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Sheraton Berlin Esplanade
1 Room, 1 Adult, 0 Children

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History of the Grand Hotel Esplanade

The first Grand Hotel Esplanade…

…was built on Bellevuestraße during 1907 and 1908 according to plans of architect Otto Rehnig.

The hotel was erected in Belle Epoque style. It had several magnificent halls, including the Kaisersaal (Emperor’s Hall). Emperor Wilhelm II hosted his exclusive gentlemen’s club here. A special attraction was the 1600 sqm garden in the courtyard of the hotel.

Before and during the “Golden 20s”, the Grand Hotel Esplanade on Potsdamer Platz was one of the most famous hotels in Berlin. At the time, stars like Charlie Chaplin and Greta Garbo stayed at the hotel. Billy Wilder worked here before his career as a dancer and Marek Weber played here with his orchestra.

During the Weimar Republic, the Grand Hotel Esplanade was particularly popular among monarchists. In 1941, the National Socialists announced the demolition of the hotel. Before the assassination attempt on Hitler in July 1944, the conspirators met several times at the Grand Hotel Esplanade. They were also waiting here for the outcome of the plot.

History at Sheraton Berlin Hotel Esplanade
Hotel Esplanade Berlin in the 1920s | Bundesarchiv, Picture 146-1989-D28-23, Photographer: Herbert Hoffmann | Lizenz CC-BY-SA 3.0
history at sheraton hotel esplanade
“Tanztee” at Esplanade Hotel | Bundesarchiv Picture 183-K0623-0502-001, Photographer: unknown | Lizenz CC-BY-SA 3.0

In the winter of 1944/1945, the hotel was largely destroyed during a bomb attack. Only a small part remained almost undisturbed: the Emperor’s Hall, the breakfast hall, the stairwell and the laundry rooms. In the 1950s, in the middle of the rubble, this part was used as a restaurant and for dance events, later also for fashion shows. After the erection of the Berlin Wall in 1961, a moderate hotel and event business was still taking place. In addition, the remains of the hotel also served as a movie backdrop. In 1972, scenes for the movie “Cabaret” with Liza Minnelli were filmed, in 1981 for “The Leaden Time” by Margarethe von Trotta and in 1986 for “Wings of Desire” by Wim Wenders. For security reasons, the hotel had to close in 1981. However, the remains were put under monument protection after the fall of the Berlin wall in 1989. A small part – the Kaisersaal – is now integrated into the Sony Center. The breakfast room of the hotel was also divided into 500 parts. It was later rebuilt as part of the restaurant Josty – reminding of the old Café Josty. In 1988 opened a new Grand Hotel Esplanade on the Lützowufer (then West Berlin).

History of the Grand Hotel Esplanade since 1988

Shortly before the fall of the Berlin Wall, on 1st May 1988, the new Grand Hotel Esplanade opened it’s doors. It is considered the first designer hotel in Germany.

The architecture by Prof. Jürgen Sawade was based on the historical model of the former hotel Esplanade in Berlin, which had a natural stone façade facing the street. In the new Grand Hotel Esplanade, this became a granite façade.

The hotel is modern in the true sense of the word, i.e. contemporary, classy, ​​timeless, serene yet comfortable and friendly – a modern lifestyle hotel with warm colours, generous facilities and a cozy atmosphere. It was decorated exclusively with works of art (paintings, sculptures, water games), plants, natural and artificial lighting, carpets and furniture.

The illuminated “water wall” in the driveway, as well as the “space pole” and the “space scissors” in the spacious lobby were designed by Prof. Heinz Mack.

Grand Hotel Esplanade - Lobby

But a hotel is only as good as the team, which ensures the well-being of it’s guests. Some of our associates today were with Grand Hotel Esplanade from the very beginnings which makes for a lot of experience and feels like a family.

Margret Buhrmann has been the head housekeeper at the Esplanade right from the start. Andreas Putzmann checked in 400 guests per day and answered all kinds of questions and still does.

Margret Buhrmann has been the head houskeeper at the Esplanade right from the start
Andreas Putzmann checked in 400 guests per day and answered all kinds of questions and still does

Guestbook Sample

With its location in Berlin’s embassy quarter, the Grand Hotel Esplanade was home to many state visits and heads of European royal houses, Queen Elizabeth II, King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden and Queen Margaret of Denmark. Many celebrities from the worlds of music, film, television, fashion, sports and politics have stayed at the hotel. Here is a sample from our guestbook:

  • Neil Diamond
  • Ray Charles
  • Paul McCartney
  • Bruce Springsteen
  • Sting
  • Peter Gabriel
  • Bob Geldof
  • Michael Jackson
  • Prince
  • Whitney Houston
  • Kylie Minogue
  • Nena
  • Herbert Grönemeyer
  • Dieter Bohlen
  • Claudia Abbado
  • Montserrat Caballé
  • José Carreras
  • Placido Domingo
  • Prof. Justus Frant
  • Prof. Kurt Masur
  • Yehudi Menuhin
  • Chicago Symphony Orchestra
  • Catherine Deneuve
  • Jane Fonda
  • Hildegard Knef
  • Robert de Niro
  • Bud Spencer
  • Sylvester Stallone
  • Til Schweiger
  • Emilio Pucci
  • Paco Rabanne
  • Agatha Ruiz de la Prada
  • Wolfgang Joop
  • Boris Becker
  • Michael Schumacher
  • Henry Maske
  • Franz Beckenbauer
  • Deutsche Fußballnationalmannschaft
  • Willy Brandt
  • Giscard D’Estaing
  • Richard von Weizäcker
  • Dr. Helmut Kohl
  • Hans-Dietrich Genscher
  • Gerhard Schröder

MS Esplanade – 5 stars on the waterways

In 1990, the hotel got it’s own boats landing at the Landwehrkanal. Thus, the business idea was born to operate a luxury hotel ship. From 1992 onwards, meetings, conferences and major events took place on board the MS Esplanade and triggered a wave of enthusiasm. The first wedding aboard a ship in Berlin took place on the MS Esplanade.

Grand Hotel Esplanade - Lobby

Relaunch and Rebranding

On 1st May 2006, 18 years after the opening, the US financial investor The Blackstone Group bought the privately run hotel. The new owners invested nearly 20 million Euros in the relaunch of the hotel. High-quality comfort rooms and 40 individually designed suites were built. The hotel lobby was designed by US architect Alexandra Champalimaud. In autumn 2014, the Grand Hotel Esplanade was acquired by Host Hotels & Resorts, who specialize in hotel real estates. On 6th January 2015, the Grand Hotel Esplanade became the Sheraton Grand Hotel Esplanade and now belongs to Marriott – the largest hotel chain in the world.

Grand Hotel Esplanade by night