The Mandala Hotel, Berlin
Will Ross, June 19, 2018
Berlin’s Potsdamer Platz is hardly a place for the self-conscious, so wrapped in glass that you’ll need to be looking your best when walking its streets. In recent decades, the area one block south of Brandberger Tor has welcomed international brands and large developers to occupy space in West Berlin. Sony, Desigual and UNIQLO have established themselves at this crossroads, punching in with a density at odds with the more dispersed layout of brands in Mitte, Kreuzberg and Kottbusser Tor.
Hoteliers Christian Andresen and Lutz Hesse did well to gain a foothold in this area in the 1990s, occupying a building that offers frontage onto the industrial but not unappealing cityscape. A shallow reception area and shortage of seating only orientates guests towards the prized facilities, a five-star spa with all the details of German medicinal treatments, and a two star Michelin restaurant, FACIL.
In the bedrooms, design details extend to include electric hobs in kitchen, practically welcoming guests to forego visits to the restaurant. Room types vary according to their size and configuration, with a range of categories covering the breadth of options for business-orientated travellers. Initially, room names follow the logic of a company hierarchy, bringing to account the good intentions of your human resources department, or sense of professional worth.
The smallest rooms enter with no reference to a company role, the street-facing “City Studio” category, offering 40m2 of floorspace along with bath tub, a dedicated working area and a shower. This entry level standard sets the bar high, with “Garden Suite” occupying the same floorspace but with views onto the hotel’s verdant courtyard, also with a balcony. “Management Suites” are next (50m2) then the “Executive” and “Executive Superior” (60m2) before the significant leap to the “Grand Suite” and “Mandala Suite”, 80m2 and 85m2 respectively. The hotel’s penthouse offerings make a doubling of this floorspace, the “Mandala Superior Suite” (130m2) and “Top of the Town” (200m2). Regardless of your room’s size or status, enjoy Eiderdown duvets and i+m vegan toiletries, which are the guts of any good bedroom anyway.
Guests should at least make an effort to swing by The Mandala Hotel’s additional facilities. At the renowned FACIL restaurant, Chef Michael Kempf strives for detail with fresh ingredients and quirky dishes. Even if fine dining isn’t your thing, at least drop in for breakfast to observe the glass cube that surrounds the seating area, and look up to an expansive skylight that opens when temperatures warm up.
Meanwhile the Qiu bar mirrors the footprint of the restaurant, serving as a guest-only area that is well enough policed that you won’t find smokers indoors, a tough act in Berlin. More healthy emphases can be found at the ONO Spa on the top floor of the hotel where treatments that base themselves on the best in German cosmetics, including Pharmos Natur. Their 60-minute sports massage comes in at €100.
For all the merits of The Mandala Hotel, its training facilities don’t meet the standard of its food-spa-board facilities. Fortunately the expansive Tiergarten is a few strides from the hotel, so you can be in traffic-free parkland within three minutes of leaving the lobby. For a full set of equipment, register for a free trial at All Star, a gym located on the other side of the road from Mandala (Leipziger Platz 12). All Star opens from 6am to 11pm Monday to Friday, and 8am to 9pm on weekends, just note that their swimming pool is 17m. The nearest sizeable tub that is open year around: Fischerinsel (25m).
Half a mile south of The Mandala Hotel is Liquidrom – underwater speakers and all the details of a spa. You can pay for two hours of access – an excellent option if you are booked out of your room and have an evening flight. They even do simple dishes and smoothies. Slightly further away and to the south-east is a 400m running track at Alexandrinenstraße – head after 5pm and gain access during open hours.
For more information on The Mandala Hotel and booking a room, go to themandala.de.
Header image: Steve Herud