BERLIN, Germany – When heading to the Ritz-Carlton, whatever city I choose, one thing is certain: I’ll find a combination of luxury and attentive staff. The Ritz-Carlton Berlin is no exception. From its rooms to its amenities to its super comfy beds to its over-the-top lobby, the Ritz-Carlton by Marriott is always a thrill.
However I tried, for the first time in my career, the “club lounge access”. It was an experience I’ll never forget! It’s truly difficult to get back to real life after being treated the way the people at the Ritz in Berlin treated me.
I walked through the giant doors and got in by the lobby. I didn’t exactly notice what was in front of me at that time because I headed directly to the check-in counter. When I gave the uniformed man my last name, he quickly called one of his colleagues and asked me to follow him: “You have ‘club access’, sir; you can go check-in there.” I wasn’t sure what that meant, but gladly followed the man to the 10th floor.
A desk, a large bookcase, a comfy chair, a helpful lady, and a glass of champagne were waiting for me. The lady took my passport while I sipped on the bubbly; two more nice ladies came and greeted me by name; I was given a tour of the premises.
The first thing I noticed – it’s difficult to admit – are the many bottles of house-made “rhum arrangés”, or rums infused with different herbs, spices, fruits, in the same fashion as is done in Madagascar, among other places. They were placed on a tray next to a few bottles of liquor; and then I saw, in the corner, a buffet. That’s when one of the employees of the lounge explained what ‘club access’ includes.
With club access, you get free super-high-speed internet, complimentary meals (yes, all of them, from a luxurious buffet that changes three times daily), complimentary drinks (yes, they will shake you as many cocktails as you want), free ironing for up to two shirts per day (and we all know how expensive these are in luxury hotels), a good selection of dailies and magazines, and, well, the nice lady doing the check-in doubles as a concierge!
If you thought that the service at the Ritz-Carlton is usually top-notch, wait until you try the “club lounge access”. I got a beautiful old-fashioned as a digestif after helping myself to probably too many slices of smoked salmon for dinner and tartufos for dessert. All complimentary!
Ritz-Carlton Berlin: What a hotel!
The main reason why I book a hotel is to – surprise! – sleep, and so even though club access is nice, what’s most important is the bed. In this very case, I stayed in a junior suite. The king-sized bed, with its super fluffy giant eiderdown and massive pillows, was difficult to get out of in the morning – in a good way. The bathroom, entirely made of marble, was filled with Asprey products, including soap and shampoo.
Another plus: there probably cannot be a better location in Berlin. The main entrance of the Ritz-Carlton is across the street from Potsdamer Platz and overseeing Tiergarten, Berlin’s answer to Central Park. It’s about 1 kilometer from the Brandenburg Gate and most of the sights of the city, which means that all the must-sees of the city are pretty much within walking distance.
Ritz-Carlon Berlin: Food, Drink, and Other Nice Things
The lobbies in Ritz-Carltons around the world are grandiose, and Berlin’s is no exception. The hotel also boasts two different cocktail bars.
The Curtain Club, mixes classic cocktails and a few creations in a felted atmosphere.
However I was truly impressed by the ingenuity behind Fragrances, where mixologists try to recreate, through the medium of cocktail, the scents and aromas of the most famous eaux de toilette in the world. From “Si by Giorgio Armani” to “La nuit de l’homme by Yves Saint-Laurent”, some of the most famous perfumes are transformed into a cocktail. It is, indeed, a unique place.
The hotel’s restaurant, Brasserie Desbrosses is a replica of a French brasserie. The owners of the Ritz even imported from France a vintage bar and storefront, restored it and use it today as part of the restaurant. There, I had a good little lunch, including a delicious oxtail soup dish, which included fresh grated horseradish. This soup was so well prepared that the collagen in the soup made my lips stick together!
A modest gym, jacuzzi and swimming pool are accessible 24/7 in the basement of the hotel. However I have to admit that I have not taken advantage of these amenities. Who needs a gym and a swimming pool when the Tiergarten is across the street from the hotel? It’s such a beautiful place for a morning jog, and the hotel organizes group jogs for anybody who’s interested in joining. That’s a great way to start the day.
Some of the aforementioned amenities have become somewhat expected for regular clients of the Ritz. After all, it is one of the most famous luxury brands in the world, and for good reason. However what was a first for me was the “club lounge” experience. Now that’s something to experience at least once in your life!
Ritz-Carlton Berlin – Potsdamer Platz 3, 10785 Berlin