November 24-26, 2016
Room Rate: 150 Euro
Two flights and about 12 hours after we left New York on Thanksgiving weekend, and we were finally in Berlin!Looking for a Snapshot of the trip? Jump to the Takeaway
We arrived at the hotel around 3:30 pm and were immediately greeted by staff who assisted us with our luggage and showed us to the front desk.
The front desk associate gave us lots of information the hotel, and let me know that my rate came with breakfast. She did mention that I had booked for only 1 person (odd) so it would be an extra 20€ for Brian. Since we were traveling with our dog Marshall, and dogs were not allowed in the restaurant, we decided to pass on breakfast as my platinum amenity. (Although funny enough we ended up spending at least 20€ on breakfast between the two of us each morning). She went on to find us an available room and mentioned out loud she would try to find us something “very nice”. Though we didn’t receive an upgrade on this trip, I wasn’t too surprised, since we were traveling with a dog.
The lobby was looking a little older looking in design, though they had updated furniture to dress up the space (more on that later). The centerpiece without a doubt was the gorgeous staircase , which took you up to the next floor up. The lobby was decked out in holiday flair, with Christmas trees and lights at every corner.
The elevator bank was located behind the staircase and housed 4 elevators. Though the elevator frame had gorgeous gold detail, the doors themselves were glass so you could see when an elevator car pulled up.
Our room was located on the sixth floor, and once we walked out of the elevator, we had a stunning view of the open hallways and the atrium.
Looking down the atrium, I had a stunning view of the Christmas tree chandelier.
Our room was located down one hallway, which took us to the back of the building.
At the end of the hallway, we hit a set of stairs, which housed some “sixth floor rooms” (suites, I suspect).
Our room was located in the hallway behind the staircase. This section looked like it was a separate building that was newly remodeled in comparison to the rest of the hotel.
The door opened up to a small entryway, with the closet on one side and bathroom on the other. The door was a little odd in that it was quite heavy and cumbersome to open from the inside.
As I walked in, the TV and desk were on the left side of the room.
On the right side of the room was the king sized bed, which had a bedside table on each side.
I found the bed to be comfortable, but Brian thought it was a bit too hard and didn’t sleep too well on it. I did, however, find the pillows to be too soft and a little flat and had to double up pillows to get comfortable.
Each bedside table also had an outlet (my favorite!) and a switch to control the bedroom lights.
Next to the bed was a plush overstuffed chair. The side table held a bottle of water and glasses. The bottle had a tag that read “Hydrate”, but we weren’t sure if this was the complimentary bottle of water that came with the room or if there was a charge (though there was no price on the tag or on the mini bar menu for this particular item). We were never charged for this item when we checked out, so it looks like that we had assumed correctly about this.
The closet area was fairly sizeable. On the far left was a built-in luggage rack.
In the drawer under the luggage rack was a shoe horn, shoe shine cloth and a shoe bag.
The closet held an iron, an ironing board, and a spare bathrobe.
There was a Tassimo coffee maker, plus a few T-discs.
The minibar was located below the coffeemaker, and had a pretty standard selection of juice, water, soda, beer and wine.
Above the coffeemaker was the safe. Using it was pretty standard and didn’t require any knowledge of rocket science to operate.
While the room was a bit on the dim side, the bathroom, in contrast, was bright and white. The design was pretty minimalist, but there was plenty of counter space, which is very much appreciated when two people share the bathroom.
The counter area extended behind the toilet.
The sink area came with standard amenities – cotton pads, toiletries, and a shower cap. The toiletries had the same new bottling that I had at the Westin O’Hare. I couldn’t find the tissue box right away, and I realized it was in a built-in holder within the sink.
Similarly, the hairdryer was tucked away in a drawer built into the sink area.
On the wall was an electric outlet and, what I eventually realized was, a bathroom radio.
The shower was a decent sized space, though had a bit of an unusual design. In an attempt to give the bathroom a modern look, there was only a small glass panel to keep the water from spraying outwards. The shower space was a little less than an inch deeper in the floor than the rest of the bathroom, to keep the water from trickling out, but the water didn’t drain out fast enough. If I moved around even just a little bit, the water would spill. It wasn’t troublesome enough for me to complain about it, but it was definitely a bit odd.
The shower came with both a rainforest shower and a handheld showerhead. The water pressure on the rainforest shower wasn’t particularly strong, though that’s probably a good thing, given the design of the shower stall.
A bathrobe was hanging by the shower and door.
Shortly after we settled in, someone came by with a welcome gift of nuts and fruit.
After our flight in, we were much more exhausted than I thought we’d be, so we opted to order room service instead of heading out to dinner. We both ended up (unusually) ordering spaghetti, which was oddly not terrible, but I couldn’t tell if I was starving.
Technology & Entertainment
The next morning, I couldn’t sleep and got up to use my laptop on the desk. I noticed there was a tablet, which I fired up and found it was loaded with hotel information and – even better – you could order room service from it! I unfortunately didn’t get to test it out while I was there, but this is great for when you don’t feel like reading your order out loud.
While the hotel had lots of updated touches – new furniture, modern light fixtures and the like – the building still felt very old (in an updated in the 50s way). Even so, the new pieces definitely give the property a more modern look, and the feel was without a doubt very Westin-esque.
I will say one oddity about the lobby set up is that there was a lack of chairs for just lounging. All the seating (which was plentiful) seemed to be purposefully used for bar/restaurant dining. I found two chairs in the entire lobby that didn’t seem to be intended for dining use.
Outside the hotel was also more dining tables. The chairs all had blankets on them for use and the area was lined with heat lamps. Brian and I intended to sit outside one night and enjoy a beer and people watch, but we were far too tired at the end of every day to do this, unfortunately.
Prior to visiting, I typically contact the contact the concierge to get recommendations and assistance with booking things in advance. I did the same thing here, though I found the concierge to be a little less than eager to help. They were not in any way rude, but I would say I almost felt like I was bothering them when I reached out with questions. A little bit unusual, but definitely not a make or break situation in regards to the property.
As a first time visitor to Berlin, I thought this hotel was very centrally located and made visiting lots of the major sights incredibly easy.
I do think, however, the location is less great for seeing more of Berlin outside the standard tourist sights. It seemed that everything else we wanted to do (well, eat) was much further away from the hotel. Even so, there is something to be said for the convenience of having plenty of quick restaurants and stores within walking distance. Especially handy: an H&M across the street when Brian realized he forgot to bring his gloves.
Overall, I was happy with my stay at the Westin Grand Berlin (though it paled in comparison to the next property we stayed at!). The hotel was not highly service oriented, but if you’re planning on staying here for anything other than that, this is a good property to do so.
Make a Green Choice: Yes
Check In: 9/10 – A little slow for some reason, though the staff was very polite and cheerful
Elite Recognition: 8/10 – No upgrades (though the front desk associate mentioned she was trying to find a “nice” room for me), received the standard SPG platinum amenity and welcome gift.
Room: 8/10 – The bathroom was nicely redone, however, the bedroom felt like it was halfway through a makeover.
In-Room Technology & Entertainment: 9/10 – Large TV, outlets by the bed, tablet with hotel information (and functional too!), plus the standard free wifi.
Staff: 8/10 – Staff was as nice as they needed to be, didn’t feel that service was lacking per se, though hardly exceptional.
Location: 9/10 – Great if you’re in town to see the sights, less so if you’re looking to explore more unique areas.
On-Site Dining: 8/10 – It was good, but my opinion might be swayed by my hunger.
On-Site Amenities: 8/10 – There was an indoor pool, which I unfortunately didn’t have time to use.
Hospitality Services: 7/10– I honestly felt like I was bothering the concierge when I would send emails.
Hotel Appearance: 8/10 – The building is beautiful, but there’s something about the interior of the building that looks dated, but not in a charming way.
Overall Rating: 82/100 (82%) ★★★★★
At the rate we paid, we would definitely consider staying here again, though I would be open to staying elsewhere. During our visit, there was only one other Starwood hotel in Berlin, a Sheraton, which was less centrally located. Since then, a Design Hotel has since joined the program. I would consider staying at the other properties if I was trying to stick to Starwood on my next visit, however, for a first time visitor to the city, I would definitely recommend this hotel just for the convenience.
There is no shortage of other hotels in the city, of course. You’ll find a Ritz Carlton, a Sofitel, and a Grand Hyatt to name a few. Or you can make like President Obama and stay at the Hotel Adlon.