Hotel Adlon in Berlin
Hotel Adlon is a hotel on Unter den Linden, the main boulevard in the Berlin city centre, directly opposite the Brandenburg Gate.
First Hotel Adlon 1907-1945
The first Hotel Adlon was built in 1907 by Lorenz Adlon, a successful Berlin wine merchant and restaurateur. Adlon wanted to build his hotel on the Pariser Platz, at the heart of Berlin. He had Kaiser Wilhelm II personally intercede with the owners of the Palais Redern, a landmark designed by Karl Friedrich Schinkel, which sat at Adlon's chosen location. The Kaiser cleared the way for Adlon's purchase of the Palais and its demolition.
The Adlon was one of the most famous hotels in Europe between the two World Wars and hosted celebrities including Louise Brooks, Charlie Chaplin, Herbert Hoover, Josephine Baker and Marlene Dietrich. It was also a favorite hangout of journalists, located in the heart of the government quarter next to the British Embassy, on the same square as the French and American Embassies and only blocks from the Chancellery and other government ministries.
The hotel continued to operate throughout World War II, although parts were converted to a military field hospital during the final days of the Battle for Berlin. The hotel survived the war without any major damage, having avoided the bombs and shelling that had leveled the city. However, on the night of 2 May 1945 a fire started in the hotel's wine cellar by intoxicated Soviet soldiers left the main building in ruins.
East German Hotel Adlon 1945-1984
Following the war, the East German government reopened the surviving rear service wing under the Hotel Adlon name. The ruined main building and all of the other buildings on Pariser Platz were demolished. The square was left as an abandoned, grassed-over buffer with the West, with the Brandenburg Gate sitting alone by the Berlin Wall.
In 1964, the remaining part of the building was renovated and the facade was redone. However, in the 1970s what remained of the original Hotel Adlon closed to guests and was converted to a lodging house for East German apprentices. Finally, in 1984, the building was demolished.
Second Hotel Adlon 1997-Present
With the reunification of Germany, the site was bought by a West German investment firm. A building loosely inspired by the original was designed and on 23 August 1997 the president of the Federal Republic of Germany opened the new Hotel Adlon, rebuilt on the same location as the original hotel. It currently operates as Hotel Adlon Kempinski Berlin, part of the Kempinski chain. Due to the hotel's success, it has been expanded twice, with new wings along the rear on Behrenstrasse. They are known as the Adlon Palais and the Adlon Residenz.
In Popular Culture
- Film director Percy Adlon is the great-grandson of Lorenz Adlon and made a documentary about the hotel called The Glamorous World of the Adlon Hotel in 1996.
- Much of the Liam Neeson action film "Unknown" was filmed at the Adlon, including the entire final portion.
- Greta Garbo's 1932 film 'Grand Hotel' is set in a Berlin hotel inspired by the Adlon. In one of its rooms, she first utters her trademark line 'I vant to be alone'.
- A fictional half-ruined pre-war luxury hotel in East Berlin (also inspired by the Adlon), is seen in Billy Wilder's film One, Two, Three.
- The hotel features prominently in numerous fiction and non-fiction books about the Third Reich, including Joseph Kanon's novel The Good German, Philip Kerr's Bernie Gunther novels, David Downing's John Russell novels, and William L. Shirer's memoir Berlin Diary.
- Michael Jackson infamously dangled his son "Blanket" out one of the hotel's windows during a visit to Berlin in November 2002.
- In the 1972 film Cabaret, Liza Minnelli's character Sally Bowles says she went to "the Adlon" to meet her father, who did not show up.
- In the Doctor Who episode "Let's Kill Hitler", the TARDIS lands in the dining room of the Hotel Adlon in 1938, the Doctor dies there due to River Song's poisonous kiss and she uses her own regeneration energy plus all her future regenerations to resurrect the Doctor, under the eyes of Amy Pond and Rory Williams.