Todays’s review is by reader ‘Roffen Explorer’.
Booking and getting to Berlin
In late August 2019, my wife and I took a three-night break to Berlin. We booked on the BA website as part of the ‘100% extra Avios’ BA Centenary promotion. We had previously visited Seville back in May. You can read my review of the Gran Melia Colon here.
BA has a very regular service from LHR T5 to Berlin. We chose a late afternoon departure outbound and an evening flight inbound to London to maximise our final day in the German capital. The flight is scheduled to take 2 hours, but both sectors we flew were completed in 1 hour 25 minutes. For Club Europe passengers, you will earn 80 tier points for the trip. Pending the long-awaited opening of the new Brandenburg Airport, BA currently flies into Tegel airport. This was designed for minimum ‘ground time’ in the 1970s, before security screening was compulsory. This means that Tegel offers a very distinctive experience to its customers, which would warrant a review in its own right!
In 2017, we enjoyed a lovely stay at the Ritz-Carlton, Toronto. So the Ritz Carlton, Berlin was an obvious choice for us.
When we can, we try to book ‘club level’ access as the benefits are usually well worth the additional cost. This trip was no exception.
The Ritz-Carlton, Berlin is situated in the heart of the city in Potsdamer Platz, just a short walk from the Brandenburg Gate. The area consists of modern high rise buildings, having been situated in ‘no man’s land’ during the period when the city was divided during the Cold War. Potsdamer Platz is well served by the S Bahn and Metro which are very efficient and safe means of transport in the city. We only used taxis for airport transfers. The hotel has recently benefitted from a complete renovation.
Check-in was relatively straightforward. Although we were a little disappointed that there was no one available to show us to our rooms. This is a really important touch for us when you arrive at a hotel for the first time, and we were left wandering the lobby for a while trying to find the lifts. With Club level rooms, the intention is that guests should be accommodated on the same floor as the lounge, but unfortunately, there was insufficient space for this to happen to us. Instead, we had a 9th-floor room with the lounge being located on the 10th floor.
The room was large, for a European city hotel, with a bathroom (with separate shower) straight off the entrance. The room had all the usual amenities one would expect in a hotel of this class, and we were pleased that still mineral water was provided free of charge. The bed was a generous super king size, and was extremely comfortable.
There was a well-stocked mini bar, and coffee machine in the room, as well as the usual TV and radio facilities. The room featured USB charging points so that we could easily charge our electronic devices without resorting to travel adaptors. The air conditioning in the room was very responsive, although it wouldn’t go below 17 degrees.
Turn down was accompanied by a small piece of German chocolate each.
The bathroom was a good size with smart black and cream marble finishes. There was a double sink with plenty of room to put your personal effects.
There was also a deep soaking tub and a separate shower cubicle.
Club Room Benefits
Staying in a club room came with a range of benefits. These included complimentary shoe shine and garment pressing. One benefit we particularly enjoyed was complimentary coffee which was delivered each morning with a wake up call.
The most obvious benefit of booking a club room, though, is the use of the lounge. The lounge was a quiet haven at the top of the building. As had been the case at the Ritz-Carlton, Toronto, the staff in the Berlin lounge offered exemplary customer service. They consistently went above and beyond what was required of them. When I remarked that I enjoyed the German red wine offering in the lounge (Rings Haupstadt), the staff – completely unprompted by us – arranged for a bottle to be delivered to our room – free of charge.
As we’d arrived slightly late on the first evening we tried the ‘dinner buffet’ which featured a beautifully cooked lamb dish. As one would expect for a lounge dinner, the portion sizes weren’t huge, but we’d had plenty to eat that day. During the rest of our stay, we enjoyed both breakfast (with freshly prepared eggs as part of the offering) and lunch. The staff were faultlessly attentive and helped us with directions to different attractions.
Whilst the hotel was busy and we weren’t able to stay in our room beyond 1 pm on the final day, we were invited to continue using the lounge and its facilities before heading to the airport. This was particularly welcome, as the temperature outside had topped 30 degrees throughout our stay.
Food and drink
The hotel boasts a restaurant ‘Pots’ on the Ground Floor, as well as a lobby bar. Sadly on the night we’d hoped to dine in ‘Pots’, the restaurant was closed, do we didn’t get to try it. From the information about ‘Pots’ that we managed to glean, the restaurant specialises in modern German cuisine, rather than trying to be all things to all people which is so often the case in restaurants in international hotels.
Spa and pool
The hotel has a spa, gym and pool located in the basement. We used the pool facilities but were a little disappointed that the pool was little bigger than a large bath. During our visit to the pool, the steam room and sauna were switched off. Staff told us it would take at least half an hour for it to reach the desired temperature – so sadly we didn’t have time to be able to try that out.
Was anything lacking?
Ritz-Carlton is a brand which is synonymous with luxury. Much of our experience was excellent. But we were disappointed by the absence of someone to show us to our rooms, the ‘unloved’ feel of the spa and pool, and the fact that the restaurant wasn’t available for us to use on the night we’d hoped to visit.
When you stay in a hotel like the Ritz-Carlton, it’s fair to say one arrives with expectations which are very high. Overall, we thoroughly enjoyed our stay. It has encouraged us to book at other Ritz Carlton properties and we would return to this hotel on a future visit to Berlin. Particular thanks must go to Ina and her colleagues in the club lounge who, through their attention to detail, went the extra mile to make sure our stay was memorable and enjoyable.
We would thoroughly recommend Berlin as a friendly and safe city to visit. The Ritz-Carlton is ideally located to explore the city. We’d have no hesitations in recommending it to other travellers. We look forward to visiting the city and hotel again soon.
Being part of Marriott, you could, of course, use Bonvoy points for your stay. A standard room redemption costs from around 40,000 points which is reasonable value.