Jennifer Vogel is a pretty special hotelier. She and her husband, Philipp Vogel, had both worked in one of Europe’s most established luxury hotels, Adlon Kempinski, Berlin, but they both wanted to do their own thing. Jump forward to August 2017, when the Vogels opened the fascinating Orania.Berlin Hotel, Restaurant, Bar, Concepts. At the north-east corner of Oranienplatz, the five-floor building was opened in 1914 as a grand café. Managing partner is Dieter Mueller-Elmau, who invented Fidelio and sold it to another hotel system, Opera. He is obviously a lover of many arts disciplines, as will become apparent below, and he is also a creator. It is he, as owner, who has basically done the hotel’s interior.
The building is L-shaped. The ground floor has 12-foot windows looking out into Leuschnerdamm and Oranienstrasse and Oranienplatz, and an L-shaped bar with 15 leather-seated chairs with backs, right round to the one restaurant (this is Philipp Vogel’s territory: while Jennifer is the hotel manager it is her husband, who had a Michelin star at the Hotel Palais Hansen Kempinski in Vienna, who heads the food and drink, so successfully that all 60 seats are full at lunch and dinner). I love the restaurant. See my breakfast eggs, above. Much to my surprise the gorgeous plate is Dibbern, which has the china contract throughout the entire 41-room hotel.
Dieter Mueller-Elmau obviously lives culture. Bookcases in the main ground floor area are filled with German hardbacks. A prominent grand piano is a reminder that at least every night there is a serious event, up in fifth floor salons. I was going out to dinner, but that night there was a Thibault Falk piano recital, 8-10pm. To take three days mid-month, 17 March is a Benedikt Jahnel piano evening, 18 March is jazz, and on 19 March there are two consecutive events, a classical hour of soprano and klavier, 7-8 p.m., followed by two hours of Declan Forde on the piano. What an admirable benefit not only for hotel guests but for Berliners who are lucky enough to live nearby.
The people at Orania.Berlin also appreciate wellness. There is a charming inner courtyard for fresh-air dining when the weather allows, and the basement gym, 24/7, is first class. He also obviously has a sense of fun – I spoke to a young front desk man who moved here from a legacy-hotel competitor (this is fun, he said). A china elephant stands at the foot of the original-1914 staircase, and when I climbed 78 stairs to the third floor, to room 307, I found I shared it with about 90 elephants, printed on the dull-persimmon fabric that forms the headboard and cushions, including on big window seats at both windows – see the video below. The windows open, by the way, and toiletries are local-organic, i&m, in big pump-pots. This is the ideal luxury hotel for those who want history, culture and delightful people. SEE ROOM 307, AT NIGHT