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Hotel Louisa's Place in Berlin
Review, history, design and photos
Article added on June 1, 2013

The history, design and character of the hotel
  
The Berlin tourist industry has been booming in the last decade. The managing partner of Hotel Louisa's Place, Sven Schimank, told me that the number of overnight stays in Berlin has more than tripled from 7.8 million in 2003 to 25 million in 2013. Because of the larger number of beds available, the rates have not increased. Berlin remains one of the most affordable capitals in Europe. Nevertheless, there is no lack of recommendable hotels in Berlin. Louisa's Place is one of them.

Hotel Louisa's Place is situated at Kurfürstendamm 160, the famous Berlin shopping street, where you can find brands such as Louis Vuitton, Prada, Ermenegildo Zegna, Cartier, etc.

Constructed in 1904, the building served as a business and apartment house over the years. Until the mid-1990s, it was home to the piano bar Chez Alex, run by the Russian-born Alexander Kozulin, he welcomed the jet-set in his bar, including Prince Albert of Monaco, Gloria von Thurn und Taxis, Joan Collins and Hildegard Knef.

Afterwards, the building was totally renovated, leaving only the façade, the stucco in the staircase and a few other details in its original state. The original idea was to turn the building into a retirement home. Before the plan could be implemented, it was sold by its owner, an insurance company. The brothers Pierre and Matthias Ehret bought it and turned it into a five-star hotel, which is run by Ehret & Schimank GmbH.

The interior design is the work of the late Etchika Werner. Her plans were implemented by the Stadler company from the city of Offenbach. The soft-opening took place in October 2003.

The hotel offers a personalized service. The staff is friendly, welcoming and helpful. The concierge is a member of the Clefs d'Or; he can organize you the tickets for the sold-out show you absolutely did not want to miss.

Louisa's Place features 47 suites or serviced apartments, all equipped with Bosch kitchen appliances. This hotel is ideal for long-staying guests and families. For stays over 14 nights, the hotel offers great rates. Roughly a third of the guests are long-staying, and a high-percentage at Louisa's Place are regular guests.

The rooms are divided into five categories, which differ only by the room size, with the exception of the bathrooms; only the Suites 410 and 210 feature both, a bathtub and a shower (as well as two bedrooms). All other rooms come only with a shower.

The “smallest” rooms are the Junior Suites, featuring between 41 and 49 sqm. The largest apartment is the Louisa's Suite with 102 sqm.

In 2005, I stayed in the Superior Suite 102 (article in German) with 55 sqm and, in 2013, in the Grand Suite 101 with 72 sqm. Wherever you stay at Louisa's Place, you can enjoy enough space to breath!

Over half of the suites have a balcony with a table and two chairs, ideal for breakfast in summer. Six suites feature a winter garden. All rooms are equipped with sound-absorbing windows.

Breakfast is served in the garden room. If weather allows it, you can enjoy your breakfast outside, in the small hotel garden.

A hotel is a work in progress. Only two days before my arrival, all beds received new mattresses. The result? I slept like a baby.



Art and antiquities in the hotel

The highlight of the reception area is a Savonnerie carpet from the Manufacture d'Aubusson. It is hand-woven in a 17th-century style, which takes 400 to 600 hours to produce one square meter.

The hotel library delights visitors with its oak paneling. Only part of it is new. Worked into the new panels are Louis-Seize-boiseries dating back to around 1770-80 and stemming from a music room in a French castle. Mandolins, violins, trombones, herald's trumpets and floral elements ornate the historic panels.

The eye-catcher of the Garden Room is the masonry heater with historic, white ceramic tiles. It is not just a show-piece. If the outside temperature sinks below thirteen degrees Celsius, a thermostat will heat up the tiles.

The parquet floor is historic too, which is revealed by the nailing of the oak parquet. It was made by hand in France in the style of Châteaux de Versailles. Throughout the hotel rooms, you can find contemporary, oak parquet floors, which give them a warm feeling.

If you are interested in details, have a look at the lithophanes in the staircase and corridors, supported in lead cames. A closer look reveals portraits of Berlin landmarks and personalities such as Frederick the Great, nicknamed “Old Fritz” (Alter Fritz).

The marble sculpture of a lady on the ground-floor level of the staircase is not a depiction of the famous Louisa (aka Luise or Louise), the Queen consort of Prussia (1776-181, who gave her name to the hotel, but a late 19th-century sculpture of artistic value of a Greek goddess.

The artworks on the walls throughout the suites were made by the female artist Nele Bednarczyk in 2003. She shot photographs of Berlin landmarks and details of the hotel, which she then digitally defamiliarized to the point that they look like watercolors. In my Grand Suite 101, I found artworks depicting the Brandenburg Gate, the Reichstag and details of the hotel façade, staircase and balconies.



The spa, the pool, wine and more

Despite its small size with only 47 suites, Louisa's Place features a spa with a 10x4 meter resistance pool, a gym, a sauna, a tepidarium and beauty & massage rooms, serviced by the in-house spa therapist Katrin Wilke.

The newest additions to the hotel are hairdresser Udo Waltz, who has opened a dependence in the hotel; in Berlin, probably only Chancellor Merkel has a higher name-recognition than the German hairstylist. Brand new is also the Vesper Bar, where dry Martinis, long drinks and cocktails are served in a contemporary atmosphere.

Last but not least, Sven Schimank's partner, Pierre Ehret, created the Ehret Family Winery in Knights Valley in Northern Sonoma County, California. Mr. Schimank told me that he was present at the creation, which started with 200 liters of red wine for private consumption put into an oak barrel in 2002. The Cabernet Sauvignon was such a success that Pierre Ehret decided to turn it into a business. The estate produces several wines, white and mainly red, some of which have already received warm accolades. You can taste the wines at Hotel Louisa's Place and its restaurant (review in German). I have a bottle of a 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon (Louisa's Place Special Edition) with me to taste. [Added on June 2, 2013: I am just tasting the 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon with a Polish friend in Warsaw, and we agree: Brilliant! A strong wine (14.5%) with a pronounced blackcurrant as well as leather and tobacco flavor. I just have difficulties recognizing the vanilla tannins that you should find on the finish. Highly recommendable!].

Pierre Ehret is also the owner of the well-known Flamingo Conference Resort & Spa in Santa Rosa, California, which attracted Hollywood stars such as actress Jayne Mansfield, who used to sunbath at the hotel pool.

Back to Hotel Louisa's Place: Together with its restaurant, it makes an excellent overall impression. It is one of Berlin's highly recommendable accommodations, especially for people who care about their privacy.


Books about Berlin from Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com.


The lounge. Photos © Mario Ziegler / Hotel Louisa's Place, Berlin, Germany.


The sauna. Photos © Hotel Louisa's Place, Berlin, Germany.


A massage room in the hotel spa. Photos © Hotel Louisa's Place, Berlin, Germany.


The hotel façade. Photos © Hotel Louisa's Place, Berlin, Germany.


On the left, the building of Louisa's Place. The historic photograph was shot between the First and the Second World War. Photos © Hotel Louisa's Place, Berlin, Germany.


The Library. Photos © Hotel Louisa's Place, Berlin, Germany.


The living room in a hotel suite. Photos © Hotel Louisa's Place, Berlin, Germany.


A view of Suite 107. Photos © Mario Ziegler / Hotel Louisa's Place, Berlin, Germany.


View of a bedroom. Photos © Hotel Louisa's Place, Berlin, Germany.


View of one of the two suites with bath and shower. All the other suites feature only a shower. Photos © Hotel Louisa's Place, Berlin, Germany.


All 47 suites feature a kitchen. Photos © Hotel Louisa's Place, Berlin, Germany.


View of the pool area; pool: 10x4 meters. hotos © Hotel Louisa's Place, Berlin, Germany.


A cosmetic room in the wellness area. Photos © Hotel Louisa's Place, Berlin, Germany.


Restaurant Balthazar (2013-review in German). Photos © Hotel Louisa's Place, Berlin, Germany.



View of the Garden Room at Louisa's Place, where breakfast is served. The elegant room can also be used for private meetings and dinners.
Photographs © Hotel Louisa's Place, Berlin, Germany.