Room Service: Forum Hotel Berlin

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The Independent Travel

The Forum is the largest hotel in Berlin, and was built in 1970 for foreign VIPs visiting East Berlin. Until the Wall came down in 1989, it accepted only hard Western currency. The Forum may have been superseded by more luxurious hotels, but one thing none of them can rival is the view: rooms above the 16th floor have sweeping panoramas across the city. Ask for a view of the Fernsehturm, raid the minibar at dusk and watch the ball-on-a-spike TV tower glow as the sun sets behind it. It looks as futuristic now as the day it was built.

The Forum is the largest hotel in Berlin, and was built in 1970 for foreign VIPs visiting East Berlin. Until the Wall came down in 1989, it accepted only hard Western currency. The Forum may have been superseded by more luxurious hotels, but one thing none of them can rival is the view: rooms above the 16th floor have sweeping panoramas across the city. Ask for a view of the Fernsehturm, raid the minibar at dusk and watch the ball-on-a-spike TV tower glow as the sun sets behind it. It looks as futuristic now as the day it was built.

Continue drinking and view-gazing in the 37th floor casino cocktail bar (open until 3am), or sample traditional German cooking in one of the hotel's restaurants, Zille-Stube.

Recover in the Wellness Centre on a lounger under the Tiffany-style ceiling, or with a burst on one of the exercise bikes, followed by a soothing sauna.

LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION

Forum Hotel Berlin, Alexanderplatz, 10178 Berlin (00 49 30 23894333).

In the heart of former East Berlin, within walking distance of the Mitte galleries and the nightlife in Prenzlauer Berg. Alexanderplatz is on the central East-West artery of the city, which allows easy access to the Reichstag and Brandenburg Gate.

ARE YOU LYING COMFORTABLY?

Actor Telly Savalas liked to stay here, and Kofi Annan has also used the hotel in recent years.

There are 1,006 rooms; those on floors 26-35 are superior rooms, with large lounge and office areas. There are 12 suites. Décor is minimal and functional. The Forum was built for business, not luxury, but it still has far more character than many of the newer hotels in the city.

Freebies: Forum Hotel own-brand products.

Keeping in touch: all rooms have direct-dial telephone and satellite TV.

THE BOTTOM LINE

Doubles from €145 (£97); superior rooms from €177 (£118); suites from €255 (£170). Breakfast €15 (£10). Non-smoking and allergy rooms available.

I'm not paying that: Propeller Island City Lodge (58 Albrecht-Achilles-Strasse; 00 49 30 8919016; www.propeller-island.com) is a madcap work of art, with the 30 rooms individually designed by owner Lars Stroschen. Rooms from €70 (£47).

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