Hotel de Rome, Berlin
A grand 19th-century monument gets a new look from an ambitious hotelier intent on giving the illustrious Adlon a run for its money.
Location: Billing itself as "Berlin's architectural gem," the Hotel de Rome occupies the old Dresdner Bank headquarters on Unter den Linden, overlooking the Baroque-era Bebelplatz.
Pedigree: The Rocco Forte group (Brown's Hotel in London, the Hotel de Russie in Rome) typically makes magic out of rundown but exquisitely situated properties in Europe's prestige capitals.
Style Design: Public areas, overseen by in-house guru Olga Polizzi, are simultaneously modern and grandiose: the lobby is replete with marble, dark velvet furniture, and heroically proportioned Romanesque vases. Bedrooms are less successful, but the bathrooms are the vast polished limestone playgrounds expected of this class of hotel.
Service Amenities: The Mediterranean restaurant, Parioli, serves up faultless veal saltimbocca and wild mushroom ravioli, and the bar has quickly established itself as a favorite with Berlin's glitterati. The black granite-and-limestone spa, in the old bank vaults, is spectacular; among the first-rate treatments are a lomilomi massage and a carrot-vitamin body wrap.
Rooms to Book: Go for rooms on the fourth and fifth floors; request one of the rooms with a terrace facing scenic Bebelplatz and Humboldt University. We also love the suites on the first floor that feature 14-foot ceilings, original stucco, and boardroom-style wood paneling.
37 Behrenstrasse; 49-30/460-6090; www.roccofortehotels.com; doubles from $600.