By Ron Bernthal
My first visit to an Indigo hotel, the boutique chain that is part of InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG), was in Berlin, Germany. The 153-room new property is located in the former East Berlin neighborhood of Mitte, just a few blocks from Alexanderplatz, a main square noted for the 1,200-foot TV Tower constructed by the East Germans in the 1960’s. A revolving restaurant and viewing platform, about halfway up the tower, is a major Berlin tourist attraction, and the tower itself remains a highly visible symbol of both Berlin’s former divided, Communist-era past, as well as its energetic and unified present.
However, it wasn’t the TV Tower that I first noticed as I approached by taxi on a cool fall evening, but the indigo glow of the hotel building in the night sky. Indigo is a welcoming color, and the hotel’s small but very stylish lobby was an inviting space with friendly front desk attendants, a colorful décor, and the comforting banter of visitors eating and drinking in the hotel’s La Maison de L’Entrecôte bar and restaurant, located just a few steps from the front desk.
My eighth-floor, King room was equally as colorful and eclectic as the lobby, with a light wood dresser holding a swivel HD LCD flat screen TV, a colorful and artsy couch, and an intriguing glass shower wall next to the bed that was somewhat translucent. The room was small, but outfitted nicely with little touches of color and efficiency, somewhat like a berth on a cruise ship, where designers pack in all the necessary features of a hotel room in half the space of a normal size room. The bathroom was spotlessly clean, with a nice rain shower (no tub), small sink and vanity mirror, and enough shelf space for a drug kit without it getting wet or falling down. There was even room for a heated towel rack. Floor to ceiling windows overlooked a quiet interior courtyard where, surprisingly, the other side of the same building is a Holiday Inn, also owned by IHG, operated by the same Berlin management company, but Indigo has younger, Gen X business and leisure crowd, with somewhat higher price point.
After leaving my luggage in the room I went back downstairs to the restaurant for a late dinner, ordering an excellent steak/frites (their specialty) and class of wine. The busy restaurant and adjoining bar had a nice buzz to it, and the 10:00 pm crowd was young, multinational and energetic. I returned to the restaurant the following morning for breakfast, and although it looked different and the hour was early, the ambience was still trendy, with a wonderful buffet selection of cold meats and cheese, organic cereals, cooked eggs and sausages, fruit, fresh-squeezed orange juice, and homemade pastries. Pleasant sounding club music, at low volume, emanated from the sound system.
The hotel has a fitness room one flight below the lobby, with a few treadmills and stair masters that were, of course, brand new, and several board rooms that used for small corporate meetings. Free Wi-Fi is provided throughout the property, and the hotel’s location, in a busy, commercial neighborhood within a few minutes’ walk of the Alexanderplatz S and U-bahn stations, and close to many Berlin attractions, is quite convenient.
The Indigo chain, which opened its first property in 2004, is known for individually designed properties, colorful wall murals, and often reflects the local culture with its vibrant interior. This property’s lovely interior spaces was designed by Klein Associates of Dusseldorf, Germany. The Indigo Berlin Alexanderplatz property, which opened in summer, 2013, is perfect for business and leisure travelers who desire a clean and stylish boutique hotel with a great restaurant and comfortable rooms.
Hotel Indigo Berlin – Alexanderplatz
Bernhard – Weiss – Strasse 5,
Berlin, Germany 10178