An upscale hotel in the heart of Berlin, let down by the service – Hilton Berlin

For the last night of my Baltic Explorer trip in Berlin, I picked the Hilton Hotel on the Gendarmenmarkt. I needed one more stay for my FastTrack to Gold status with the Hilton HHonors program and I was looking forward to a luxurious stay to end my trip in a central location. Read on to find out how I liked the Hilton!

BER Hilton MapLocation: You couldn’t find a much more central location in Berlin than the Hilton, especially when you are on a leisure trip to see the sights of Berlin. It’s located off the “Gendarmenmarkt” in the heart of the historic center. You can reach the famous “Brandenburger Tor”, the boulevard “Unter den Linden”, the “Museumsinsel”  and the “Alexanderplatz” and all the sights in between with a leisurely walk. There is plenty of shopping along “Friedrichstrasse” and lots of restaurants to choose from all around. There is a subway station right in front of the hotel that allows you to connect to anywhere on Berlin’s excellent public transport system. From the airport, you can reach the hotel in about 20 minutes by taxi without traffic or 30 minutes by bus.

Service: The service at the Hilton was professional and efficient, but not very friendly, not unusual in Germany, even though I’d expect more from a luxury hotel. There were no smiles or recognition of my Hilton Status, but I was checked in quickly and on my way to the room. Housekeeping had done their job thoroughly and I had no complaints or issues during my stay.

Room: I had a standard room with a king size bed. It’s held in dark beige, grey and brown tones that are warm, contemporary and inoffensive, but look a little gloomy. The king bed was very comfortable with nice sheets, there was a single chair in the corner to lounge and a swivel glass work desk with desk chair. There was plenty of storage for 1-2 people. A large TV and safe were provided.
BER Hilton Bed2The bathroom is relatively small and has black floor and white wall tiles, white tub and sink and a black counter top. With the sink in the corner, they make the most of the available space. The tub has a shower and partial, folding glass wall, a pretty standard set-up in Germany.
The relatively low ceiling and small bathroom are probably due to the construction prior to the fall of the wall. But all of it was meticulously maintained and very clean. It’ll be hard to find fault with the room.

BER Hilton Bath cRestaurants/Amenities: The Hilton has a large Executive Lounge available when you book an Executive Room or Suite or are a Gold/Diamond member in Hilton’s HHonors reward program. In addition to the Lobby Lounge, the Hilton serves breakfast, lunch and dinner at the Beletage Restaurant with great views of the “Gendarmenmarkt” just across the street. You’ll also have the option to taste some local favorites at the “Domcurry” or “Mark Brandenburg”. There are so many restaurants in the area, I didn’t try any of the hotel restaurants.
BER Gendarmenmarkt2The Hilton has a large, well equipped gym to have a full workout, a spa and (at the time you read this) should – again – have a pool. It’s a huge, beautiful pool I remember from a previous visit, but unfortunately, it was closed during my stay for renovation. It’s one of my pet peeves when hotels advertise their services on the web site – and then don’t have them available. Most big chains put a note on their website and I always feel cheated when they don’t! The Hilton staff didn’t even apologize or make any effort to make it right, not an appropriate way to handle it! That problem should be solved now, but I recommend to check in with the hotel before booking to avoid any disappointments.

BER Hilton GymConclusion: The Hilton is in a great location at the heart of Berlin, offers contemporary rooms, plenty of restaurants to choose from and a gym, spa and pool to relax in. For elite members there is a large Executive Lounge to make the stay more comfortable. The service at the Hilton was a disappointment and probably enough to try somewhere else on a future trip. The Westin is in an even better location, has comparable rooms and amenities and better service. The Radisson Blu is also in a better location and features a stunning aquarium in the lobby. Both are similar in price and great alternatives if you are not a die-hard Hilton fan!

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