Berlin

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Hotel de Rome

Address: 37 Behrenstrasse

Neighborhood: Mitte

City: Berlin

Phone: 011-49-1805-123-370

Website: www.hotelderome.com

Expert Review

Decades after German reunification, Berlin still has the feel of a city on the verge: Its art scene rivals that of London, but an average person can walk into a gallery here and actually afford to buy a painting. The city's innovative restaurants could be the envy of Paris, but the reasonable prices are distinctly un-Left Bank. The same holds true for accommodations. Since the '90s, a number of world-class hotels have opened or been refurbished, yet it is still possible to find a room at prices that are dramatically lower than in either Paris or London.

Among the best is Hotel de Rome, opened in 2006 by Rocco Forte Collection in an ornate former bank building that was originally constructed in 1889 by architect Ludwig Helm. While not the city's most opulent hotel (it's a toss-up between the Ritz-Carlton and the Adlon), we believe it best encapsulates the elements that currently make Berlin the coolest city in Europe. Interior designer Tommaso Ziffer complemented the old-world building with Art Deco and modern touches.

The hotel is located in the Mitte district, where politics, commerce, and art have made a rare happy alliance. The 146 rooms are generously sized, marble columns line the downstairs swimming pool located in the bank's old vault, the Bebel Bar has become one of Berlin's preferred hotspots, and the roof terrace has views of the State Opera House and the TV Tower. Hotel de Rome takes its name from a grand Berlin hotel that closed in 1910 (the city's first with running water). Today, walking up to the imposing entrance, one feels firsthand Germany's past and future. Best season for value: fall/winter. 2008 Smart Luxury Award winner

Great Value Alternative: Also in Mitte, Lux 11 provides simple, chic condos with kitchenettes. www.lux-eleven.com

Tags: luxury | editor pick | smart splurge | smart luxury winner | jim's pick

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