The life-size statue of a black dog outside the front door and a stone bench scattered with lime-green cushions appear slightly out of sync with the grand entrance of the elegant 19th-century mansion. Inside the Brandenburger Hof, the cool, cream lobby, complete with soaring columns, leads through to a glass-topped courtyard containing a modern Japanese garden.
The seamless merging of the classical and the contemporary in this privately owned hotel has been turned into an art form by architects Peter Sauter and Kenji Tsuchiya. The location on a quiet, tree-lined street near Berlin's main shopping drag, Kurfürstendamm, might be low-key, but the design is anything but.
Skirting the courtyard garden is the Quadriga Lounge, the focal point of the hotel. The conservatory-style space is light and airy and furnished with black leather sofas and stylised lime-green armchairs. A low-slung mosaic bar in the corner and the curled red velvet sofa add a cosy touch. Off the lounge are the four Berliner Salons, individually designed for more intimate gatherings.
Many of the objets d'art have been exhibited in MoMA in New York. In the Salon Platini there's an Oriental theme, the walls covered in gold silk wallpaper decorated with swirling pink chrysanthemums; in the Königsstuhl Salon the walls are hung with a dramatic series of deep red paintings of a young girl swinging, by Spanish artist, Salustiano.
Also off the lounge, you can relax in a Le Corbusier armchair with a cigar and book in the library, taste a selection of the 850-strong wines with the resident sommelier in the wine salon or enjoy dinner in the Michelin-starred restaurant, Die Quadriga. At breakfast with the glass doors of the lounge open, little birds flit around pecking at crumbs. At night the flood-lit garden is a calm backdrop to dinner in the heart of the city.
Brandenburger Hof, Eislebener Strasse 14, Charlottenburg, 10789 Berlin, Germany (00 49 30 214 050; www.brandenburger-hof.com).
Time to international airport: Tegel airport is a 20-minute drive away. The hotel offers a limousine service for €50 (£36); a taxi costs €30 (£21). Schönefeld airport, served by many of the low-cost airlines is 40 minutes away.
There are 58 rooms and 14 suites with Bauhaus-style furniture and Missoni carpets. We were in Werther, a suite over the courtyard with a golden parquet floor, and sliding wooden doors separating the bedroom from the living area. The design is clean, with a neutral colour scheme. Some suites are more feminine with pale green and violet colour schemes.
Freebies: Plums; three different kinds, artfully arranged.
Keeping in touch: Direct dial telephones and internet in the rooms.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Single rooms start at €170 (£121); double rooms start at €245 (£175) including an à la carte breakfast.
I'm not paying that: The Propeller Island City Lodge (00 49 30 891 9016; www.propeller-island.com) has doubles from €70 (£50).Reuse content