Sometimes names can be deceiving. Hotel de Rome is a perfect example. The property isn’t located in Rome. It’s set in the Mitte district, in what was once East Berlin. It’s a hotel with a story to tell, and thanks to a stylish interior design and intriguing history, guests find it hard not to pay attention.
Built in 1889 as the Dresdner Bank headquarters, it became the State Bank of the GDR when the area became the Soviet sector after World War II, and closed when the Berlin Wall fell in 1989. In 2003, it was renovated and became a Rocco Forte Hotel, named after a 19th century property that once called the area home.
Traces of the buildings past have been well integrated into current day use. The bank’s main hall is now a ballroom. Bank Directors’ offices are historic suites. (In some there’s still shrapnel in the walls.) What was once a jewel vault is now a spa, complete with an indoor pool.
Hotel de Rome has 145 rooms and suites, divided into nine categories. Junior Suites are spacious with a king size bed and contemporary décor that includes splashes of red. The loveseat sofa and two chairs are conducive to lounging, and plants and cut flowers contribute to the room’s relaxed and comfortable feel.
Atop a desk large enough to work or charge the many electronics that come with traveling, there’s a Nespresso machine and power converter. It’s hard to imagine anyone traveling with enough clothes to fill the walk-in closet. The bathroom has a separate bathtub and shower, along with a heated floor and towel rail.
Large windows allow ample natural light and fresh air into the room, but once the windows are closed, the room is silent. A window shade and curtain combination successfully keep light out when sleeping is the priority.
Bottled water is re-stocked daily, and housekeeping is attentive to details like replenishing low tubes of toothpaste for guests without being asked.
A gourmet buffet breakfast is served in Restaurant La Banca, located in the lobby, directly across from the front desk. The La Banca Garden is the place to sit on sunny days. Breakfast is not included in the rate, but if you indulge, chances are you’ll wind up skipping lunch. Italian food dominates the menu other times of day. The La Banca Bar is adjacent to the restaurant.
The hotel’s location at Berlin’s historic Bebelplatz makes exploring the Mitte district easy. Popular sites like the Brandenburg Gate (Brandenburger Tor) and the Reichstag (German Parliament) are within walking distance. Bicycles are available to rent, and public transportation including city rail, (S-Bahn) and the subway, (U-Bahn) are also located nearby. Berlin Tegel Airport is about a 15-minute drive.
Wi-Fi is complimentary and available throughout the hotel. Skip the elevator at least once and take the stairs located off the lobby. The lighting and architecture is worth the workout.
Review and photos by Dana Rebmann. Her stay was hosted by Hotel de Rome, airberlin and Visit Berlin, but as always, her thoughts and opinions are her own.