There is, as always, an awful lot of eatin’n’drinking going on during Berlin’s annual ITB and one event that is always on the gal’s calendar is Wednesday night’s Steigenberger kitchen party. This is such a clever idea. The main Steigenberger Hotel Berlin, on Los-Angeles-Platz, is the venue for the party hosted by Steigenberger‘s owners, the absolutely charming El Chiaty family (the gal wants to know the secret of luxury hotelier Dora El Chiaty, who heads the company’s design division – she looks as if she has just come off a teenage catwalk at a top red carpet event and yet there she was, with her son Karim, who must be at least 30….).
At the Steigenberger kitchen party, company CEO Puneet Chhatwal beamed and circulated and I just hope he also had something to eat. Guests patrol through the public areas of the hotel and into the kitchens. I loved the corner where two guys spent the entire evening shucking oysters, from France, they said. By contrast, the Kempinski party was channelled this year into one intimate area, the Sra Bua Bar, another lovely venue right at the back of the gorgeous Hotel Adlon Kempinski. This party also, was lots of fun. Want a crème brûlée? No problem, one of the servers just happened to have a blow-torch in what looked like a pistol holster.
I stayed at Kempinski’s Hotel Adlon, and as always admired the breakfast buffet, which this year seemed to have more seafood on it than ever. It is always refreshing when an eager young male server, who has not seen someone for a year, comes up with a big smile and addresses said person by name, correctly pronounced. Luxury, says the hotel’s GM Emile Bootsma, is full of little moments like that. At this busy time, he increases the number of Ladies in Red lobby hostesses from eight to 14, making sure that three are always on duty at any one period. The same Lady, Flora, checked me in and later saw me out. A little moment that makes a difference.
One of the most important things at this luxury hotel, by the way, is to get a room that overlooks the Brandenburg Gate – this is the only hotel that offers such a view.