Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Berlin and Hilton Berlin

It's normally best to say What happens in Berlin, stays in Berlin. However, for once, I can claim to be all sweetness and light. After arriving at the hotel, I unpacked, took a shower, had a bit of a rest and then wandered off in the general direction of the U-Bahn to find out how bad the U2 disruptions were. It wasn't too bad, but any late night forays to Motzstraße would really mean a taxi back. So perhaps I might check out P'Berg instead ;-)

With my foot playing up a bit, I didn't want to walk too far, so I U-Bahn'ed to Alexanderplatz, had a coffee stop and got the tram a few stops to look around some shops and buildings, I then had another coffee and headed off to find something to eat. I wasn't spectacularly hungry and nothing really appealed so I S-Bahn'ed and U-Bahn'ed back to the hotel and sorted out my email inbox and ordered a Club Sandwich about 9pm. That's when I found out about the great Cucumber problem.

After a good nights sleep, I went for an early breakfast in the restaurant (as opposed to the lounge) and then headed off to meet my friend at the ZOB. That was quite complex journey on the U-Bahn and I resolved to get a taxi back, the bus was a bit late in from Dresden, so I took a walk around and admired the radio building and tower which is just up the street.

We then spent the day being tourists, the Wall, the TV tower, Alexanderplatz, Potsdamer Platz, Checkpoint Charlie and even a short foray into Kreuzberg. We ended up watching the football back in the hotel with some bottle of beer after a short dip into the hotel lounge for snacks. It was a nice day but a bit windy and the weather could have been a bit better.

Sunday dawned early and we had breakfast in the lounge and then a whistle top tour of Charlottenburg and the Tiergarten before my friend caught his bus back. I then crashed out for a couple of hours, before going to have dinner with friends in Schöneberg, Sunday evening was particularly nice weather - a precursor of the next day.

As for the hotel, the Berlin Hilton has long been a favourite of mine, whilst MItte can be a bit soulless, its position by the Gendarmenmarkt and Stadtmitte U-Bahn station is hard to beat. I've always had good service there as well. They have refreshed the rooms recently and it's a good refresh, a better bathroom and improvements to the desk and bed as well. The storage is better organised and ample. Housekeeping are efficient, but if you don't use the Do Not Disturb sign, they will start knocking at 8am. As a Gold status member, I got a welcome gift of some dried banana slices covered in chocolate (yum) and a litre of mineral water every day.

The new lounge was a vast improvement, whilst missing the great views from the old lounge, it's about three times the size. This resolves the problems with seating that could occur at breakfast and at cocktail time. There's also a nice array of seating, from tables to bench tables to comfy chairs by the window, a small area with three computers that work and some side rooms which can be used for meetings.

The food and drink are similar to what used to be there. There's a slightly larger range of food, both hot and cold of a good quality. I every much enjoyed the mini-kebabs and BBQ chicken cones on the Sunday night. My friend had high praise for the fish goujons and prawn kebabs the night before.

I hope to return in August and at New Year/Silvester. I would always think of here first when staying in Berlin, although if the room rate continues to climb.....

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