Luxury Hotels

InterContinental Berlin shows luxury can adapt, from investors to tour operators

GM Aernout De Jong, left

InterContinental Berlin manages to host 2,000 delegates to the annual International Hotel investment Forum IHIF with amazing ease – how many luxury hotels, the gal wonders, never fuss or worry when every one of its 510 bedrooms is full, and those staying there all want wake-up calls, showers, elevators and breakfast at around the same time? And, says the gal, add to this recipe the fact that both the company’s CEO, Richard Solomons, and the head of Europe, Angela Brav, along with equally-respected retinues and team members, are among the guests? Well done to the Dutch GM, Aernout De Jong, especially since he always seemed to be on hand, in the lobby, meeting and greeting, and then farewelling (he had also carefully thought out room amenities, including specially-crafted Berlin lemonades, above).

Doughnuts at any time

The team members are also to be congratulated. During IHIF the ballroom was changed, at least once if not twice a day, from rows of chairs, conference style, to party-place, or formal lunch with round tables covered with crisp white tablecloths. And how did they manage service at such events? This was people management, with technology making sure that no table was forgotten. And it was not as if IHIF was the only major event of the moment. Even before IHIF finished the hotel’s lobby was being set up, with hundreds of champagne flutes on one corner table, for a party associated with the enormous, mind-boggling, foot-hurting ITB. IHIF people, investors and the like, had to be out of the way, quickly, so that tourist boards and tour operators could move in, equally quickly.

The café became an American steakhouse station one night

Flexibility has to be the key to success in hospitality these days. When I went in to the final IHIF lunch that show’s adjacent exhibition area was still standing. When I left lunch, after the main course, I was amazed to see the stands already being boxed up. Here one minute, gone the next, all part of the theatre that is the secret of good hospitality. This is a hotel that has seen it all, ever since its beginnings back in 1958. In those days it was one of the first of the ‘German shoe box hotels’, an eight-floor rectangular block, just that. Even then it had what Hans, and occasionally Heidi, wanted, an indoor pool and a unisex sauna, no clothes and go roll in the snow. Now it is fully up to the nearly-2018 minute, with its connected second tower, and the pool, and clothes-on sauna, and a 24-hour gym.

Exhibition stands were taken down in minutes

It also has a superb eighth floor Club InterContinental, with the same kind of intelligent and charming team members that I have met in the Hongkong, London and Sydney hotels (sadly I could not try the Budapest lounge as the hotel was packed out). I definitely recommend that when booking at this luxury hotel you go for a club room, more than worth the additional spend.  There is a first-class breakfast, with eggs brought to order, and, as you expect in Germany, the breads are what I call ‘real’, full of goodness – I sometimes wonder if German bakers have to take their own flour with them when going on holiday. Cleverly, here, the seating variety includes two heights of communal table, one for comfortably sitting at and working, the other ideal for standing at and working. And, another plus, the coffee maker there, WMF1500S, is one of the best I have come across.  NOW SEE MY VIDEO OF ROOM 825