A city that has been through more than its fair share of dramatic events in the past century, Berlin has blossomed to become one of Europe’s most prominent cultural hubs. We found that although Berlin has its fair share of sights to see, it was the people that made it unique. I can’t remember where I heard it, but someone once described Berlin as ”rough with a friendly charm”. Whether or not they were talking about the locals, or the city itself—I’ll leave that up to you to decide. If you’re looking for a place to stay, Hotel Zoo Berlin has you covered.

The History of Hotel Zoo Berlin

After consulting some of my cooler German friends, on places to stay in Berlin, one kept coming up in conversation, the recently renovated Hotel Zoo. First opened in 1911, this establishment has seen it all. From the decadence of the Roaring Twenties, through to the devastation of war. Not one to shy away from the limelight, the hotel became the official VIP hotel for Berlin International Film Festival from the 50’s through to the 70’s.

The Design

Today, after two full years of restoration in 2014, Hotel Zoo was revivified to reflect and reference its lavish past, all the while embracing all that is modernity. The refurbishment was spearheaded by Powerstrip Studios, founded by American Designer Dayna Lee and her husband, Ted Berner. Their Hollywood backgrounds in set décor and production design couldn’t be any more evident. Their meticulous attention to detail can be seen throughout. The entire establishment is imbued with this energy that truly typifies Berlin’s blossoming cultural scene.

The absolute standout feature of the hotel would have to be the living room. Lee deliberately meddles with your mind by tinkering with scale, giving the space a distinctive surrealist feel. Upon entry, you are greeted by the Six-meter-high door crafted from the finest walnut wood, adjacent to a Five-meter-long fireplace. The space is finished off with the beautifully disproportionate and ornate lilies mounted to the ceiling. It really is a sight to see. Another nice little nod to its glamorous past can be found in its elevators. Mimicking what one could only imagine it would be like to walk on the red carpet, cameras and all.

The Food and Entertainment

Now I have to be honest here, I have seen my fair share of hotels, and I’ve seen my fair share of buffet breakfasts. But none of them come close to the Grace Restaurant at Hotel Zoo. With a selection of food fit for a king, it was presented in a way that looked just as good as it tasted. The buffet breakfast boasted a fabulous assortment of delightful delectables from around the world. The breakfast here was a definite highlight; its reputation as a reputable restaurant is so strong that even the locals can be frequently found in the courtyard with a breakfast spread sprawled across the table.

If the food doesn’t win you over, the drinks definitely will. Boasting its own upstairs bar that is also open to the public, Hotel Zoo proves to be the perfect place for those looking to let their hair down and enjoy a few cocktails with a stunning view of the city and the Kurfuerstendamm strip.

Hotel Zoo really is a sight to see; so if you find yourself in Berlin for the weekend sometime soon, pop on past! Even if it’s just for a drink, something to eat or to bask in the whimsical glory of the living room.