Now, unless I’m traveling stateside, I usually shy away from booking stays at the big hotel chains and opt for boutique stays instead. I’m a sucker for boutique hotels – so much so that in part, I’m building my business around promoting discounted boutique hotel stays. I won’t go into all of the reasons I love boutique hotels in this post, but let’s just say that boutique hotels perfectly align with my travel style.
Anyway, as I was in the planning stages of our European trip in the fall of 2013, I received a surprise email from one of the editors of Afar, one of my favorite travel magazines, informing me that I was one of the winners of a photo competition that was awarding me with a two night stay at any SPG property in the world!
I literally read the email as I was deplaning our flight from D.C., and I almost shouted when I got the news because I never win anything. Ever. Not even $2 scratchers. So after excitedly sharing the email with Jave and doing a quick search of SPG properties in Europe, I decided that we’d celebrate our win at The Westin Grand Berlin.
As its name suggests, The Westin Grand Berlin is just that – grand! The hotel features 400 guest rooms and suites, a sauna, indoor swimming pool, exercise room, restaurants, and bars. From the outside, the hotel looks like your typical big city mega hotel, but as soon as you step through the doors and lay your eyes on the lobby, you’ll discover that The Westin Grand Berlin is special. Its interior wedding cake architecture is reminiscent of panoptic opera house interiors, and the towering ceiling gave me the sense that I was in a beautiful cathedral.
Our spacious, contemporary room provided us with a tranquil view of the hotel’s garden, our bed was amazingly soft and welcoming, and the bathroom was immaculately spotless and provided every amenity we could possibly need. To put it mildly, it was very, very hard to leave our hotel room each day which is saying a lot coming from this time conscious traveler who’s admittedly quite rigid when it comes to sticking to our itinerary. In fact, our comfortable hotel stay was the main reason we skipped our day trip to Potsdam where we’d planned to visit Sanssouci Palace, and why we almost slept through our pre-paid nighttime visit to the Berlin TV Tower. We just didn’t want to peel ourselves from the comfort of our bed.
But alas, we did, because Berlin is a city to be seen and experienced. Another plus of The Westin Grand Berlin is that it’s located in the middle of Mitte on Friedrichstraße, a bustling street in Berlin that’s full of options for shopping and dining. Also, the hotel is conveniently located to bus/metro stops which makes it really easy to get to the Berlin TV Tower and Museum Island which are just a short ride away. Not to mention, Brandenburg Gate which sits in Pariser Platz, Checkpoint Charlie, and plenty of other sites are just a short 10-15 minute walk from the hotel.
With all of the excitement going on just outside of the hotel, it was great to know that our quiet retreat awaited us back inside.
So while my love for boutique hotels will never fade, The Westin Grand Berlin and some of SPG’s other properties across its other brands that I’ve had the privilege of staying at over the years, make for a nice change.
*For more info about The Westin Grand Berlin and to book your stay, click here.