The Hotel Adlon Kempinski in Berlin is one of those legendary hotels with an incredible history, and is where everyone from emperors and kings and queens, to movie stars and Albert Einstein chose to stay.
The hotel where Greta Garbo first uttered the words I Want To Be Alone as she filmed Grand Hotel survived both world wars, but burned to the ground just days after the end of the Second World War after Russian soldiers accidentally set fire to the hotel as they plundered the wine cellar.
It took a lot of years for it to happen but fortunately she rose from the ashes and next year the hotel will celebrate the 20th anniversary of its reopening.
I had long wanted to stay at the Adlon Kempisnki in Berlin, and when I had the chance to do just that following the first Venice Simplon Orient Express from London to Berlin it didn’t disappoint, as you can tell as I share this look around my hotel room…
At the Adlon Kempinski as well as having a concierge, they also have an extra layer of special staff to help you with your stay, the women known as the Ladies in Red.
Viktoria, or Viki, Hennrich, started at the Adlon by doing a three-month voluntary internship, followed by an apprenticeship, before becoming a Lady In Red for the Adlon Kempinski.
I asked Viki if she’d share some insights into the job and a few Berlin travel tips by answering Ten Questions. Here’s what happened next…
What’s the best thing about your job?
My Team is the best thing about my job.
Working in hospitality means that every department needs to work hand in hand to provide the memorable high class service of our 5* standard.
Being a Lady in Red means to be the brand ambassador of Kempinski. We as a team, are the main contact persons for VIPs, repeating guests as well as all our regular guests in the hotel.
We compliment the concierge by developing and maintaining a very personal relationship with our guests. It is our job and task to know our clients needs and to anticipate their wishes before they even know it.
If you could change one thing about your job what would it be?
There isn’t anything I would change. The job as a Lady in Red means working with passion and enthusiasm.. I love to make our guests happy, provide them with happy moments and make them feel like home away from home.
What’s something about your role that you wish people understood?
Although the Hotel Adlon Kempinski Berlin has a high reputation in the world and very passionate staff, working for this hotel, in the end we are people. So mistakes can be made.
What’s your favorite thing to do on your day off?
Spending time with family and friends. Discovering the culinary part of Berlin; there are too many good restaurants:-)
What’s a cheap and cheerful food secret you (usually) only tell your friends?
“The Markthalle 9” in Berlin-Kreuzberg. It is an old railway hall with many different food stands. Every Thursday there are delicious snack bars where you can enjoy very good food and an unique atmosphere.
If money was no object, where would you go for lunch or dinner?
Noma is a two-Michelin-stared restaurant run by chef Rene Redzepi in Copenhagen, Denmark.
I heard that it is a casual fine-dining restaurant where the whole staff welcomes you when you arrive,during dinner they inform you about the different kind of dishes and at the end they wish you all a good bye. This sounds like a great experience.
Where do you take a friend when they come to visit?
East side gallery. It is an iconic landmark for freedom. It is a 1.3 km long section of the original Berlin wall located near the center of Berlin painted with different kind of motives. The actual border at this point between east and west was the river Spree. The gallery is located on the so-called “hinterland mauer”, which closed the border to West Berlin. It is close by the Warschauer Street where you can find a lot of nice restaurants, cafes and bars.
What’s the best shopping experience in town?
Surely the famous department store KaDeWe is always a must, being in Berlin. It is also fun strolling around Hackescher Markt in Berlin-Mitte with its huge variety of different shops, stores and restaurants. I myself prefer shopping in the small boutiques of local designers either in Bergmannstrraße in Kreuzberg or Kastanienallee in Prenzlauer Berg.
Is there a local tourist cliché that’s actually worth doing?
Doing the sightseeing tour on the spree. It is absolutely an amazing experience to see such a big city from the water side.
Is there a tourist attraction nearby that you can’t believe you still haven’t visited yourself?
Yes, the Berlin Underworld Tours. Experience the history of Berlin from an unconventional perspective. Seeing the bunkers of the past decades.
They have been offering regular tours into some of the most important underground structures in the city. It’s amazing and I need to see.
Amanda met the Ladies in Red when she stayed as a guest of the Hotel Adlon Kempinski.