I stayed in this hotel about 20 years ago, the last time I was in Berlin.  I thought it was a great hotel.  The lobby and the Friedrichstrasse location had been impressive.  Years later, watching the Bourne Supremacy, I recognized the Westin Grand as Pamela Landy’s hotel from the portion of the movie shot in Berlin.  Returning to Berlin, in addition to spending a few nights at the Berlin Marriott Hotel, staying at the Westin Grand again was a must.

Entering the hotel, I was again impressed by the lobby although it seemed smaller and slightly less grand than I recalled.

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Lobby bar and seating areas.
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Grand staircase and grand piano

Things seemed to be getting off on the right foot when the clerk at reception said she was upgrading me to a suite.  That opinion quickly changed when I got to my room, Room 674.  The hotel website shows five types of suites from a junior suite to the Schinkel or Presidential Suite.  My “suite” looked like none of them.

There was a separate living area and bedroom, so technically it could be called a suite, but it looked much smaller than and not as nicely decorated as the photos of a Junior Suite.  Here are the photos of this disappointing room.

There is a small entryway with the bathroom on the right and a closet and minibar unit on the left.

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Vanity with wall-mounted shaving mirror and hair dryer in drawer.

The shower has rain shower and hand-held shower heads.

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The glass shower enclosure is not large enough to prevent water from winding up on the bathroom floor.
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Standard Westin bath amenities.

The closet and minibar is opposite the bathroom.

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Closet with robes and slippers and minibar with coffee and tea service

The entry opens into the living area.

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Seating area

The flat-screen TV and desk are positioned opposite the seating area as is the door to the bedroom.

The bedroom was a major disappointment in terms of size, decor, the bed… just about everything.

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I think even twin beds pushed together would have made a bigger bed.
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A tiny TV and stand were the sum of the rest of the furniture.

The best feature of the bedroom was the window which afforded a view of more pleasant surroundings.

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Bedroom view.  One morning a parade with bands, balloons and marchers roused me from bed.   It seemed to go on endlessly.  Not knowing German, I later learned this was an anti-far-right march that totaled over 240,00 marchers.

In keeping with just about everything else with this “suite,” even the view was below par as normally lovely Friedrichstrasse (or the metro underneath) was under major repair.  Adding insult to injury, from the bedroom it was necessary to go through the living room to get to the bathroom.  That’s something I can’t recall in any other suite.

In short, this room was quite unusual.  To see how it compared to other rooms, I looked at the 6th floor layout on the fire escape plan.

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Westin Grand 6th floor plan. Room 674 is at the bottom.  It appears to be the only room on this floor with such a funky design.

This Westin does not have an Executive Lounge.  Therefore I selected restaurant breakfast as my Platinum Premier check -in benefit in lieu of points.  The breakfast buffet was nice but not nearly as extensive as buffets at five-star Marriott hotels in Asia.

I had no complaints about the pool and fitness center.20190203_125505 (1)20190203_125940

Even though I visited in January, the hotel’s outdoor bar was still in use.20190119_203859

The Westin Grand occupies an ideal location at the intersection of Friedrichstrasse and Unter den Linden streets.  Sights like Checkpoint Charlie, Berlin Wall Museum, Brandenburg Gate, and new Reichstag are within easy walking distance.

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In keeping with the its involvement with fictional and actual clandestine operations, Checkpoint Charlie, the/gateway between the American Sector of West Berlin and Soviet controlled East Berlin, is best visited at night. KFC and McDonalds are nearby so Americans will feel at home..

A small section of the Berlin Wall remains at Checkpoint Charlie.

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The Berlin Wall was the Communist’s answer to persistent emigration from East Berlin to freedom in the West.

The day of the massive pro-immigration march, I took a stroll to the Brandenburg Gate.  The march proceeded down Friedrichstrasse and up Unter den Linden.  Again, not speaking German, I had no idea what the march was about, but the protesters were calm and having a good time.  There was minimal police presence.

 Overall Impression

The Westin Grand Berlin failed to meet my expectations.  Room 674 should not be called a suite or designated as an upgrade benefit for Marriott’s most elite members.  A suite should never be designed where the bedroom lacks direct access to the bathroom.  And the bedroom of the “suite” was tiny and dismal.  While the lobby was still impressive, the hotel had a dark and depressing feel overall.  Finally, the lack of an executive lounge is a serious drawback for a five-star Marriott hotel.  The Berlin Marriott Hotel would definitely be the better choice if I return to Berlin.  I trust Pamela Landy had a better experience.

 

 

 

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