Nestled in the heart of Berlin’s hip and trendy neighborhood of Kreuzberg, Orania.Berlin is the perfect luxury-with-an-edge boutique Hotel. It is one of those rare places you cannot believe you have found and never want to leave. The building dates from 1913 when the famous Oranienpalast Café held concerts and cabaret on the ground floor and offices were above. Like much of the neighborhood, the building had its ups and downs. It was a billiard hall, shop and nightclub called Trash before sitting empty. The current owner bought in 2008 without knowing what he was going to do with the space, but knowing it had to be preserved. The bones were fabulous, now everything is. I can’t begin to imagine how much has been invested, both financially and in design energy, to create this corner of paradise. Orainia.Berlin opened in August 2017. The quality of the furnishings, the fixtures, even the large wooden doors are drool worthy. The historic exterior and modest sign in no way prepare one for the chic, stylish understated luxury which permeates the interior. Jennifer and Philipp Vogel are the wife and husband team in charge. Sadly we are not related but boy do I wish we were. They are fabulous. The owner has given them tremendous carte blanche. They use their previous hospitality experience to create the perfect stay. Philipp has cooked all over the world with a big stint in China and a Michelin star in Vienna. The food is amazing (see my favorite thing). A former competitive sprinter, Jennifer brings the focus she once had for sport to heading the friendly helpful front of house team, overseeing the perfection of every space and promoting the Orania.Berlin. The hotel is their baby; they could not be more devoted. The hotel is committed to sustainability, laundry bags are paper, bottles are glass, amenities are organic. Each room is unique but all have Schramm mattresses with fluffy pillows and duvets that seduce, flattering bathroom lighting, elephants and exotic hard woods galore. Harking back to the space’s early Café days live music is performed in the lobby from 9 -11 six evenings a week. Additionally poetry slams, reading and classical concerts are held in the stunning top floor Salon on a regular basis. Guests can hide out up here and gaze over the city when it is not booked for private functions or to form part of a mega suite. There are a lot of hotels I want to stay in…The Orania.Berlin is one I actually wanted to work in. Everyone seemed genuinely proud of the hotel and happy to be there.
Number of Rooms: 41
Sweet Suite: The Orania 60… on the top floor with four French balconies overlooking the city, fantastically curved wall and large sitting area this room is romantic, unconventional and inspiring!
Favorite Thing: The X-burg duck…named for the neighborhood, influenced by Philipp’s experience in China, this exceptional four course duck menu is a must eat for anyone visiting Berlin. The duck is specially sourced from Silver Hill Farms in Ireland. The first course is a deeply flavorful & rich broth accompanied by a single heavenly dumpling filled with duck leg, liver and heart. We had to order a second bowl it was so delicious. Philipp imported a special oven from China which cooks whole duck in the traditional Peking way. He tweaks convention. The crispy roasted skin is thinly sliced from the duck table side then served with garlic cucumber, pickled radish, ginger, hoisin sauce and French crepes in lieu of the standard rice pancakes. While you are eating this course, the duck is placed back in the oven for just enough time to crisp the thin layer of fat left over the still pink and juicy breast. It is then served with a Szechuan pepper sauce and a side of lightly picked bok choy. Szechuan peppers make for a much more complex, tasty and interesting sauce that your typical black pepper one. The final course, as in a typical Chinese banquet is rice… fried with duck leg, veggies, sausage and served with a raw egg you whirl through the hot dish for richness. I loved every bite! I loved every bite of everything else I had from the restaurant too including perfect fried eggs with avocado at breakfast and a pastrami sandwich at the bar. Cocktails are another must… the Canadian Affair mixes whisky, maple syrup and pear foam.. we had to have seconds and thirds!
Near By: hip, edgy upcoming neighborhood of Kreuzberg, Check point Charlie, East Side Gallery, Mercedes Benz Arena, Museum Island
Amenities: Nespresso Machine, Berlin I&M Organic products, free Wi-Fi, 24/7 gym, bar, salon, restaurant, concerts, minibar