Berlin's hotel boom picks up speed

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The Independent Travel

Although New York has undoubtedly been the hotel construction hotspot of 2010, Berlin is catching up fast as the year draws to a close.

The city's wave of new openings started in July with the opening of the Weinmeister Berlin-Mitte and continued this month with the inauguration of the new Scandic Hotel at Potsdamer Platz, one of the city's most vibrant cultural areas where skyscrapers have sprung from where the Berlin Wall once stood.

Boasting eight floors and 563 guest rooms with superb views of the city, the flagship hotel represents the start of a new push by the Nordic chain into Europe proper, preceding future openings in Hamburg around the end of 2011.

Highlights include a cozy autumnal bar which makes use of real wood and fires to create the effect of a Scandinavian cabin and a winter-themed lobby designed to evoke Nordic mountains.

Like all of Scandic's properties, Berlin Potsdamer Platz offers eco-friendly initiatives such as intelligent energy management, in-house water instead of plastic bottles, bikes to rent and rather uniquely, an electric car for guests which should be in place by the end of the year.

"Environmental awareness and sustainability is a big part of our ethos and a real differentiator for Scandic," explained the hotel's General Manager Thomas Borsbach.

"We hope to become the first Berlin hotel to gain EU flower [environmental] certification later this year."

While Scandic is a company known for making waves on the environmental front, it will have its work cut out for it to stay ahead in the competitive hotel market of a city that Borsbach readily agrees "sets trends."

Next month sees the opening of Berlin's Nhow Hotel, a music and lifestyle property designed to appeal to the city's growing base of young, urban visitors.

Portuguese chain SANA Hotels is set to open its doors in the city in December, while both Leonardo and Waldorf Astoria will launch new properties in 2011.

http://www.scandichotels.com/berlin

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