Review: NH Collection – Berlin Mitte Friedrichstrasse

Location

We got off the metro at Fredrickstrasse and found the right exit (towards Unter der Linden) and came out of the underground blinking in the grey light. I knew we were close and said let’s just start walking down the road until we see the hotel and just happened to glance to the left as I said it. There was the Berlin Mitte Friedrichstrasse – right beside the exit.

The Room

It was about 10am, so we knew we were early and the plan was just to drop off our bags and head out to explore. We get to reception and there’s a little queue of people checking out, so we watch the staff in action. They’re very friendly and professional and it’s not long before we’re head of the queue. We enquire as to whether the room is ready and not only is it ready, but to our delight they had upgraded us to a corner suite!

Taking careful note of the listed internet instructions and location of the restaurant for breakfast, we headed up to the room. I must admit I was quite stunned: the room had a waiting room-like lounge with a couch that folded out to a second bed, and a huge mirror that was taller than me and three times as wide. This was also where the tea and coffee facilities were (yes, a kettle in the room on the continent!) as well the minibar and second TV.

But the best part was around the corner into the main area of the room. That’s when I noticed the high ceilings and the floor to ceiling windows. The view was of the street out front of the hotel, along a gap between buildings to the river and of the Fredrickstrasse rail station and the corridor between that and the hotel. The windows are quadruple glazed and the most we could hear of the street noise was an almost imperceptible low rumble when a train went by. Until some buskers set up right outside the hotel and started singing! Nothing could protect us from that!

The singer had set up on a pedestrian arcade which had four or five restaurants nestled under the rail tracks, right out the side door of the hotel, so we were spoiled for choice for food options.

I idly wondered whether the pedestrians below could see us and so we pulled the curtains and waved at them. None of them waved back or looked up. We decided that the windows must be mirrored or something, and went back to investigating the room.

The bed was firm and had the independent duvets which I was slowly getting used to. The desk alongside had plenty of power points and was surprisingly comfortable to work at. The bathroom had a heated towel rail, dual shower heads (one “rainforest” and one “standard”) and the hotel’s name brand toiletries.

The main room also had a couple of chairs and a table, but the whole room just exuded a relaxed airy feel – the classic white colour scheme and high ceilings really saw to that. We paused briefly for a refreshing cup of tea and then headed down and out to explore Berlin.

We tried connecting to the wifi using the credentials given at reception but they didn’t work – it was easy enough to enter the room number and name to get connected though, so I wasn’t sure if those credentials were for higher up in the hotel, or what the story was.

When we had arrived they had mentioned that we were eligible for one free item of clothing to be pressed (something I’ve always been appreciative of when travelling for work), so I took down my dress shirt with instructions it had to be ready before checkout the next day. We then headed out for sight seeing.

Just to check we crossed the road and looked up at our room, expecting not to be able to see in. But no, we can see everything: I make a mental note to keep the robe on after showering!

On Our Return

About five or six hours later we came back to the room and the shirt was sitting on the coat hook in the ante-room, freshly pressed. We decided to grab a sauna and then have dinner – we’d had a long day walking around Berlin so wanted to sweat out the muscle soreness.

Sauna

The Wellness centre boasted an old school sauna and solarium, a shower room and foot warmer. The best part for me was a “How to Sauna” infographic in two languages with a couple of very noticeable differences – the English version gives a 8-10 minute warm up and the German one a 10-15 minute one. There’s also a fridge of drinks to stay hydrated and big fluffy towels to accompany our robes and slippers. As usual, one size fits all slippers don’t fit my enormous feet, so I make do with bare feet. Not complaining though!

I must admit we don’t follow the instructions for the sauna, and head straight into the sauna and flick the egg timer over to see if we can manage 15 minutes in the 50C heat. As sweat drips off me I wonder if we are only getting a certain percentage of the benefit – I imagine sauna aficionados would be shaking their head at us as we only just manage the 15 minutes and then wash the sweat off in the shower room.

Food

Dinner

We’re naturally well rested after the sauna and don’t feel like going out so we peruse the room service menu. The burgers stand out as being exceptional value – at a price point which surprises me for the class of hotel. Ange gets one too and when they arrive I’m pleasantly surprised. The meat patty is large and threatens to overpower the delicate balance, but the fried onions are a lovely touch and it’s very juicy!

As we get started on our shared dessert, we hear the buskers return for a repeat performance. Sometime later the act changes from a three piece (good singer on guitar and two other guys on bongos) to a solo female singer accompanying herself on guitar.

The guy could sing but the girl sacrifices technique for volume and ends up screeching her country covers into a disinterested street. The best part of it is by 8pm they’ve all packed up and gone, leaving the only noise the soft rumble of the regional trains.

Breakfast

We hit the restaurant for breakfast and are very pleasantly surprised at the scale of the effort. There are a range of fruit juices, accompanied by shot glasses of invigorating fruit combinations. There are cold cuts of meat, a myriad of cereals and assorted toppings. A freshly baked collection of breads, buns and loafs plus butters and spreads to go with them. A whole gluten free section beckons. And that doesn’t even mention the hot foods plus the onsite chef preparing your omelette exactly as you like it.

Shower

Ange knocked on the door – what are you doing?! I had discovered a magical setting on the shower head in the shower and must have let my delight show at having heated fingers of high pressure water massage my shoulders, neck and back. There was a little button on the shower head which clicked through the settings, allowing more or less water through the outer holes and the remainder through the central ones. One setting even had the central flow moving in patterns making for a lovely back rub. Heaven! The video below shows cycling through the settings but I had turned the pressure right down for the purposes of actually seeing the differences on the video.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Shower: I wish I had discovered this earlier! A free massage while you get clean!
  • Location: so close to so many attractions and the centre of the business district
  • Breakfast: a huge selection, enough to warrant three or four visits to the many counters
  • Sauna and Gym: great facilities and actual instructions too! Great for working off that breakfast
  • Friendly staff

Cons

  •  No pool: very hard to think of many cons here, so bear with me as I try
  • The internet instructions differed from what was on the sign in reception. Of course those instructions might have just been for reception…
  • Auto sign up for rewards program: my only legitimate gripe

Would I Return?

Yes. A thousand times yes. The hotel is close enough to everything to make it a great base for shopping, business or sight seeing, and has all the facilities you’d expect from a luxury hotel in the centre of town.

NH Collection supported our Summer 2017: UNESCO tour by providing a complimentary stay. All opinions remain our own.