The Hotel Adlon Kempinski is a German institution, having hosted names including Charlie Chaplin, Albert Einstein, Franklin D Roosevelt, and Michael Jackson. After being destroyed in World War II, tens of millions of dollars were spent on a renovation, and since its rebirth, the hotel has risen to become one of the country’s most prestigious hotels.
Walking past Berlin’s iconic Brandenburg Gate to the front doors of Hotel Adlon, it’s hard not to acknowledge, first and foremost, that this hotel has one of the most breathtaking locations in the city. But while many hotels would rest on its well-located position, Hotel Adlon delivers an exceptional hospitality through its meticulously presented interiors, welcome amenities, and unparalleled customer service. Its suites present guests with comfort and convenience - touches like men’s razors and shave gel or shower loofahs and bath salts are, while minor, a pleasant surprise. The view from the northwest-facing rooms is truly breathtaking. To open your bedroom window at night to a full, unobstructed view of the Brandenburg Gate, lit up in all its glory is nothing short of astonishing. The suites’ mahogany furniture manage to balance that difficult line of pristine elegance, and homely comfort.
The hotel boasts 385 rooms, as well as a truly outstanding spa. Boasting a majestic underground heated pool, Jacuzzi, fitness center, steam room and dry sauna, the impressive facilities add to the Adlon’s list of ways guests can relax and rejuvenate in its glamorous setting.
But the jewel in the Adlon crown lies in its more than impressive dining opportunities. This hotel is a gourmand’s paradise. Waking up to what I’m confident is one of Europe’s best hotel buffet breakfasts, guests start their day with not only the standard spread of breads, pastries, meats and cheeses, but eggs prepared by dedicated chef stations, a selection of international hot foods, and specially prepared breakfast items can also be ordered from the menu. But the decadence lies in the selection of a variety of smoked salmon and caviar at the buffet. Sitting in the morning sunshine, in the beautifully classic dining room, with a view of the Brandenburg Gate can only be topped off with the complimentary champagne served with the buffet breakfast - even if it is 8 a.m. on a Monday morning.
In the warmer months, a meal at Adlon’s restaurant Quarre, is a must do. Sitting outside on the terrace, literally yards from the Brandenburg Gate, guests can feast on German classics that have undergone a modern revamp. Perfectly cooked scallops with a creamy and subtle celery puree, a thin slither of a rich, salty Parma ham, and sherry jus all work together to provide the perfectly flavor-filled bite. The veal meatballs, a German classic, are served with béchamel and white wine sauce, with capers, beetroot and mashed potato. It’s a wonderfully rich dish, with the creamy potato and earthy beet wonderfully complementing the heavy saltiness of the meatballs. But for the ultimate German comfort food, order Quarre’s Wiener schnitzel – tender, flavorsome veal with a golden brown breading, accompanied by a potato cucumber salad. It’s salty and crispy, tart and creamy - and the perfect way to warm up on a cold Berlin afternoon.
You can’t come to Berlin without having currywurst, and while the original iconic dish dates back to 1949, the Adlon is famous for its reinvention of this traditional snack. A fatty and indulgent sausage is topped with a secret recipe of sauces - with spicy curry, and rich and sweet tomato. Served with fries, it’s then topped with gold flakes - apt for the regal setting of the Adlon. It does come with a suitably prestigious price tag, though. At €17, it’s the most expensive currywurst in Berlin, but for many foodie tourists, it’s a taste worth paying for.
But the highlight for food-focused travelers to Hotel Adlon is, most certainly, Lorenz Adlon Esszimmer. A two Michelin-star restaurant often described as the best in Berlin, it’s a true feast for the senses, where chef Hendrik Otto plates up a creative ensemble of dishes reflecting the hotel’s illustrious past. Dishes are influenced by characteristics of the Adlon, from its location and accessibility to local produce to tones of the elegance and magnificence throughout the hotel. Otto’s langoustine course drenches the beautifully succulent pieces of seafood in a wonderfully aromatic broth. The perfectly cooked langoustine is fragrant and warming, and bursts of Pastis caviar punch through the incredibly smooth and effortless dish. A baked chin of pork, served with glazed Roscoff onions joins the podium as another noteworthy course. The pork is braised for several hours and then coated with white rice and buckwheat, on top of a slightly smoked potato puree, with pear vinegar gravy. “We tried at least 15 times until we got to the dish we are serving today, and faced the challenge of how to integrate the sweetness with the pepperiness, the softness with the crispy parts of it,” Otto explains to me. And his dedication to extensive trial and error results in a wonderfully smokey and deep flavor, a hint of acidity from the gravy balancing out the full body and rich fattiness of the meat. Each bite of the flakey pork punctures through its wonderful outer crunch to a center of smooth and flavorsome meat.
Otto’s ability to create a menu that references both Germany’s traditional culinary past, and Adlon’s current elegance results in a dining experience that’s worthy of its international acclaim. It’s an excitingly creative menu, and each dish is executed with true passionate precision. It’s one reason, albeit a significant one, that Hotel Adlon Kempinski reigns as a true example of German luxury and grandeur. From its phenomenal dining opportunities to the warmth and class of its welcoming hospitality, Hotel Adlon Kempinski is one of Europe’s obligatory destinations for international food travelers.