB outlets outside of the bedside JBL Bluetooth clock radio. The hotel kindly provided European to US power adapters (mine were lost by British Airways) but added a charge to my hotel bill, even though I returned them at checkout (the charge was later reversed after I called).
Elegant, Detailed Bathrooms with Deep Soaking Tub
The marble bathroom is super luxurious with great lighting and marble everywhere. The designers made great use of accent lighting including around the vanity mirror and above the separate, deep soaking tub.
The walk-in shower is similarly covered in marble on all surfaces and features both a rainfall and traditional bar-mount shower head. The toilet is in a separate water closet but was of standard European design (aka not electric bidet).
The spa is beautiful, and I loved the relatively large, uniquely shaped indoor pool, hot tub, and saunas. The spa is on the fifth floor, which meant that all we had to do was walk 1-minute from our room to get it–big perk!
I was pleasantly surprised at the hotel’s recognition of my Hilton Honors Diamond status. For my mid-week, 3-night stay in June, I was proactively upgraded prior to arrival from a King Deluxe to a King Junior Suite. Contrary to the reviews I had read on TripAdvisor and Flyertalk, I also received a complimentary, full breakfast. a fancy apple crisp/tart thing was waiting for us in the room. And of course premium wifi, bottled water, and free spa access was included.
While I enjoyed the complimentary breakfast, you can tell that the hotel is struggling to manage with the demand. The large breakfast room on the 1st floor looks like a converted ball room with very little in the way of style and can feel busy and cramped; by comparison, the ground floor cafe is much more attractive (but far too small)
Good Breakfast Buffet, Cafe, and Diamond Benefits
The international champagne buffet is fairly comprehensive and should please most people; however, the cooked to order dishes take way too long to deliver. Dishes like eggs Benedict and french toast are presented very artfully and are tasty, but take in excess of 30-minutes to prepare if they arrive at all. On my last day, my partner and I waited more than 45-minutes for the ordered dishes before just leaving without receiving them.
One evening my partner and I had the opportunity to try Roca restaurant on the first floor for dessert. The creamy chocolate cake (sahnatorte) was absolutely superb. I really liked the abundance of windows and classy, marble furniture. Of course the service was great too.
Prior to booking the Waldorf, I was also considering the Hilton Berlin in Mitte. The Hilton has an enviable location on the stunning Gendarmenmarkt and is more convenient to the tourist attractions in East Berlin. However, the immediate area is not as lively and I don’t imagine its rooms or breakfast is as comprehensive as the Waldorf.