Postcard from... Berlin


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The Independent Online


Regular guests of the Hotel Bogota have included Helmut Newton, the German actress Hannah Schygulla and Rene Burri, photographer of the famous portrait of Che Guevara smoking a cigar. They all checked in because of the enchanting, slightly run-down ambience which gave it Bohemian allure. Set in a side street off west Berlin’s Kürfüstendamm boulevard, the hotel was so named by its founder Heinz Rewald because he was given refuge from the Nazis in the Columbian capital during the 1930s. Built in 1911, the Hotel Bogota has yellowing walls, stucco ceilings, chandeliers from the 1950s and bits of furniture from almost every era since about 1900. Opened just after the Berlin Wall was built, in the mid-1960s, the hotel became a second home for artists, actors and writers not least because of the moderate prices charged for most of its 115 rooms. Yet at the end of November, the Hotel Bogota will close its doors for good. The business was declared bankrupt earlier this year and now its days are numbered. Joachim Rissmann, the manager, is auctioning off furniture and goods. “Perhaps someday, somebody might use this stuff to furnish a small hotel,” he says.