Pullman Schweizerhof, Berlin

The location

What sounded like a better deal and the prospect of an Accor loyalty points windfall persuaded me to stay away from the Grand Hotel Esplanade, one of my favourite hotels. The Pullman is located right next to the zoo, close to the main shopping streets of former West Berlin. You will be within walking distance of KaDeWe, as well as within walking distance of Tiergarten. The S-Bahn station Zoologisher Garten will allow you to be within minutes of FriedrichStrasse to discover the wealth of Berlin museums.

The hotel lobby is impressive and spacious, staff polite and efficient.

ImageThe room

My room was located in a very quiet corner of the hotel, but I had never seen anything like that to access it: you had to climb a flight of stairs, get an elevator down, walk along a long corridor, climb a few other stairs, then finally get in another elevator.

It was nicely set up, with a window-facing desk and enough space and light. The TV had a wide range of channels (including BBC1 and 2, which I had practically never seen before apart from in Denmark) and free Wifi was provided.

The dated-looking bathroom was a letdown but good-quality Roger & Gallet toiletries were replenished regularly.

The meals

Altogether, I would recommend steering clear of the hotel meals, be they room service or in the restaurant downstairs. The dishes seem to follow the same pattern and are fairly overpriced. For a nice snack, I would recommend retreating to the nearby Intercontinental. For meals, try the Burger de Ville van opposite the Waldorf Astoria on Hardenbergstrasse, the Ming Dynastie or Suksan (Thai food) on Ansbacher Strasse.

The facilities

Access to the swimming pool and sauna is free of charge for guests. The pool is large enough for a good swim. Also be aware the Sauna is in Germany, so public nudity is to be expected.

The breakfast

The hotel does a decent cooked breakfast, with plenty of options on offer. Don’t forget to ask for expresso coffee.

The price

In the range of 150 euros a night, breakfast included. All in all, very decent value for money, but in the ultra competitive world of Berlin hotels, the Esplanade remains a benchmark for me and I may be exploring other options as I return to this fantastic city.

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