In a city where everything is constantly changing, where the past constantly meets the present, and where the future seems brighter than ever – it was a pleasure to encounter a very special hotel with deep roots in Berlin culture. Welcome to Hotel Oderberger – a public bath turned into a serene city hotel. Could this be your next home away from home in the German capital?
“Paris will always be Paris and Berlin is never Berlin”. This famous quote by the French former culture minister Jack Lang, is spot on when it comes to describing the ever-changing metropole of Berlin. Hence, it’s so mezmerising when you find these little historical pockets in the city, where a piece of culture is preserved and, well, almost untouched. Such a “pocket” is Hotel Oderberger on the border of Prenzlauer-Berg and Mitte. Nestling in a relatively calm street (Oderberger Strasse, of course!) amidst shops, restaurants, nightlife and whatever else the heart desires, the hotel is a former public bath (opened in 1902) and somewhat of an institution in Berlin. It miraculously survived World War II and continued functioning as a bath until 1986, where it was forced to close down. Fast forward 26 years – till 2012 – where extensive renovations could finally begin to blow life into the old walls again. On a glorious October day in 2016, the former public bath could finally open its doors as a hotel with 70 rooms, 2 apartments and 10 seminar rooms. And a spa, of course, with the famous pool area being in use again after 30 years. If the history of this grand hotel isn’t enough to make you visit – the atmosphere and hospitality certainly will be!
The interior is carefully restored, tastefully leaving traces from the past in unexpected places. You’ll find old, wooden doors installed in the rooms and raw, industrial elements being utilized in both the rooms, the spa and the restaurant. And speaking of the spa; the 20-meter long pool is undoubtedly the “jewel” of the hotel, merging together the past and the future. Therefore, it’s also an obvious place for events and parties of all kinds. Other facilities in the spa count a sauna and a relaxation area.
The spa is open to the public meaning you don’t need to be staying at the hotel to enjoy the beautiful surroundings. Hotel guests also pay for spa entrance, but at a reduced price (€4 for the pool and €12 for pool and sauna combined).
What struck me about the hotel was its calmness and almost serene ambience. Something you clearly don’t expect from a hotel in the middle of one of Europe’s largest capitals. And I loved it. There’s plenty of room and space for thinking, writing, reading – or whatever else you need to rest and rejuvenate.
Guests can choose between seven different room categories:
- Comfort (20 m2)
- Premium (25 m2)
- Maisonette (23 m2 duplex rooms)
- Apartments (for 2-4 people or 2-8 people)
- Junior Suites (30 m2)
- Tower Suites (23 m2)
- Souterrain (27 m2)
There’s something for all needs; families with children, couples looking for a romantic hideaway and the business traveler looking for a calm place to rest – with or without the possibility to cook. Price range from €109 to €209 per night.
Inside the rooms – and in all other parts of the hotel – you can find interesting art from local artists. And if you find something you really like? Buy it! It’s a smart way to make the art scene more approachable – and not least, to expose Berlin-artists and integrate them in the city life.
Hotel Oderberger also houses a bar and a restaurant. Kaminbar is open from 5PM everyday and offers delicious cocktails (classics and those with a twist!) to both hotel guests and walk-ins. The atmosphere is almost like an old-school library with plush details, warm wood and a cosy fireplace in the middle. Oh, and there’s live music every Thursday from 7.30PM!
When hunger strikes, head over to Restaurant Oderberger, which recently opened. Three levels, 15 meter-high ceilings and a regional cuisine honoring (contemporary) German food! Need I say more? I’ll go into depths with my restaurant experience in another post, however, I’d like to pay tribute to the breakfast, which is one of the best hotel breakfasts I’ve had for a long time. Served daily from 7AM to 10:30AM (11AM in weekends), the breakfast ensemble comprises everything from ‘the classics’ such as eggs, a variation of bread and cold cuts, jams and pastries to a waffle station (yes, my favorite!) and refreshing smoothies.
I highly recommend you to check out Hotel Oderberger on your next visit to Berlin. It’s not often you come across such an authentic institution, where hospitality and beautiful interior are some of the bearing elements.
For more information, see www.hotel-oderberger.berlin.