From a Bank to a 5-Star Hotel
Berlin, 2011 The Rocco Forte Hotel de Rome on Berlin’s Bebelplatz has interesting stories to tell not only within its own walls but the name Hotel de Rome goes two centuries back and is part of the history of Berlin.
The name “Hotel de Rome” or “Hotel Stadt Rom” can be traced back to 1775. It was at that time one of the finest hotels/guest houses located “Unter den Linden” house number 10. End of the 1850s, Adolf Mühling acquired the building, refurbished and extended it to a luxurious five-storey, 200 bedrooms hotel including a ballroom and an elegant restaurant. Hotel de Rome was one of Berlin’s most famous hotel and hosted important events like the “Berlin Press Ball”. Furthermore, hotelier Mühling was purveyor to the court and it is known that he delivered a bathtub from the hotel to the emperors’ palace that was not yet equipped with a bathroom. This “emperor’s tub” is a well guarded legend. The location of the former Hotel de Rome Unter den Linden – between Friedrichstrasse and Charlottenstrasse was an unbeatable advantage.
Back then like today, Hotel de Rome was equipped with the latest technical innovations: In 1867 for example, the hotel introduced the first hydraulic lift. Recently, in the same year at the World Exhibition in Paris this technology was presented to a small selected person subgroup. With the help of a so called “Preiskurant“ the guests had the possibility to have a look on their actual invoice. The operation of this was very troublesome with the help of telegraphs, speaking tubes and letter shoot. Because the succession of Mühling had not been arranged, the hotel was torn down in February 1910.
Parallel to the history of the name “Hotel de Rome”, there is an interesting story behind today’s hotel building. In its original form, the building was constructed from 1884 to 1889 by architect Ludwig Heim. Dresdner Bank became the owner and housed its headquarter in this building until 1945. Until 1910, structural modifications were completed like a spacious, elegant two-storey counter hall – today’s 276 sqm ball room with its original décor of stucco ceiling or Terrazzo floor with mosaics. In the four corners of the ball room one can find perpetuated the 4 city names of the main head offices of Dresdner Bank: Dresden, Bremen, London and Berlin.
Additionally, the two historic staircases were almost completely preserved. One of them designed in granite and a light base, decorated tiles and wrought-iron handrails. The second staircase is designed mainly in marble with a wide steel stairway. The first and second floor, where the former bank director rooms were located impress with their high ceilings, wooden coffered ceilings, original wood panelling, as well as generous stucco and figurative décor. One example of the contemporary witness: grenadesmithereens dating back to World War II have been maintained carefully in the wood panelling. These rooms are now transformed into the hotels’ deluxe suites. A true historical home away from home!
The broad and a bit mysterious history of the building is also reflected by “Spa de Rome“. Located on the lower ground floor of the hotel, this is the place of the former bank vault area. Before: Jewel vault where the Ladies kept their precious belongings in around 400 safe deposit boxes. Now/After: A 20-metres swimming pool designed with golden mosaic that makes guests reminisce about ancient times.
NOTES FOR EDITORS
Rocco Forte Hotels was established in 1996 to create a collection of luxury hotels in Europe. The hotels have individual styles, with each hotel reflecting its nationality and location. The collection is linked together under the Rocco Forte Collection brand, which guarantees attention to detail, quality and service delivery.
The Rocco Forte Hotels collection includes:
Hotel de Russie, Rome
Hotel Savoy, Florence
The Balmoral, Edinburgh
The St David’s Hotel & Spa, Cardiff
The Lowry Hotel, Manchester
Hotel Astoria, St Petersburg
Hotel Amigo, Brussels
Le Richemond, Geneva
Brown’s Hotel, London
Villa Kennedy, Frankfurt
The Charles Hotel, Munich
The Augustine, Prague
Verdura Golf & Spa Resort, Sicily
Rocco Forte Abu Dhabi, Abu Dhabi
Jeddah - 2011
Marrakesh - 2012
Cairo – 2012
For further information and online reservations, please visit the Rocco Forte Hotels website: www.roccofortehotels.com.