For my first three nights in Berlin, I stayed at the Intercontinental Berlin, near Tiergarten in the Western part of the city. I really enjoyed my stay, and highly recommend it.
Getting to the hotel from Tegel was very easy. I took the X9 bus from right outside to the terminal to its terminus, Zoo Station, and then had an easy 10 minute walk down Budapester Strasse to the hotel. Even with traffic, the whole trip took about 45 minutes, and I bought a day pass for all of Berlin’s public transit for 6 Euros at a machine at the airport.
The outside of the Intercontinental is modernist and plain, with two separate towers connected by a shorter main lobby area. The lobby area was large, with a jazz lounge with live music in the evenings. Also on the main floor was another bar, and several event/conference facilities. In my days there, there was both a Bar Mitzvah and a wedding, both of which had fun DJs and crowds to observe. At check-in, I noticed there was an area dedicated to a Nike-sponsored athletic event. At the time, I didn’t know what it was, but throughout the stay, I saw a lot of rather attractive men in workout attire. I later learned they were long jumpers and high jumpers for “Berlin Fliegt,” a 4-country meet held at Brandenburg Gate.
Check-in was prompt, and the agent mentioned how nice an upgrade I got twice. I had booked a Superior room, the lowest level room, for only 79 Euros a night, which is pretty cheap for an Intercontinental. Within a day of booking, I had been upgraded based on my Platinum Ambassador status to a Deluxe room, a one category upgrade – which is guaranteed. So I wasn’t sure what to expect when I got to my room. Based on my research, I wasn’t expecting to be offered lounge access or anything, though reports suggested a discounted rate of 39 Euros, which includes breakfast and substantial evening food. I didn’t come to Berlin to stay in the hotel, though, and Berlin is a pretty cheap city. Lounge access wasn’t mentioned at check-in, but I was offered breakfast at a “discounted” rate of 27 Euros.
When I got to my room, I found the room very nice, and it seemed almost junior suite-like, with a sitting area with a sofa and a massive bathroom and closet. But it actually was just the regular Deluxe room. The room was very newly renovated, and everything was spotless and modern, with plenty of outlets.
The bathroom was accessed through what was essentially a walk-in closet, and had a tub, a stall shower, and a toilet “room” (with toilet and bidet). The toilet room was enclosed by glass doors, though, so you weren’t getting any additional privacy if someone else was using the bathroom.
Separating the king size bed area from the sitting area was a large island, which held the minibar and a very fancy complicated Bosch Tassimo coffee system. There was both a desk and a round table in the sitting area.
As a Platinum Ambassador, the standard welcome amenity is a fruit plate and bottled water, and a local welcome gift. The welcome gift here was a small box of chocolates and then a commemorative tin of what I assumed was cookies or something. Only upon closer inspection, I discovered it was a commemorative beverage can of apple juice. Definitely an odd welcome gift.
In terms of facilities and amenities, I didn’t use many of them. The free wifi was adequate. The gym was a little small for such a large hotel, accessed through the spa. It was just a few cardio machines, two resistance machines, and some handweights. They were all crammed in, so it was hard for more than one person to do any weight or mat work at a given time. There was also a large indoor pool in the spa area that seemed very heavily used.
I had been a little concerned about the Intercontinental’s location, as it’s not near many major sights, or the hip parts of East Berlin. But I actually found the location perfect. The immediate area around the hotel was quiet and sleepy, but it was about a 10-15 minute walk to the bustling area of Wittenbergplatz and it’s shops and restaurants, and the Zoo area, near the Tiergarten. Unbeknownst to me at booking, it was also about a 15 minute walk to the Schöneberg district, the largest gay neighborhood in Berlin. A bus stops right in front of the hotel and can get you to Potsdamer Platz in fifteen minutes. Compared to staying near Potsdamer Platz, I would much rather prefer to stay here.
The hotel wasn’t particularly warm, but the room was large and comfortable, and I generally thought the hotel was great for my needs. I would definitely consider stay here again – particularly since the going rate was about 1/3 of that for the Hyatt where I stayed my last night.