Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald and Duke Ellington once played in the Berlin Ellington Hotel, later the Berlin financial administration worked here and David Bowie celebrated in the basement. Today takes place here, among other things, the annual HR-Barcamp instead. What else stands out: the excellent service.


House full of history

There is no doubt that the Berlin Ellington Hotel in Charlottenburg, not far from Wittenberg-Platz, which opened in 2007, is a house with history and stories - but what immediately strikes you is what I had heard a lot about in advance: the outstanding service of the around 100 Employees, the competently and efficient for the guests. It was time to see it for myself.

The first impression: enthusiasm. A typical piece of Berlin. Designed by Richard Bielenberg and Josef Moser and built from 1928 to 1931 by the Märkische Bau- und Grundstücksverwertung-AG, the building became known as “Haus Nürnberg”, “Femina- or Tauentzien-Palast”.


Monumental facade

Visibly influenced by the buildings by the architect Erich Mendelsohn, which were created above the continuous shop floor - there are still 6 here today Shops, which can be used as a showroom – the four upper floors, originally intended as a Office were built. The wall surfaces are clad in travertine and framed by narrow bands of dark brick above and below the heavily profiled windows.

The 185 meter is divided into a long and largely intact façade through staircase towers and bay windows. The entrance and shop windows of the shopfront are made of brass - this also contributes to the elegant exterior of the building under monument protection.


The Femina

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However, this became known above all for its ground floor, more precisely for the rear, two-storey ball house, called “Femina”, which was opened on October 1, 1929 as “Das Ballhaus Berlins”, with 2.000 seats, “two giant bars and three Chapels ”,“ daily dance tea. Place setting M 2,50 ”and“ Dance attractions ”advertised.

Special features were an elevator for up to 16 people, a pneumatic post and the hydraulically opening roof, which gave the dancers a view of the starry sky. “Tango King” played Juan Llossas.

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The Grand Café

As early as 1931, the Grand Café, which was located on the ground floor just below the ballroom, was converted into Willi Schaeffer's "Cabaret for All", on the third Rich the house on Nürnberger Strasse with the large ballroom and its numerous side bars and restaurants developed into the most popular swing palace in Berlin, where Teddy Stauffer, Heinz Wehner and other famous "kapellmeisters" performed with their dance orchestras.

The ballroom was closed during the war, but the rest of the premises continued to swell until the bitter end. While the front house survived the war quite well, the back ball house was badly damaged during the war. Only the outer walls remained standing.

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Klaus Kinski caused a sensation

In June 1946, the cabaret “Ulenspiegel”In which Werner Finck celebrated his return to Berlin and Gustaf Gründgens his return to cabaret. In 1948 the hall was converted into a cinema, in 1958 it became the venue for the privately financed “Berliner Theater”, whose list of actors reads like a who's who of German boulevard theater. Many of the old Ufa stars, from Lil Dagover to Olga Chekhova to Grethe Weiser, but also younger ones like Günter Pfitzmann and Edith Hancke could be seen here.

The caused a sensation in 1959 Boy Klaus Kinski reciting Villon, Rimbaud, Oscar Wilde and Gerhart Hauptmann for ten consecutive days. The former "Pusztastube" in the basement became the "Bathtub" in 1949.

Ellington_Meeting Room_SJanson

The bathtub"

Initiated by a group of painters as a rustic artists' lodge, the Kellerclub soon developed into Berlin's most important jazz venue - which could always be enjoyed for other rock-n-roll events: for Rock'n'Roll prizes, or Marlon Brando-Lookalike contests.

Next to beer, Coca Cola was the most popular drink, and under Audience numerous American GIs mingled to hear greats like Lionel Hampton, Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong, Count Basie, Dizzie Gillespie or the eponymous Duke Ellington live.


The wild seventies

In the 1978s, the company switched to pop music and disco, and in XNUMX the “Sugar Shack” disco was reopened. But the air was out, and the successor “Garage” was bobbing more badly than it should.

In the old ball-house 1973 had already passed by with pleasure. The former cabaret, cinema and theater hall became the personal office of the Berlin financial administration, which 1951 had moved into the office floors.


At the end of the seventies, the Ellington Hotel once again started. Frank Zappa, Mick Jagger, Lou Reed, Barbara Streisand, and David Bowie were celebrating some riotous festivals after their concerts.

Ellington-Hotel-Berlin-Sommergarten- (c) Stadtwandel Publishing

New Wave: Studio 53

With the New Wave, the stylish and chic “jungle” became the scene disco par excellence, a kind of Berlin counterpart to New York's “Studio 54” - at number 53! Anyone who was inside was one of them and, with a little luck, could experience Rio Reiser as a DJ or the occasional Berliner Nick Cave at the neighboring table.

Prince and Boy George spent their Berlin nights here. With the fall of the wall and the techno, however, the disco was sidelined and had to close in 1993. And the successor, the noble restaurant “Jungle”, never really succeeded. At the end of the 90s the shop finally fell into a deep sleep, from which revival parties seldom woke him up.

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The Hall of Senators

This has changed since 2007: the event area offers a total of 1490 square meters with ten different rooms for up to 800 people - with a daily flat rate from 64 euros incl. Business-Lunch, two coffee breaks and desk pads. Who projector and screen as well as high-speedInternet required, pays 10 euros more.

The hall where the financial senators gave their press conferences has also been preserved. It is located on the upper floor of a second rear component and is now used as a conference room - fittingly, under the name Hall Senator, it offers space for up to 202 people on 180 square meters.

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Art in the Femina

A showcase for events is the former Femina, which today is a modern event space with 634 square meters and space for up to 600 people.

Attached to this is a spacious, light-flooded foyer, where coffee breaks, receptions or stethings can be performed. Here and in a small event space on the ground floor (90 square meter for 96 persons) is a collection of works by Russian artists to admire.


The charm of the twenties

But not only in the event rooms, the whole building lives by its history: in the stairwells and some rooms, the charm of the late twenties and early thirties has been preserved: it is found in white and green wall tiles, brass staircases, stucco decorations on the ceilings and gilded letters on the walls. Impressive are also the long corridors in the upper floors.

At that time, the inner structure of the steel skeleton structure with light stone walls could be flexibly adapted to the tenants' demand: in 100, an office space of around 1932 square meters on the second floor “including heating” cost 270 Reichsmarks a month; a “small single office with waiting room” was available from 56 Reichsmark monthly rent. In 1938 the Reich Monopoly Administration for spirits moved into the offices.

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Room instead of office space

Today the 285 rooms and suites of the hotel, starting from around 120 Euro, are kept in minimalist, cool white - you almost want to regret that the quaint Berlin charm of the staircase does not continue in the rooms, but that Ellington Hotel also lives from these contrasts.

158 rooms belong to the standard category ranging from 16 to 20 square meters. However, they are not suitable for double occupancy at conferences because the toilet is open in the room. In the higher categories, however, there are eight categories, including three executive rooms (75 square meters), 2 family rooms, two tower suites (40 square meters) and four rooms suitable for disabled guests.

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Breakfast in the cabaret and gourmet restaurant

Where the cabaret and theater stars of the post-war period were on the stage, the hotel guests breakfast today, the canton-like atmosphere certainly being a reminder of the flexible table design of conference guests.

Unlike the 15 GaultundMillau points (2016) award-winning restaurant DUKE, it has 65 seats and an open show kitchen. A sophisticated bar counter connects the restaurant to the DUKE bar and lounge as well as the summer garden. A separate private dining room also offers 12 additional private spaces.

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The Weintresor

The 35-square-meter Weintresor with various 300 wines from France, Italy, Spain, Germany and Austria is located behind the originally preserved barrel-steel doors of the former Tresorraum of the Directorate-General.

These include special features such as the Sassicaia range from 1976 to 2008 including the “Sassi 85” and a Barbaresco Angelo Gaja born in 1969. The wine safe also invites you to go down in history with good food and perfect wine accompaniment.

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The jazz radio

Another special feature is located in the spacious Duke Bar and Lounge: The broadcaster JazzRadio 106.8 with 75.000 listeners has already received international 22 awards, including the New York International Radio Broadcasting Award. At the Ellington Hotel, he broadcasts live from the glass studio downstairs every day while guests sip cocktails. There are also regular jazz concerts.

With so much history, only one thing remains to be regretted: the paternoster, with which the gentlemen of the financial administration went daily to the office and which is still in operation in the Berlin House of Representatives, unfortunately, no longer exist - the building authorities found him too dangerous for a hotel business ,

Ellington Hotel Stairway SJanson

Public transport use in Berlin

For tourists, the Berlin WelcomeCard is worthwhile: It allows free travel on public transport - and favorable conditions with some 200 partners who offer discounts from 25% to 50%! Berlin WelcomeCard users will also receive the Berlin WelcomeCard Guide, which enriches your Berlin trip as a travel guide.

There are different ticket options in 12 including the Berlin WelcomeCard Museumsinsel and as a ticket for all public transport - for 48 hours, 72 hours, 4, 5 or 6 days from validation as well as for the tariff zone AB or ABC (including Schönefeld airport). It can be booked online in advance at the Visit-Berlin Shop, but also in hotels, at vending machines and many travel agencies.

App Tip

If you want to hear and experience even more stories about Berlin, you can use the free app "Going Local Berlin": It presents twelve Berlin districts, 60 neighborhoods and more than 700 personal Berlin tips, events and restaurant recommendations. The Idea behind it: Discover Berlin like a real Berliner. The app also offers a tour for each district, which is also available as a video and gives an insight into the atmosphere and highlights of a district, such as the Kräuterhof in Reinickendorf, Little Venice in Spandau or the "Imaginary Manufactory" in Kreuzberg. The app is available in German and English and can be downloaded at http://app.visitberlin.de ready.

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