The adventurous spirit I have with regards to eating leaves the building when it comes to hotels. I would rather stay in a Marriott with its floral prints and its thick carpet than in some designer led incarnation where it is easier to locate the bathtub than the bed (remember my experience at the Delano in Miami?). Over the last few years I have stayed in the Adlon a couple of times. None of the rooms had a ‘view’ (I am not sure that crowds of tourists lining up for a Starbucks coffee constitutes a view even if it is set off by the Brandenburg gate) but that in no way hampers the room layout – quietly brilliant in their clever use of space and deliverance of comfort (for example Mühldorfer bedding also used in the 7 star Burj Al Arab).The buffet breakfast is another perk. Table after table, stacked high and deep with neat lines of cold cuts and cheeses. A dozen glass carafes filled with juices. A wall of bread. An army of jars, lids off, sitting on a paper doily – spoons at the ready with tiny little dishes for spooning dainty quantities into stacked off to the side. A whole human being to make you eggs, any way you like. Triangles of watermelon, bowls of segmented grapefruits and oranges (some poor hotel school student probably got carpel tunnel doing those). Let’s say you find nothing you fancy in that room of food, you can always order ‘a la carte’, eggs benedict say or a white tureen with two bloated weisswurst floating in a sea of finely minced chives.I start off with fruit and a mixture of yogurt and one of the four kinds of bircher muesli, move on to eggs with some cold cuts on the side before I have to concede defeat and fight the urge to get horizontal and groan.
Last Sunday, my father was visiting Berlin and he invited us to have breakfast with him. I packed in as much food as my compromised stomach could manage but instead of saying ‘uncle’ and going for a lie down, I left that table and went to another breakfast. Hosted by Marguerite’s on her blue polka-dotted oilcloth tablecloth. Luisa made apple scones from a Martha Stewart Recipe. I spooned on Sylee’s delightful strawberry jam with strawberries she had picked the weekend before in Vierfelderhof and drank too much coffee from the French press.
I don’t know if was the blue polka-dotted oilcloth, or the company, or the curious momentary nostalgia one can get about the precise moment one is living, when you see everything clearly for a second and think “This is really good, I want to remember this.” but those scones, with the homemade jams and the French Press coffee were infinitely better than the sheer volume and selection at the Adlon.The thing about hotels, even hotels that can pull off a buffet like that, is they don’t have a lot of love going into it. It’s good, it’s impressive but scratch at the surface a bit and imperfections start to come through. You can get someone to make you scrambled eggs but the curds will be stiff and dry. The cappuccino comes out of those large machines with blue lights and 8 sets of buttons, one for latte, one for cappuccino, etc – in other words the same coffee you could get at Ikea. The strawberries are the size of plums and so hairy they look Gerard Butler’s face.
What you have is choice but then some studies say that too much choice leads to unhappiness.
Hotel Adlon Kempinski
Unter den Linden 77