Some of the best shopping in Europe is to be had in Berlin, specifically on the Kurfürstendamm, the main commercial drag of what was pre-unification West Berlin. Perfectly placed for shopping excursions is the Ku’ Damm 101, quite prosaically named for its address, in a converted office block in the Wilmersdorf district at the west end of the boulevard.
The Swiss design firm Kessler + Kessler made short work of transforming this once-drab space into a striking contemporary hotel, one that showcases the practical and functional side of modern design. Colors are muted, almost monochrome, with pale greens and blues supplementing the usual whites and greys, and there’s a subtly institutional feeling throughout, a playful wink toward the office design of decades past.
The guest rooms are stylish and functional, complete with classic mid-century retro-futuristic furnishings from the likes of Arne Jacobsen, and floor plans that invite re-organization — the TV cabinet, for example, is on wheels, for more flexible viewing. Beds are the obligatory modern platform style, with mounds of white pillows and down duvets, and the vast office-block windows can be blacked out with mechanized shutters.
Business facilities are extensive, including a number of meeting rooms and conference suites, and wireless internet is available throughout, in all guest rooms and public spaces. And should you overwork yourself, the hotel’s wellness program offers aroma steam baths and massages, as well as yoga and fitness programs under the guidance of a personal trainer.
Breakfast is taken in the seventh-floor lounge, with the sweeping city view as a backdrop, and in the evening the 101 Lounge serves cocktails to a mix of guests and locals. Beyond that (and snacks from the lobby-level vending machine) you’re on your own, limited only to the innumerable restaurants, cafés, bars and shops of the Kurfürstendamm — not exactly roughing it, we’d say.