Waldorf Astoria Berlin
The Waldorf Astoria is located in an increasingly fashionable area of Berlin, near the Zoologischer Garten. Although the area has a lot of inward investment, it isn't the prettiest part of the city; however, it is great for shopping with the nearby Kurfürstendamm and Tauentzienstrasse, complete with the wonders of KaDeWe (check out the food hall - the largest in Europe) where you can usually sample a range of wines on Saturdays free-of-charge.
The hotel itself is one of the tallest buildings in Berlin with 32 floors (the city is mostly low-rise) and has great views over the Tiergarten. The lobby of the hotel is a cool and stylishly mod space with a seating area for tea and coffee and high ceilings. We thought the hotel should have used a different/stronger scent in the lobby, as it currently doesn't smell expensive (we love the Intercontinental Park Lane's fragrance). This stay was a gift from family who purchased a Groupon for a night in a deluxe room (including breakfast) and concert tickets to the wonderful Schloss Charlottenburg Residenz Konzert (definitely recommended - the ticket shop opposite the hotel often has half price tickets on the day). Upon check-in we realised that we had been booked in a standard, not deluxe room (after being offered an up-sell to Deluxe), but this was sorted reasonably quickly once we provided documentary proof of our reservation.
We took a picnic with us to the hotel and ordered a bottle of wine through room service. This was delivered swiftly, but wasn't great for €40. There again, it seemed better value than the €15 bottle of Evian!
The following morning we had breakfast in the main dining room. This was somewhat of a disaster. Although we are used to breakfast buffets, we have never before come across a self-clear restaurant in a 5* hotel. Naturally, it wasn't meant to be this way, but when you have a pile of dirty plates in the middle of the table and wait around 30 minutes for them to be cleared (despite numerous waiters walking past) you do it yourself in the end. When we eventually managed to flag down a waiter to order 2 poached eggs with gluten free toast, this was delivered as 2 portions of Eggs Benedict, one with gluten-free toast. This took 30 minutes to arrive. After sending this back (we can't eat the sauce and only wanted 1 portion anyway), it took a further 10 minutes for poached eggs to arrive, and it still wasn't as ordered, although we made do. In addition, the delicious looking mango had been out too long and was fizzy, not necessarily safe to eat. In general, the fruit had obviously been cut up long ago and didn't taste fresh. At no point were we proactively offered a refill of tea or coffee, or hot dishes. The hot drinks were appalling and tasted only very vaguely of coffee / green tea.
King Deluxe Room
The overall decor of the hotel is pretty nice, but feels slightly down market of Park Hyatt. Our room was, according to the website, 42 square metres and had a reasonable view of the Tiergarten. The bathroom was spacious with adequate vanity area, a pretty but small bath and powerful rain shower, complete with Ferragamo toiletries. It was a shame that there was only one of each provided - there was nowhere near enough conditioner for 2, but a phone call to housekeeping provided an extra set within around 10 minutes. A particular highlight were the soft, fluffy bathrobes. They went a little way to making up for the extortionate internet charges - €12 for 1 hour or €25 for 24 hours. The Adlon and Hotel am Steinplatz offer complimentary internet, so why not the WA? Minibar prices were also over the top.
Openable windows made for a nice change in a high-rise hotel and the air-conditioning coped well with the 32 C heat of August. Unfortunately, the room hadn't been properly prepped as there was only 1 Nespresso capsule available, instead of 6. Good that they offer Nespresso though, even in the lower room categories.
Overall, we were very disappointed with our stay at the Waldorf Astoria. Whilst the public areas and guest room were nice enough, there was no wow factor. Service in general was average at best, with the worst breakfast we have ever encountered in a 5* hotel. Service was really terrible and the food poor quality. Although the hotel isn't cheap, the additional charges are outrageous - internet, minibar and in-room dining are much more expensive than local competitors. The spa could be a great facility and has wonderful staff, but the pool and spa area is too small to allow children access during the main times people want to use the facilities. If you do stay here, we advise visiting the gym and filling your pockets with fruit and water - the miserly amount provided in the room won't last long. As is probably clear from this review, we strongly advise not staying at the Waldorf Astoria in Berlin. In fact, this stay has put us off staying at both Waldorf Astoria and Conrad branded hotels we had planned to try later in the year. There are no excuses for the problems we encountered - it is simply a case of management not maintaining standards.