Residing in the former Danish embassy building over-looking Berlin’s urban jungle, Tiergarten, the renowned SO/ Berlin Das Stue is a boutique hotel unlike any other. If I had to rate my recent stay, I wouldn’t hesitate giving it five stars. Keep reading if you’d like to know more about, what I believe is, one of Berlin’s finest hotels. Scroll to the end for an extra treat; an interview with the F&B Manager and Marketing & Sales Director of SO/ Berlin Das Stue.
It has been there for close to a century. The historical building that originally housed the Danish embassy – more specifically for 38 years – now welcomes guests from near and far under the name of SO/ Berlin Das Stue. Nestling in Berlin’s embassy quarter, this could very well be one of Berlin’s “best-kept secrets”. A hotel unlike any other in the capital, if you ask me.
The architect, Johann Emil Schaudt, relied upon Neoclassical architecture as he designed the building, but only few know that he was also the architect behind Berlin’s beloved department store, KaDeWe (which opened in 1907).
Upon completion, Shaudt handed the building over to the Danish government in 1940 – and they re-claimed it again after WWII. A lot of history is connected to this specific location – something you feel immediately when arriving.
In the late 1970s, the Danish government sold the building for public housing, but the new owners let it fall into disrepair. Luckily, city officials saved it in 1983 as they transformed it into a vast office complex. And finally, in 2012, after a massive renovation, the cadastral could finally open as a hotel. Das Stue was born.
The rest is a tale of elegance, impeccable service and historical features blending in with modern interiors. Last-mentioned is conducted by the award-winning interior architect, Patricia Urquiola, who has – in my opinion – done a marvellous job. So marvellous, in fact, that many guests inquire about it. You immediately feel at home – or should I say, like visiting a hip friend in a trendy neighbourhood. Das Stue, which literally translates into ‘the livingroom’ in Danish, is warm, comforting and fashionable at the same time. It provides a safe space from the hectic and often overwhelming capital. Something I truly value, as I live here and often find myself needing this ‘safe space’ excluding all the noise.
And speaking of fashion; The hotel has been hosting models and guests during fashion week a number of times, and the the staff members all wear colourful uniforms created by the internationally acclaimed design duo, Viktor & Rolf (who also designed the logo of the hotel). Fashion plays an important role here in everything from photography to lobby installations, but it never feels intimidating. I’m no fashionista, per say, but I’m still intrigued by the subtle playfulness and fashionability of Das Stue.
A true boutique hotel holds a maximum of 80 rooms – Das Stue has 78. All rooms and suites are allocated on seven room categories; the smallest being a SO Stue Room of 27 m2 – the largest a Bel Floor Suite of a striking 110 m2.
Guests can also enjoy a spa & wellness area, a Michelin-awarded restaurant – Cinco by Paco Pérez (which I sadly didn’t have a chance to visit this time around) – and a cosy bar and lounge area. Oh, and let’s not forget the library stretching over two floors. Grab one of the design-oriented books once you’re here and relax to the sound of the birds and the subtle lounge music in the background. That’s what I call relaxation.
I’d like to emphasise the eminent location, though, as that truly sets this place apart from any other in Berlin. Being an integrated part of Das Stue, the neighbouring Tiergarten – which is the capital’s pendant to London’s Hyde Park – is home to the famous ZOO. And yes, you can expect to see ostriches and perhaps even elephants (if it suits them) from your room. As I woke up to the sound of exotic birds and rippling trees, I thought for a minute that I had ended up in Brazil instead of Berlin. As that wasn’t the case, I couldn’t help but being mesmerised by the urban jungle just outside of my window. What a remarkable place.
The ZOO is Europe’s largest and Germany’s oldest – it’s definitely worth a visit! If you’re staying at the hotel, you’ll even have your own entrance.
So, getting back to where I started, SO/ Berlin Das Stue is quite possibly the German capital’s best-kept secret. Simply because it’s so wonderful and so few people still know about it. Perhaps it should stay that way? In this case – shhh… don’t tell anyone you’ve read this article.
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My favourite features:
- The location
- The breakfast (best pancakes I’ve ever had in a hotel!)
- The feeling of ‘coming home’
- The playful interior
I sat down with the F&B Manager of SO/ Berlin Das Stue, Christian Böckmann, and Marketing & Sales Director, Hanna Hinz, for a quick chat about the hotel’s DNA and their visions for the future. Here’s what I got.
Q: What makes Das Stue unique on the hotel scene of Berlin?
A: “We’re operating on a luxury boutique level, which is rare in Berlin. Our house is intimate, fashion-driven and style- focused with an international appeal.
The look and feel of the hotel and the neighbourhood is quite special, and we cater to different kinds of segments; from business travellers to couples and families with children. Furthermore, we provide a private entrance to the ZOO, which many of our guests really like.
As a hotel, we’re a bit “reserved” simply because we want to remain a “good secret”. The vision is to bring a bit more local life to the hotel – perhaps a bit more culture. But we’ll always be a small, intimate place with 78 rooms. We love to provide our guests with a comfortable feeling of ‘being home’. We could say it’s sort of like visiting a stylish friend in a cool urban neighbourhood. The guest interaction here happens on a more personal level, and absolutely nothing is standardized.
In terms of fashion, that’s definitely one of our core elements. Apart from all of our employees wearing uniforms by Viktor & Rolf, we’re embracing photo shoots, fashion week etc. We’re also planning to embrace pop-up stores and support young (local) fashion designers.
Q: How are you using social media to connect and engage with your audience? Are you planning to expand your digital presence in the wake of Covid-19?
We’re definitely planning to upscale our digital presence. The entire world has become digitalized by now, and we want to be on the forefront. We’re looking for new ways to interact with our guest – in the past, we haven’t been so digital, but that’s changing in the wake of the Pandemic.
We also want to focus more of our attention on Instagram, and we’d potentially embrace the podcast format, e.g. featuring local artists and designers. Outlets where we can showcase our unique style and experience in a tasteful way – that’s where our focus will be moving forward.
Q: What is one thing you will focus more on in the wake of the Pandemic?
A: Apart from being more active on digital media, we find the staycation concept really interesting. So, keep an eye out for staycation deals if you’re in Berlin!