Berlin continues to grow in popularity for meetings and conferences, with 11.4 million attendees visiting last year alone—a 4 percent increase from the previous year. To accommodate growing numbers, the German capital will see a surge of new hotel debuts and cultural offerings this year with plans to open a new airport in 2017.
In February, the 389-room Titanic Chaussee Berlin opened its doors in the Mitte borough, considered to be the historical heart of Berlin. A few minutes from the modern art museum Hamburger Bahnhof, the hotel gives groups access to some of the city’s best architecture, restaurants and art galleries. Meeting planners can host an onsite event in the Mediterranean, Pascarela Restaurant, while an about 5,900-sf ballroom and 15 conference rooms are also available for groups.
The historic Oderberger Strasse bathhouse, established in 1902 in the city’s Prenzlauer Berg district, was revamped as Hotel Oderberger at the beginning of the year. A four-year renovation transformed the bathhouse to include a 72-room hotel with 20 conference rooms available for groups. A restaurant serving up German haute cuisine debuts in July, and the bathhouse with a sauna and wellness areas will reopen in October.
Other hotel highlights for 2016 include the opening of 108-room Hotel Zoe in the Mitte district (a noteworthy space is its rooftop terrace) and Berlin’s newest Design Hotels member, the boutique Hotel Provocateur near Kurfurstandamm.
The Case for Espionage
Espionage has long been a subject of interest in Berlin, with plenty of movies and books using the city as a mystery-building backdrop. The new 21,500-sf Berlin Spy Museum will cater to the city’s brush with agents, double agents and heroes and their stories, as well as unveiling the mysteries of intelligence services during WWII and the Cold War. Of particular note is the “Enigma,” the German coding machine used to encipher and decipher secret messages during WWII.
The $6 billion Berlin Brandenburg Airport, which has been in the works since 2006 and was originally scheduled to open in 2011, is still on track for completion in 2017. However, amendments to the schedule required to fix errors as well as the need to comply with updated security guidelines may push back the opening date even more than expected.
In the meantime, airberlin will start two new services with several non-stop flights weekly from Dusseldorf, the airline’s main long-haul hub, to Boston and San Francisco. LA and New York will also pick up one additional weekly service. The flights will incorporate 40 additional XL economy class seats for more comfort.