So, here at Friday Cool we decided we needed a city/town break. Over the years we have ticked off Paris several times, Bruges, Amsterdam, Deauville, Rome, Venice and so on. We have always had a capuchino coffee approach with our culture, all light and frothy. This time though we wanted to be a bit more cultural. We want to look at the war museums, the architecture, the Bauhaus movement and of course as keen photographers the Helmut Newton Foundation. We want to come away with a wall photo taken in Berlin and in homage to the great Helmut Newton. A tall order indeed.
This then will need planning and the first necessity is picking a Friday Cool hotel. A hotel with the right style , ambience and location. Hotel Zoo Berlin does this perfectly.
The following is taken from The Daily Telegraph when it looked at the hotel after its latest renovation back in 2014.
Hotel Zoo Berlin’s return to glory
Previously a stomping ground for the likes of Marlene Dietrich, Berlin’s Hotel Zoo is refurbished, reopened and ready to welcome glamorous guests once more
When Berlin’s Hotel Zoo reopened this November, it was a welcome return to glory for one of the city’s most glamorous properties.
Originally built in the late 19th century as a private residence for notable Prussian architect Alfred Messel (responsible for the city’s Pergamon Museum), it was converted into a hotel in 1911. Having survived two world wars and the liberal experiments of the Weimar era, it emerged – somewhat remarkably – as the official VIP location for the Berlin International Film Festival (die Berlinale), hosting everyone from Romy Schneider and Marlene Dietrich to Hildegard Knef within its glamorous confines.
It was the building‘s 1950s renovations that gave the hotel its current form. Overseen by architect Paul Baumgarten (who worked on the 1961 reconstructions of the Reichstag), the hotel gained two new floors at the front, an additional floor on each side wing and newly built bathrooms. The most recent renovations, completed over the last two years and unveiled in November, have added additional floors to the rear and side wings and a brand new 200sq m, two-story annex in the rear of the building that houses a ground floor restaurant and meeting rooms.
From the dramatic entrance corridor, laid with a Diane von Furstenberg-designed 22-metre-long jade-colored carpet (complete with interwoven crouching leopards) it’s clear the new owners intend to re-capture something of the establishment’s post-war glory.
A major part of this plan is the enlistment of Emmy-nominated husband-and-wife design team Dayna Lee and Ted Berner of Powerstrip Studio, whose backgrounds in Hollywood art direction, set decor and production design make them perfect fit for the challenge. While some of the features from the original building have been retained (exposed brickwork, old steel beams, gilt balcony balustrades on the facade), it’s Lee and Berner’s cinematic imaginations that provide the hotel’s most jaw-dropping moments.
The Living Room, for example, matches grandiose dimensions – seven-metre-high ceilings, industrial glass and steel windows –to an array of aptly dramatic pieces, such as an immense ceiling molding, oversized mirrors and paintings and a six-metre walnut door. The room is studded with more intimate touches, such as brown leather Baxter club chairs, custom-made coffee tables and bookshelves stacked with attractive tomes, which lend a stately but seductive air. (A long double-sided fireplace, which connects through to a small but charming winter garden, helps keep things cosy.)
The same aesthetic awaits guests in the 145 bedrooms and suites. Ranging from 18 to 145 square metres, room are finished in gentle lilacs and creamy whites, and blend classic furnishings (leather armchairs, heavy curtains, walnut cabinets) with contemporary touches such as Apple TVs and fine-art fashion prints by photographer Andreas Kock. The bathrooms, which offer either rain showers or bathtubs, come with boutique products such as Maison Martin Margiela-designed towels and nightshirts, and a special designed nail polish – the same jade-green colour as the carpet in the hallway – by local cosmetic company Uslu Airlines.
The 15 suites are especially indulgent – particularly the sixth-floor penthouse suites, which feature bespoke fireplaces, freestanding bathtubs and George Smith sofas, alongside floor-to-ceiling windows, spacious living areas and a walk-in closet. Back downstairs, the low-lit Grace Bar, with its handsome wooden bar, is ideal for intimate tete-a-tetes; and although it’s only used as a breakfast room at the moment, the spacious restaurant will soon be serving Asian cuisine with an Italian twist.
If you do manage to get outside, you’ll find yourself slap-bang in the middle of the city’s most historic shopping boulevard. Berlin’s first Apple store is right next door, luxury boutiques abound, and the newly refurbished Bikini Mall is just around the corner.
HOTEL ZOO BERLIN
+49 30 884370
We will do a Segway tour for an overview flavour.
berlin.citysegwaytours.com will fix this for us and then as said the Helmut Newton Foundation and The Bauhaus Museum are also on the list.
Shopping is taken care of on the famous street the hotel is on, and jazz for the evening is nearby too.
All I need then is the energy!