Hotel Adlon in Berlin

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

© 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). 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:

The HMS Warrior 1860

The HMS Warrior 1860

[caption id="attachment_153010" align="aligncenter" width="590"] Portsmouth Historic Dockyard © geograph.org.uk - Steve Daniels[/caption][responsivevoice_button voice="UK English Female" buttontext="Listen to this Post"]HMS Warrior was the first armour-plated, iron-hulled warship, built for the Royal Navy in response to the first ironclad warship, the French Gloire, launched a year earlier. When completed in October 1861, Warrior was the largest, fastest, most heavily armed and most heavily armoured warship the world had seen. She was almost twice the size of Gloire and thoroughly outclassed ...

University of Cambridge

University of Cambridge

[caption id="attachment_186215" align="aligncenter" width="590"] Clare College and King's Chapel on River Cam © Christian Richardt/cc-by-sa-3.0[/caption][responsivevoice_button voice="UK English Female" buttontext="Listen to this Post"]The University of Cambridge is a collegiate public research university in Cambridge, England. Founded in 1209 and granted a Royal Charter by King Henry III in 1231, Cambridge is the second-oldest university in the English-speaking world and the world's fourth-oldest surviving university. The university grew out of an association of scholars who left the Univers...

Portrait: Alexander Sergeyevich Pushkin, national poet and founder of modern Russian literature

Portrait: Alexander Sergeyevich Pushkin, national poet and founder of modern Russian literature

[caption id="attachment_27419" align="aligncenter" width="508"] Alexander Pushkin by Orest Adamowitsch Kiprenski[/caption][responsivevoice_button voice="UK English Female" buttontext="Listen to this Post"]Alexander Sergeyevich Pushkin, born on 26 May 1799, was a Russian poet, playwright, and novelist of the Romantic era who is considered by many to be the greatest Russian poet and the founder of modern Russian literature. Pushkin was born into Russian nobility in Moscow. His matrilineal great grandfather was Abram Gannibal, who was brought over as a slave from what is now Cameroon. Pus...

2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil: The venues

2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil: The venues

[responsivevoice_button voice="UK English Female" buttontext="Listen to this Post"]The World Cup is scheduled to take place at 12 venues from 12 June to 13 July 2014. Off the 12 stadiums, seven are new and five are newly renovated venues. Overall 64 World Cup matches will be played in the stadiums. [caption id="attachment_26362" align="aligncenter" width="590"] Arena Corinthians in São Paulo © Copa2014.gov.br/cc-by-3.0[/caption]The opening match between Brazil and Portugal will be held in Arena Corinthians in Brazil's largest city, São Paulo. Due to the request of at least 65,000 seats f...

The Appalachian Trail

The Appalachian Trail

[caption id="attachment_148982" align="aligncenter" width="303"] © Appalachian Trail Conservancy[/caption][responsivevoice_button voice="UK English Female" buttontext="Listen to this Post"]Each year, the year has come again. One has just completed the plans and preparations for the coming year, but then there are the plans which you can’t squeeze into business plans, budgets or profit expectations. Before Christmas I saw a documentary on television about the Appalachian Trail in America and there was the plan again, "Just get out and find time for yourself for a few months.". Well, between ...

Theme Week Monaco - Fontvieille

Theme Week Monaco - Fontvieille

[caption id="attachment_164122" align="aligncenter" width="590"] Port of Fontvieille © Georges Jansoone/cc-by-3.0[/caption][responsivevoice_button voice="UK English Female" buttontext="Listen to this Post"]Fontvieille is the southernmost ward in the Principality of Monaco. It was developed by an Italian architect, Manfredi Nicoletti, between the 1970s and the 1990s. In contrast to the other city districts Monaco-Ville, Monte Carlo and La Condamine, Fontvieille was constructed, after Italian engineer Gianfranco Gilardini's design, almost entirely on artificially reclaimed land and thus represe...

Return to Top ▲Return 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...

The European Union: Quo vadis?

Best of all first: The Eurozone today has greater approval among its citizens than it did in the past 35...

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...

Schließen