Destination: Berlin, Germany
Date: September 2018
Hotel: Swissotel Berlin
Holiday provider: Hotels.com (Packages)
Restaurant: Alt Berliner Biersalon & Upper Burger Grill
Excursion: Berlin Hop-On-Hop-Off Tour
Leaving home before the first sight of light our weekend away begun. Arriving at London Gatwick by the unusual slow train from East Croydon we realised the queues at the airport are much worse at 5am!!
The flight was at 6:05am and gates closed at 5:35. this was going to be a race against time. Luckily having flown on a few Easyjet flights, I knew that gates normally open at the time they’re meant to close, so it was going to be fine.
Travelling with a broken arm was going to be a new experience, especially in a cast! Make sure you that the cast is not applied within 48hrs before a long-haul flight and/or 24hrs before a short-haul. You will also need a ‘fit to fly’ letter from your GP. If you have a good GP, he won’t charge you for it.
Boarding was slow, but once on we made ourselves comfortable for the flight. Even Sergeant Night-watch (my mother) was fast asleep and snoring for the 2hour flight.
The landing was the smoothest I’ve experienced EVER!! I didn’t even realise we had made contact with the ground.
We had arrived early and as we only had hand luggage were able to walk straight through the baggage hall. Unfortunately, our transfer wasn’t there on arrival so ended up waiting around for 15mins. Not the most professional first impression. Unfortunately, the lack of professionalism continued with the arrival of our transport… a mini bus that looked worn and smelt thickly of cigarettes, we’re pretty sure we could still see the smoke. Not good, but thankfully only a 25min drive to the hotel.
What can I say about our first impressions of the @Swissotel Berlin…there was a Huggy bear (now known to be Buddy Bear, the unofficial ambassador for Germany, a symbol of Berlin) outside and just a bell boy after the revolving doors. We were very confused. He kindly explained that the reception was upstairs and pointed to the Willy Wonka style glass lift.
Now be aware, lifts in this hotel make you feel like you’re on a roller-coaster, I’ve never ridden in ones so fast before, my stomach flipped every time.
We were given complementary early check-in and late check-out which was perfect.
We opted to stay at this 5* hotel on a bed and breakfast basis, but as we arrived so early on the first day, we later went out to explore what breakfast options Berlin had to offer. The lobby was grand and the receptionist ‘Dennis’ incredibly friendly. We went up to our 7th floor room, the corridors were modern with floor to ceiling illusion doors.
It was sad that this 5* hotel room than proceeded to look like a fraternal twin sister version of the Premier Inn. There was nothing glamourous or standout about this room with all basic fixtures and fittings. The bathroom made this room with a bath and a standalone walk-in shower, but with no heating in there we had to leave the shower on to be able to dry our self without freezing to death.
We found the first room way too cold, so we were kindly moved to the 9th floor in the middle of the first night.
It was my birthday on the second day and arriving back from our meal we were greeted by a card and chocolate cake. Now, I’m usually a savoury girl, but that cake was perfectly balanced making it not too sweet and not too sickly.
On our last day we had a late breakfast and relaxed until the transfer arrived. It was the same minibus 👀…the same worn and smelly mini bus, 🙄 😪
AltBerlinerBiersalon – Go here, GO here, GO HERE… please :D!!!!!! What a plate of breakfast we ate. My plate was only Smoked salmon, fried eggs, beans and freshly made rolls, but yo! It did sweet me! As my Nana would say! If breakfast wasn’t included in the package we would have eaten here every morning without a doubt, €27 for breakfast with drinks for 2 #Bargain
Upperburgergrill – Well, this place blows every burger restaurant I have ever eaten at as a pescatarian out of the water. I don’t know what the chef does to his burgers, but I’m here for it. We decided to go hard AND go home as it was my birthday and ordered a burger each that we would do half and half and 2 sides each! I went for the Salmon burger with the Wasabi mayo, with coleslaw and skin on fries and then Mumsie went for the veggie burger with sweet potato fries and a side salad. We shared it all and it was the best meal I’ve had in a long time. Just typing this now is making my mouth water. I’m coming back or you will have to franchise over to the UK; either way this meal will pass my lips again. Just don’t ask for a wine spitzer, that was poor! #Awks
Excursion: Berlin Hop-On-Hop-Off Tour
I mean, we saw what we wanted to but there wasn’t much to see. The buses with headphones are much better as the live ones make you feel that you’re missing something when speaking in another language. Yes, that could sound like British ignorance, but I unfortunately didn’t speak enough German to get me through the tour.
There wasn’t the culture we we’re expecting and, in all honesty, I’m not sure why I expected it to be at Venice, Amsterdam or even Budapest levels. For £200 for 2 nights including flights, breakfast, transfers and the excursion it was a bargain and a very welcomed getaway, if you lower your expectations, then you’ll probably be wowed.