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I stayed inside Berlin's former Telegraph Office at the sumptuous Hotel Telegraphenamt

Berlin's Hotel Telegraphenamt is an art deco delight located just a short walk away from Museum Island

Telegraphenamt hotel ROOT interior view with hanging lanterns and yellow chairs
Kate Thomas
Lifestyle Managing Editor
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Berlin is on every cool girl's travel list this winter. Now, I'm about as far from the edgy, underground Berlin club scene as you can get, but I found myself planning a winter break in the city because of my history-mad husband's interest in all things World War Two. Once a mecca for tourists seeking out its excellent museums, the German capital has more recently synonymous with awe-inspiring architecture, trendy bars and clubs and fine dining restaurants with innovative menus.

And what better way to visit culture rich Berlin than to be immersed in the heart of it? Enter the Hotel Telegraphenamt, once the biggest postal hub in Germany. The spectacular neo-baroque building has been lovingly restored and transformed into an art deco haven, retaining its resplendent grandeur with nods to its origins as the hub of the revolutionary wartime telephone network.

Telegraphenamt hotel Berlin exterior view of building © Telegraphenamt
Hotel Telegraphenamt opened its doors in late 2022

The brainchild of Roland Mary, the popular restaurateur at the helm of celebrity hotspot Borchardt, the Mitte-based hotel has welcomed swathes of star guests and trendy urbanites since it opened its doors in late 2022. Its success lies in the way it seamlessly blends old and new – the spacious and welcoming lobby, for instance, is the perfect mixture of new and old Berlin with exposed brick and urban steelwork coinciding with original features.

Checking into the Telegraphenamt

With accommodation to suit every budget, the impressive building encompasses 97 unique rooms, maisonettes and suites. Our room was small but perfectly formed with beautiful 1920s touches and a sleek, modern design. There was ample space to store clothing (which came in handy as I'd accidentally packed half my wardrobe) and an adjoining bathroom with a grey granite sink, marble finishes and 360 mirrors.

Telegraphenamt hotel in Berlin view of double bed with art deco lighting © FLORIAN GROEHN
The former telegraph office boasts 97 unique rooms, maisonettes and suites

Unique touches in the room included a Marshall Bluetooth speaker providing the soundtrack to pre-dinner drinks, and a fun compass sign outside your door which allows you to alert housekeeping to whether you're snoozing or out on the town.

The heavenly super king-sized bed had some of the softest linen I've had the pleasure of sleeping in – a must after a long day of pounding the pavements and exploring everything Berlin has to offer. On that subject, the Telegraphenamt's location overlooking Monbijou Park is unbeatable for a winter weekend exploring the city. Close to two different artists' markets and a short walk from Museum Island, you're never too far from the action.

Telegraphenamt hotel in Berlin view of bathroom with marbel walls© FLORIAN GROEHN
The bathroom boasted a grey granite sink, marble finishes and 360 mirrors

Dinner at ROOT

In-house restaurant ROOT was the place to be on a Friday night. The vibe at the adjacent bar for a pre-dinner cocktail was buzzing it soon became clear the venue was a hotspot for well-dressed creative types once the resident DJ set up shop for the night.

The Telegraphenamt's Pan-Asian restaurant, which also doubles up as the breakfast room, was an impressive sight thanks to its high glass roof and indoor plants framing the intimate, velvet-lined booths. Hanging orange orb lighting completed the greenhouse effect, and I spent much of the meal observing my Instagrammable surroundings.

Telegraphenamt restaurant ROOT view of red brick walls and tables© FLORIAN GROEHN
Pan-Asian restaurant ROOT also doubles up as the breakfast room

Sushi isn't my favourite, but I was pleasantly surprised by the varied menu, which promised to add a "German touch of efficiency" to established Asian delicacies. Steering clear of the popular sushi platters being ordered by fellow guests, I sampled teriyaki skewers, soft shell crab tempura, the freshest papaya and carrot salad, and tender Wagyu steak with chimichurri sauce.

Make sure to check out the original post office feature at the back of the room. The remains of the largest pneumatic mail tube system in Germany are still there, and it is quite spectacular.

Telegraphenamt hotel bar interior view © FLORIAN GROEHN
The Telegraphenamt's bar is the place to be on a Friday night

Book a table at Borchardt

A visit to Berlin isn't complete without a trip to Borchardt, or so I'd been told. The celebrity hotspot, which has played host to everyone from German superstar Heidi Klum to US royalty Barack Obama, has become the place to go to people watch… so much so that the menu boasts an note urging guests not to photograph their glittering clientele. I didn't spot any famous faces during my visit, but I did dine on the best steak I've had in quite some time.

The bustling restaurant, whose queues of eager diners snake around the block, is styled like a traditional Bistrot and the extensive menu is filled with French classic dishes with a Deutsch twist. My steak was perfectly done, served with melt-in-your-mouth gratin dauphinoise, garlic tossed greens and a punchy pepper sauce.

Borchardt restaurant in Berlin exterior view with red awnings © Borchardt
The hotel is the brainchild of Roland Mary, the popular restaurateur at the helm of celebrity hotspot Borchardt

The service was impeccable; despite the Saturday night rush, the waiters were attentive and friendly and even produced a complimentary glass of Sekt (a dry local fizz not unlike Cava) which was a lovely touch. As expected, the wine list was superb and a special mention must go to the dessert; a rich crème brûlée that really hit the spot. We left saying we'd be recommending it to anyone who visits Berlin and will most certainly be booking back in when we return to the city.

A walk through history  

Berlin is steeped in rich history and I spent much of the weekend traipsing around after my politics-obsessed husband, ticking off items from his bucket list.

Borchardt in Berlin interior view of dining tables © Borchardt
A visit to Berlin isn't complete without a trip to Borchardt

Braving the subzero temperatures, we booked a walking tour from the East to the West side stopping off at the Brandenburg Gate, the site of Hitler's bunker, and finishing up at checkpoint Charlie (where the museum is excellent).

I also thoroughly enjoyed seeing the city from the comfort of a canal boat, which enabled us to get our initial bearings. The Berliner Fernsehturm offers a panoramic view of the city, but don't bother if, like us, you're visiting on a foggy day.                             

Telegraphenamt lobby view with postal system© FLORIAN GROEHN

The DDR museum was by far my favourite; a crowd-pleasing, interactive museum featuring installations including the iconic East German Trabant car and a life-sized model home from the 60s, offering a sense of what life was like in a divided nation. Carve out plenty of time for the Topography of Terror exhibition, too, which provided the clearest overview of the Nazis' rise to power and life in the concentration camps.

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If you're planning to visit the Reichstag, I recommend booking a visiting slot weeks in advance as sadly, two weeks before didn't cut it. Christmas markets abound in the city if you're going in December - avoid the anxiety-inducing crush of the most popular ones and stick to the Wintermarkt Schloßplatz. Thank me later. And of course, make sure to stop off at the East Side Gallery Memorial to visit all the wall art, including the iconic Brezhnev and Honecke kiss.

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