Its name may be sunny but the California Hotel does little to light up Kurfürstendamm avenue, where it has been residing for 25 years. Even its 4 star status is deceiving in a city where hotels are continuously outdoing each other in terms of their imaginative interior decoration. Despite the opening of a brand new section and a few originally themed suites, the California is far below the general standard of its competitors. Although the interior decoration is not very original, the hotel does offer quality services.
Located on the famous Kurfürstendamm avenue (Ku'Damn for the locals), the California enjoys a prestigious address and ideal location in the heart of the German capital. Equally popular among Berliners and tourists, this neighbourhood has countless assets: shopping centres, bars, restaurants, entertainment, tourist attractions... All of this just a few minutes away on foot from several U-bahn and S-bahn stations: Kurfürstendamm, Augsburger Straße and Savignyplatz.
A rather strange doorman wearing a tie stands guard at the California's entrance. This is perhaps the first in a long series of bears that you will come across during your stay in Berlin. In fact, the animal is the symbol of the German capital and its German word "baer" is almost identical to our English "bear". Because of this, hundreds of bears - all different- have invaded the city, from public parks to hotels.
With its revolving doors and floor to ceiling marble interior, the California Hotel sees itself as a player among five star hotels or even certain palaces. The fact is that it remains a four star hotel. Even though all of its facilities are worthy of an establishment of this category, the hall very quickly gives off a pompous air. The rest of the communal areas continue in the same vein. However, the stylish spa, which opened in September 2008, erases all negative impressions within a few minutes. Designed all in grey, it houses two saunas (one for two people), a relaxation room, a hammam, footbaths, a well equipped fitness room, a massage room and rainfall showers... A small business centre tops off the facilities.
The hotel's 155 guest rooms are divided between the original building (six floors) and the recently acquired new wing (four floors). Several elevators are available to help you get to your appartment: two in the older section and two in the newer one. Even though the new rooms are comfortable and not lacking in amenities (plasma television, safe, mini bar, air conditioning, heating), they have little to offer with their simple decor and lack of personality: Ikea-style wooden furniture, red carpet with lilies... The same goes for the bathrooms, equipped with a shower, the hotel's own welcome toiletries, scales and a hairdryer. Take note that some of the guest rooms do have a balcony: a characteristic rare enough that it needs to be stated! As for the ageing rooms, they could really use a good refurbishment... An original detail: the California also has theme based suites based on actors such as Marlon Brando, Marylin Monroe, etc.
The small menu offered in the main floor's bar-restaurant is not the best asset of the California. In fact, it belongs to the neighbouring establishment "Maredo". This German restaurant chain serves guests of the hotel from 11:30am to 11:30pm daily. Its international cuisine is offered at very reasonable prices: soups staring from 4 euros, meat dishes starting from 9.80 euros, etc. It is ideal for when you're feeling peckish. Keep in mind that the breakfast buffet is served in a separate dining hall. As for the decor, it's the same as before: rows of tables, marble floor... Fortunately there are some plants and paintings which liven the place up a little!
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