Hotel am Steinplatz
The elegant art of improvisation
The Art Nouveau building housing the Hotel am Steinplatz was original designed by August Endell, architect of Berlin’s celebrated Hackesche Höfe courtyards. The hotel has a long and chequered history, from stately town house to grand hotel, officers’ mess, bohemian bar and then back to a hotel again. But for over a century, it has always managed one thing perfectly – the art of inspiration.
In 1913, the building in the Charlottenburg district in the west of Berlin first opened as a luxury hotel, quickly becoming a meeting point for leading Berlin luminaries and travellers such as writer Vladimir Nabokov or movie star Zarah Leander. During the Second World War, the hotel remained open – though improvisation was a must. To ensure a steady trickle of supplies, the roof garden became a tomato patch and the inner courtyard home to a goat, lovingly nicknamed Beate. In her memory, today’s hotel guests find a goat’s cheese praline on arrival in their rooms.
When a curfew was introduced in post-war Berlin, hotelier Heinz Max Lorenz Zellermayer achieved the impossible. In summer 1949, he persuaded the authorities to abolish the time limit on hours for serving alcoholic drinks. Perhaps not entirely coincidentally, Zellermayer was also at the time the newly elected head of the catering trade association in Berlin’s western sectors. As a result of his efforts, Berlin could again party through the night – and since then has never stopped!
When the bohemian cellar bar Volle Pulle opened in 1950, it established Steinplatz as a place where artists and actors could meet and greet. The bar was frequented by such greats as Brigitte Bardot and Luciano Pavarotti, as well as Nobel Laureates Heinrich Böll and Günter Grass.
This gem of an Art Nouveau building on Steinplatz square was reopened as a hotel in 2013 and continues to impress its guests for its dedication and passion for hospitality. No other hotel in the city attracts as many Berliners or has the same neighbourhood feeling. Even in the minibar, guests can find a range of local products all ‘made in Berlin’ – such as artisan chocolate bars from the Berliner Kaffeerösterei to Konditorei Knalle’s renowned popcorn or Our Berlin branded vodka. The multiple award-winning Bar am Steinplatz serves double juniper schnapps instead of gin, while true to the motto of ‘make German sparkling wine great again’ the Restaurant am Steinplatz serves excellent German winegrower ‘Sekt’ rather than champagne. But this time, from conviction rather than any need to improvise!