Staff Review

Hamburg, Berlin and Dresden

by The Kirker Team

After landing in the rather pristine Flughafen in Hamburg from an evening flight, we made our way to the Atlantic Kempinski via the speedy U-bahn underground service. The hotel's location could not have been more scenic, overlooking the Aubenalster Lake in the heart of the city and the maritime furnishings within the property reminded us of Hamburg's sea-faring heritage.The next day, a short orientation taxi ride past the modern State Opera house took us to the smaller and rather quaint Binnealster Lake where one would be able to have a look at local boutique stalls on the lake's perimeter. The site of the Fairmont Vier Jahreszeiten proved to be as picturesque as that of the Atlantic as many of its rooms enjoy wonderful Binnealster views and in the summer guests make great use of the Jahreszeiten Terrace eatery across the way to take in lake and city views.'We could not leave the city without exploring the banks of the River Elbe to gauge the extent of Hamburg's maritime past. A half hour stroll took us past the impressive St Michaelis Church with its jet black roof blazing in the sun and the notorious Reeperbahn, where The Beatles began their ascension to stardom. Having passed through the bustling fish market of the St Pauli district we finished our stroll at the Maritime Museum and our thoughts turned to the train journey ahead later that day which would take us to our next destination: Berlin.The smooth and seamless journey from Hamburg to Berlin Hauptbahnhof put us in good spirits for our arrival at the famous Adlon Kempinski. So exquisite is the classical façade and the traditional interior of this hotel, and so ideal is its setting in the shadow of the Brandenburg gate that it renders the Adlon one of the most desirable properties in Europe. Our walking tour exploring the historical contours of the Berlin wall was fascinating. We started from the bullet holes of the Brandenburg Gate, circumnavigating the Reichstag, passing through the rather sombre Topography of Terror Museum and finishing at Checkpoint Charlie.'Passing along the main thoroughfare of Unter den Linden our hotel visits took us to the five-star De Rome which sits proudly on the famous Bebelplaz and provides spacious classical rooms, state of the art facilities and tremendous access to the Museum Island. We also had a showing of the popular four star Art'Otel Berlin Mitte which strikes a chord for those who are partial to the contemporary art scene and the location of which lies upon the River Spree in the far East of the city. Western Berlin provides a more residential and relaxed atmosphere which is reflected in the style of the five-star Brandenburger Hof where its botanical central courtyard provides a tranquil area in which to have breakfast and take a stroll through the nearby Tiergarten.The final leg of our German trilogy took us to Dresden - two hours on the high speed service from Berlin. Dresden, rather like Berlin, is a city under continuous reconstruction due to being all but annihilated by RAF bombers during World War Two. The restoration that has taken place in the centre of this university town has seen the resurrection of iconic buildings such as the Baroque Zwinger Palace, the Semper Opera house and the colossal Frauenkirche.'Upon arrival at the town centre we were warmly greeted by the staff of the Kempinski Taschenbergpalais which could not be better located for those needing a platform to explore the town. Not only is Dresden Castle and the Green Vault a stone's throw from the pearly white walls of the hotel but the Semper Opera and the Zwinger Palace can also be reached with ease. We had the fortune of staying across the river in the beautifully furnished Bulow Palais which is situated in a more residential area of Dresden yet a mere ten minutes' walk across the bridge to the main square.

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