Hotel Adlon in Berlin

Friday, 5 October 2018 - 11:00 am (CET/MEZ) Berlin | Author/Destination:
Category/Kategorie: General, Berlin, Hotels
Reading Time:  10 minutes

© Denis Apel/cc-by-sa-3.0

© Denis Apel/cc-by-sa-3.0

The Hotel Adlon Kempinski Berlin is a luxury hotel in Berlin. It is located on Unter den Linden, the main boulevard in the central Mitte district, at the corner with Pariser Platz, directly opposite the Brandenburg Gate. The original Hotel Adlon was one of the most famous hotels in Europe. It opened in 1907 and was largely destroyed in 1945 in the closing days of World War II, though a small wing continued operating until 1984. The current hotel, which opened on August 23, 1997, is a new building with a design inspired by the original.

In the late 19th century, European hotels, which generally offered no more than overnight accommodation, evolved to become social gathering places which could host large receptions given by nobility and the wealthy. Modeled on American hotels like the Waldorf Astoria in New York, new hotel buildings arose all over the continent with lavishly decorated ballrooms, dining halls, arcades, smoking lounges, libraries, and coffeehouses. In 1873 the Hotel Imperial opened in Vienna, followed by the Hôtel Ritz Paris in 1898, and the London Ritz in 1906. In Berlin, the capital of the German Empire, Wilhelmine high society was eager to keep up with their rival metropolitan cities. In 1905 Lorenz Adlon, a successful wine merchant and restaurateur originally from Mainz, purchased two properties on Unter den Linden. Adlon ran several coffeehouses in Berlin, among others in the Berlin Zoological Garden, and had raised capital to build a hotel on Pariser Platz, at the heart of the German capital. He convinced Kaiser Wilhelm II that Berlin needed a luxury hotel at the level of those in Paris, London and the other European capitals, and so the Kaiser personally interceded with the owners of the Palais Redern, a Neo-Renaissance landmark designed by Karl Friedrich Schinkel in 1830, which sat at Adlon’s chosen location. The Kaiser cleared the way for Adlon’s purchase of the Palais and for the subsequent demolition of the historic building. Designed by Carl Gause and Robert Leibnitz, the hotel was built at a cost of 20 Million Gold Marks, 2 Million of which were the majority of Adlon’s personal fortune. Behind a rather sober façade, the hotel was the most modern in Germany with hot and cold running water, an on-site laundry, as well as its own power plant to generate electricity. It boasted a huge lobby with enormous square marble columns, a restaurant, a cafe, a palm court, a ladies’ lounge, a library, a music room, a smoking room, a barber shop, a cigar shop, an interior garden with a Japanese-themed elephant fountain, and numerous grand ballrooms. The hotel was decorated in a mix of Neo-Baroque and Louis XVI styles and furnished by the Mainz company of Bembé, where Lorenz Adlon had been an apprentice carpenter in his youth. It was located in the heart of the government quarter next to the British Embassy on Wilhelmstraße, facing the French and American Embassies on Pariser Platz and only blocks from the Reich Chancellery and other government ministries further south on Wilhelmstraße.

© Interfase/cc-by-sa-3.0 © Raimond Spekking/cc-by-sa-4.0 Lobby © dr. avishai teicher/cc-by-sa-4.0 © Denis Apel/cc-by-sa-4.0 © Denis Apel/cc-by-sa-3.0 Hotel Adlon, 1926 © Bundesarchiv/cc-by-sa-3.0
<
>
Hotel Adlon, 1926 © Bundesarchiv/cc-by-sa-3.0
The Adlon opened on October 23, 1907 with the Kaiser, his wife, and many other notables in attendance. It quickly became the social center of Berlin. As the rooms in the Stadtschloss were cold and drafty, the Kaiser paid an annual retainer to keep suites available for his guests. Likewise the Foreign Office used the Adlon for accommodation during state visits, with guests including Tsar Nicholas II of Russia and Maharaja Bhupinder Singh of Patiala. Notable guests of the early years included industrialists such as Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, and John D. Rockefeller, as well as politicians like Walter Rathenau, Gustav Stresemann and the French prime minister Aristide Briand. Many wealthy Berliners lived for extended periods of time in the hotel, while its ballrooms hosted official government functions and society events. After World War I and the abdication of the Kaiser, Lorenz Adlon remained a staunch monarchist and thus never imagined normal traffic would pass through the Brandenburg Gate’s central archway, which had been reserved for the Kaiser alone. He therefore never looked before crossing in front of it. Tragically, this resulted in Adlon being hit by a car in 1918 at that spot. Three years later, on April 7, 1921, he was again hit by a car at exactly the same spot, this time fatally. Lorenz’s son Louis Adlon took over management of the hotel with his wife Hedda, who was German-born but had been raised in America. During the “Golden Twenties“, the Adlon remained one of the most famous hotels in Europe, hosting celebrity guests including Louise Brooks, Charlie Chaplin, Mary Pickford, Emil Jannings, Albert Einstein, Enrico Caruso, Thomas Mann, Josephine Baker, and Marlene Dietrich, and also politicians like Franklin D. Roosevelt, Paul von Hindenburg, and Herbert Hoover. The hotel was a favorite hangout of international journalists, including William L. Shirer, who mentions it frequently in his writings. The hotel’s lobby and public rooms were also popular with foreign diplomats. The hotel remained a social center of the city throughout the Nazi period, though the Nazis themselves preferred the Hotel Kaiserhof a few blocks south and directly across from the Propaganda Ministry and Hitler’s Chancellery on Wilhelmplatz. The Adlon continued to operate normally throughout World War II, even constructing a luxurious bomb shelter for its guests and a huge brick wall around the lobby level to protect the function rooms from flying debris. Parts of the hotel were converted to a military field hospital during the final days of the Battle of Berlin. The hotel survived the war without any major damage, having avoided the bombs and shelling that had leveled the city. However, on the night of May 2, 1945 a fire, started in the hotel’s wine cellar by drunken Red Army soldiers, left the main building in ruins. Louis Adlon himself was arrested in his home near Potsdam by Soviet troops on April 25 after they mistook him for a general due to his title of “Generaldirektor”. He died on a street in Falkensee on May 7, 1945, of cardiac insufficiency according to the death certificate.

Following the war, the East German government reopened the building’s surviving rear service wing under the Hotel Adlon name. The ruined main building was demolished in 1952, along with all of the other buildings on Pariser Platz. The square was left as an abandoned, grassed-over buffer with the West, with the Brandenburg Gate sitting alone by the Berlin Wall. In 1964, the remaining part of the building was renovated and the facade was redone. However, in the 1970s what remained of the original Hotel Adlon closed to guests and was converted to serve mainly as a lodging house for East German apprentices. Finally, on March 10, 1984, the building was demolished.

With the reunification of Germany, the site was bought by a West German investment firm and a new hotel was built between 1995 and 1997. The building, only very loosely inspired by the original, was designed by Rainer Michael Klotz of Patzschke, Klotz & Partners, and on August 23, 1997 German President Roman Herzog opened the new Hotel Adlon. The hotel occupies the site of the original building, along with additional adjacent land. It currently operates as Hotel Adlon Kempinski Berlin, part of the Kempinski chain. Due to the hotel’s success, it was expanded twice with new wings at the rear on Behrenstrasse, designed by architect Günter Behnisch. The first wing, known as the Adlon Palais, opened in 2003, while the second, known as the Adlon Residenz, opened in 2004. When it was built, the Hotel Adlon was famously located at Number One Unter Den Linden, as the avenue was numbered starting at the western Brandenburg Gate end. The address was used in the hotel’s advertising and became synonymous with it. However, in late 1936, the entire Unter den Linden was renumbered, starting from the eastern end, by the Berlin Palace. As a result, the Adlon’s address became Unter den Linden 77. The current Hotel Adlon Kempinski maintains this address.

Read more on Hotel Adlon Kempinski Berlin and Wikipedia Hotel Adlon (Smart Traveler App by U.S. Department of State - Weather report by weather.com - Global Passport Power Rank - Travel Risk Map - Democracy Index - GDP according to IMF, UN, and World Bank - Global Competitiveness Report - Corruption Perceptions Index - Press Freedom Index - World Justice Project - Rule of Law Index - UN Human Development Index - Global Peace Index - Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index). Photos by Wikimedia Commons. If you have a suggestion, critique, review or comment to this blog entry, we are looking forward to receive your e-mail at comment@wingsch.net. Please name the headline of the blog post to which your e-mail refers to in the subject line.




Recommended posts:

Share this post: (Please note data protection regulations before using buttons)

Portrait: Carl Friedrich Gauss, the Prince of Mathematicians from Brunswick

Portrait: Carl Friedrich Gauss, the Prince of Mathematicians from Brunswick

[caption id="attachment_6607" align="aligncenter" width="460"] Oil painting of mathematician and philosopher Carl Friedrich Gauss by G. Biermann © Gauß-Gesellschaft Göttingen e.V. - Foto: A. Wittmann[/caption][responsivevoice_button voice="UK English Female" buttontext="Listen to this Post"]Johann Carl Friedrich Gauss (* 30 April 1777 in Braunschweig - † 23 February 1855 in Göttingen) was a German mathematician and physical scientist who contributed significantly to many fields, including number theory, statistics, analysis, differential geometry, geodesy, geophysics, electrostatics, ast...

[ read more ]

Big Sur in California

Big Sur in California

[caption id="attachment_201361" align="aligncenter" width="590"] California Highway 1 near Ragged Point © flickr.com - Fred Moore/cc-by-2.0[/caption][responsivevoice_button voice="UK English Female" buttontext="Listen to this Post"]Big Sur is a rugged and mountainous section of the Central Coast of California between Carmel Highlands and San Simeon, where the Santa Lucia Mountains rise abruptly from the Pacific Ocean. It is frequently praised for its dramatic scenery. Big Sur has been called the "longest and most scenic stretch of undeveloped coastline in the contiguous United States," a "nat...

[ read more ]

The European Union: The Anthem of Europe, Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 'Ode to Joy'

The European Union: The Anthem of Europe, Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 'Ode to Joy'

[responsivevoice_button voice="UK English Female" buttontext="Listen to this Post"]The Symphony No. 9 in D minor, Op. 125, is a choral symphony, the final complete symphony by Ludwig van Beethoven, composed between 1822 and 1824. It was first performed in Vienna on 7 May 1824. The symphony is regarded by many critics and musicologists as a masterpiece of Western classical music and one of the supreme achievements in the history of music. One of the best-known works in common practice music, it stands as one of the most frequently performed symphonies in the world. The Ninth was the fir...

[ read more ]

Theme Week Wales

Theme Week Wales

[caption id="attachment_153082" align="aligncenter" width="590"] Llandudno © Noel Walley/cc-by-sa-3.0[/caption][responsivevoice_button voice="UK English Female" buttontext="Listen to this Post"]Wales is a generally mountainous country, with its highest peaks in the north and central areas, including Snowdon, its highest summit, on the western side of central southern Great Britain. It is about 274 km (170 mi) north–south and 97 km (60 mi) east–west. The oft-quoted 'size of Wales' is about 20,779 km2 (8,023 sq mi). Wales is bordered by England to the east and by sea in all other directions...

[ read more ]

Residences of the Royal House of Savoy in Turin

Residences of the Royal House of Savoy in Turin

[caption id="attachment_229629" align="aligncenter" width="590"] Castello del Valentino © panoramio.com - Michael Paraskevas/cc-by-sa-3.0[/caption][responsivevoice_button voice="UK English Female" buttontext="Listen to this Post"]The Residences of the Royal House of Savoy are a group of buildings in Turin and the Metropolitan City of Turin, in Piedmont (northern Italy). It was added to the UNESCO World Heritage Sites list in 1997. The House of Savoy is an ancient royal family, being founded in year 1003 in the Savoy region (now in Rhône-Alpes, France), later expanding so that by 1720 it reig...

[ read more ]

Theme Week Berkshire

Theme Week Berkshire

[caption id="attachment_233658" align="aligncenter" width="590"] New College - Royal Military Academy Sandhurst © wyrdlight.com - Antony McCallum/cc-by-sa-4.0[/caption][responsivevoice_button voice="UK English Female" buttontext="Listen to this Post"]Berkshire is a historic county in South East England. One of the home counties, Berkshire was recognised by Queen Elizabeth II as the Royal County of Berkshire in 1957 because of the presence of Windsor Castle, and letters patent were issued in 1974. Berkshire is a county of historic origin, a ceremonial county and a non-metropolitan county witho...

[ read more ]

Klagenfurt am Wörthersee

Klagenfurt am Wörthersee

[caption id="attachment_153246" align="aligncenter" width="590"] Tentschach Castle © Johann Jaritz[/caption][responsivevoice_button voice="UK English Female" buttontext="Listen to this Post"]Klagenfurt am Wörthersee is the capital of the federal state of Carinthia in Austria. With a population of over 90,000, it is the sixth-largest city in the country. The city is the bishop's seat of the Roman Catholic diocese of Gurk-Klagenfurt and home to the Alpen-Adria University. The city of Klagenfurt is located in southern Austria, midway across the nation, near the international border. It ...

[ read more ]

Museum of Italian Judaism and the Shoah in Ferrara

Museum of Italian Judaism and the Shoah in Ferrara

[caption id="attachment_236323" align="aligncenter" width="590"] © Lungoleno/cc-by-sa-4.0[/caption][responsivevoice_button voice="UK English Female" buttontext="Listen to this Post"]The Museum of Italian Judaism and the Shoah (MEIS) (Italian: Museo Nazionale dell’Ebraismo Italiano e della Shoah) is a public history museum in Ferrara, Italy. It opened in 2017, and traces the history of the Jewish people in Italy starting from the Roman empire through the Holocaust of the 20th century. Chartered by the Italian government in 2003, MEIS contains over 200 artifacts and exhibits that proceed chro...

[ read more ]

Theme Week Emilia-Romagna - Piacenza

Theme Week Emilia-Romagna - Piacenza

[caption id="attachment_152595" align="aligncenter" width="590"] Piazza Duomo © Giovanni Dall'Orto[/caption][responsivevoice_button voice="UK English Female" buttontext="Listen to this Post"]Piacenza is the capital of the province of Piacenza. Strategically the city is at a major crossroads at the intersection of Route E35/A1 between Bologna, gateway to eastern Italy, and Milan, gateway to the Alps, and Route E70/A21 between Brescia at the foot of the Alps and Tortona, where branches lead to Turin in the north, a major industrial city, and Genoa, a major coastal port. Piacenza is also at the ...

[ read more ]

Portrait: Roman emperor Hadrian

Portrait: Roman emperor Hadrian

[caption id="attachment_192296" align="aligncenter" width="590"] Emporer Hadrian and Antinous busts in the British Museum in London © SanGavinoEN/cc-by-sa-3.0[/caption][responsivevoice_button voice="UK English Female" buttontext="Listen to this Post"]Hadrian was Roman emperor from 117 to 138. He was born Publius Aelius Hadrianus, probably at Italica, near Santiponce (in modern-day Spain), into a Hispano-Roman family. His father was of senatorial rank, and was a first cousin of the emperor Trajan. Early in Hadrian's career, before Trajan became emperor, he married Trajan's grand-niece Vibia Sa...

[ read more ]

Return to TopReturn to Top
Dining Room © Bernard Gagnon/cc-by-sa-3.0
Hearst Castle on the Pacific Coast Highway

Hearst Castle is a National Historic Landmark and California Historical Landmark mansion located on the Central Coast of California, United...

Flag Of Europe
The European Union: Quo vadis?

(Latest update: 7 June 2022) Best of all first: The EU and the Eurozone today have greater approval among its...

Sailing yacht and Marco Polo in Tallinn Bay © Pjotr Mahhonin/cc-by-sa-4.0
The Marco Polo

MS Marco Polo is a cruise ship owned by the Global Maritime Group under charter to UK-based Cruise & Maritime...

Close