I’m back again, fingers on my keyboard, tapping away to tell you all about my new favourite bolt hole in Berlin, where I have just spent the past week. I’ve visited quite a few Soho House locations – from LA to Istanbul – but there was something really special about their Berlin hotel and I can’t quite put my finger on it. But here’s a try…
The hotel itself, like many other buildings in Berlin, is Grade II-listed. Designed by architects Georg Bauer and Siegfried Friedlander in the late 1920s, it began life as a department store attesting the prosperity of the Weimar Republic. As a result, the building is monumental, with windows after windows, top to bottom. In 1933 the department store’s Jewish owners were pushed out by shareholders when the National Socialist Party came to power. And so it became a building whose builders were Jewish, but who’s ownership passed to fascists, then to communists, and finally to capitalists.
So, as you can imagine, the building itself is pretty impressive, and when Soho House took it over in 2010 they turned it in to something it had never been before. The interiors are a collaboration between Soho House’s in-house designer Suzie Atkinson and the newly commissioned Michaelis Boyd Associates. They have done a splendid job of fully exploiting the vast windows, high ceilings and exposed concrete beams by combining them with traditional paneling to create magnificent spaces whilst holding on to Soho House’s ‘home away from home’ feel. The palette of bold patterns, luxury fabrics, jewel-like colours and fun geometric floor patterns add to create a unique space. By day, sunlight pours through the windows and by night, the twinkling chandeliers become one with Berlin’s city lights.
There I am, awed by panoramic views of the Mitte district, drinking my ‘watermelon daisy’ up in the clouds, my feet dipped into the emerald green tiled pool, surrounded by striped beach beds that decorate the hotel’s rooftop. Ich bin ein Berliner!