April 2015, 2 nights We spent a lot of time to decide which hotel we should book for our 2night/3days stay in Berlin, where he was also going to celebrate his birthday. Making up our mind was difficult. We had wittled down our list to two hotels - The Adlon and Das Stue. Should we take a classic hotel, which was similar to the other two hotels we had chosen in Oslo and Stuttgart, these destinations were part of the same itineary, or should we break the mold and check into a design driven hotel? What spoke for The Adlon was the Leading Hotels of the World membership, the location, being in the center of everything, having a wide selection of restaurants including Sra Bua, which we always wanted to try (and still have to in our future), the heritage and the prestige. What spoke against it was the location, the prestige and the value. We were already quite busy in Oslo and Stuttgart. We thought we would overdo it, if we were out and about in Berlin too and it would be more suitable to have a celebratory and quiet birthday. Having experience how overrun some famous hotels, for example The Arts in Barcelona, can be and how even staying guests are treated, we were a bit wary. We also followed the reviews on Trip Advisor. There were indications we might not be able to enjoy our stay to 100 % at the Adlon during this time. Our stay was from a Saturday to Monday. We were comparing rates and found out that The Adlon was available during the week for half the price when booking an entrance category room, so we thought it wasn't worth to spend much more for the same category. Of course we know rates are demand driven and that Berlin is a weekend destination. As a note: Some Berlin hotels up their rates during weekends, while others require a minimum stay of two nights we found out during our research. Das Stue had a slightly higher rate on the Saturday to Sunday than Sunday to Monday. What spoke for Das Stue? We had followed the progress since we heard about the development of the hotel. Das Stue opened in 2012. We liked the contemporary design, unusual concept and playful elements. This luxury hotel is a member of Design Hotels. Even though the hotel was new the building has a history. It was opened in 1939 as the Royal Danish Embassy. The architect was Johann Emil Schaudt, who was also responsible for the Kaufhaus des Westens (short KaDeWe), Germany's largest and best department store. Later the building was used as a training center for Deutsche Telekom and the Postal Service. When Das Stue, which is Danish and means the living room, was redeveloped as a hotel, different architects were engaged. Axthelm Architekten from Potsdam was responsible for the modern extension. The public spaces were designed by Patricia Urquiola and the rooms by LVG Arquitectura. Patricia Urquiola is Spanish, but lives and works in Milan, while LVG Arquitectura is based in Spain. We also liked the dining concept, which includes two restaurants, Cinco and The Casual, and Das Stue Bar by Paco Perez. The location of Das Stue was also good and felt memorable. On the one side it was in a quiet residential upscale neighborhood and near embassies; on the other side it wasn't too far from the zoo, Kaiser Wilhelm Gedaechtniskirche, the Kudamm and the KaDeWe. We thought Das Stue was a better fit for our needs and had to decide what room type to take. We were considering the Embassy Room or Junior Suite. In the end we thought the Embassy Room was large and if we were able to get a balcony too, which is offered in selected rooms, we would be very happy indeed. We contacted Das Stue via email and advised them about our wishes and the anniversary. Since rooms with balconies are rare, we weren't promised anything. The replies were warm and very quick. We took a taxi from Berlin Tegel, arriving from Oslo with SAS. It was an enjoyable flight. The taxi journey took approximately 20 minutes and the cost was slightly below 20 Euro ca. (22.25 USD) each way. While the facade of Das Stue is classic, the interior isn't. We were greeted by a crocodile (sculputre), a reminder tha the hotel is bordering the zoo, and a long stylish hallway. It was filled with natural daylight and there was also a contemporary seating area and the original staircase. The staircase was beautiful and the views from the top amazing. There were books and magazines on each landing. Guests can make themselves comfortable at the many designer seating arrangements and order drinks or some snacks, while browsing through the libraries. The concierge and reception were hidden from view to the left and right underneath the staircase. Check in was very friendly and fast. The receptionIst remembered the birthday. When all formalities were behind us we were accompanied to our room. We were given a brief tour and then left to explore it. The room was dominated by the large bed, which was on the harder side, but very comfortable and allowed for a good night's rest. The design was clean cut, stylish, luxurious and comfortable. The color scheme was black, brown, grey, gold and cream. There was a touch screen for all light features and the airconditioning - it took a few attempts to understand how it worked, but after that it was easy. Our room had wooden floors and very high ceilings. To our delight we also had a fully furnished balcony with views over the residential area and the Tiergarten. We spent there considerable time. We were lucky with the weather during our stay. It was warm and sunny. Another favorite place was the seating area with a contemporary chair, coffee table, a colorful carpet and reading lamp. There were also electronic blinds and two telephones - one was cordless, both by Jacob Jensen. The writing desk was large with an Apple TV, which was very sensitive. The contemporary writing desk chair looked like sitting a long time would be problematic, but it was the whole opposite. TV channels were varied, ranging from local ones to Asian, including the complete line up of Sky Germany, Arirang, BBC World, CNN, Bloomberg and much more. Our artwork was a bit unusual. One was a woolen giraffe in all imaginable rainbow colors, raging from blue to orange, a photograph of a windblown curtain and a painting of an ostrich, playing tennis. The mini bar was very tempting and fairly priced. We loved especially Charitea, the coconut water and Candy Kittens Sours . Snacks start from 2.50 Euro (ca. 2.80 USD). Alcoholic beverages included Mama Vodka, three types of Gin and a half bottle of Louis Roederer Champagne, which was the most expensive item with 45 Euro (ca. 50 USD). Beside the minibar we had also a Nespresso Coffee machine. The wardrobe and drawers were interesting because they hadn't any visible handles. Another interesting feature was the alarm clock. It was cube shaped and completely black, but when pushing the back the time came on digitally, like magic. In room dining is available 24 hours and is catered by Paco Perez incl. dishes from his Casual restaurant. The bathroom was large with separate freestanding bathtub and rain fall shower. The shower head was huge in space, as was the oversized rainshower head. We had two sinks and a separate room for the toilet. The bathroom amenities were by Floris and Gilchrist & Soames. It was the most complete set we've ever seen in a European hotel and included a loofah, lip balm and mouthwash. The bathroom was filled with natural daylight and had it's own blinds and curtains, which were drawn each night at turn down. Turn down included free water from Austria. We had in room dining incl. dinner and breakfast twice. The in room dining menu is similar to The Casual. Paco Perez is a famous Spanish chef and holds 5 Michelin stars. We tried different dishes including Wiener Schnitzel - the only nod to German cuisine -, Gnocci from my friend Zio, Quinoa salad, monkfish and peas "Catalan Style" with "Buttifarra" and mint and the chocolate bonbons (chocolate flan, Cacao biscuits and coffee ice cream). Needless to say the in room dining was high restaurant quality and served on white linen. I will also write a review of our lunch at Casual. As you can expect from such a high-caliber hotel, our lunch was memorable for the right reasons. We had twice in room breakfast. Once the continental and once the continental plus a hot item each. The continental breakfast included a hot beverage and juice of our choice. We had Cappuccinos, freshly squeezed orange juice, two water, one milk, four bread rolls, different jams, including strawberry, blueberry and apricot by Faller from the Black Forrest and two large organic yogurts by Coop Latteria Vipiteno from Italy - each time a different flavor, like Forrest Berries or strawberry. It was 25 Euro (ca. 27.45 USD) per person. It might seems high priced, but the quality was matching. Our hot items were scrambled eggs with smoked salmon and omelette. We used the shoe shine service as well. It was reliable. Our shoes looked like new after they were returned. On my better half's birthday a cake was delivered to our room. It was delicious and shaped like a flower. The cake included berries, citrus flavors and chocolate - everything he likes. We appricated the gesture and thanked the staff later in the day. There is also a spa, which is reasonable priced. Products used are by Susanne Kaufmann. Massages start from 75 Euro (ca. 82.25 USD) and facials from 85 Euro (ca. 93.20 USD). One of us might give it a try, when staying again at this hotel in our future. The staff was warm and efficient. Switching from English to German and visa verse was not a problem for them. Some of them recognized us and greeted us by name. Our take: The hotel took it's inspiration from the zoo. Some rooms have views over the ostrich enclosure and it is also visible from the beautiful staircase. We liked the luxurious atmosphere, the peaceful location, how detailed Das Stue was, the history, the wonderful food, the contemporary design and the friendliness of the staff. This is a hotel we would gladly return for more beautiful memories. Would we recommend this hotel to a friend? YES! Would we stay again at this hotel in our future? YES!