Peek Inside The Fantastical World of Berlin's Hotel Zoo [Photos]

  • Entrance

    If the walls of 25 Kurfürstendamm, where Hotel Zoo stands, could talk they would tell tales of a grand boulevard that has stood the test of time. Stories not illustrated by crumbling stone statues of powerful men, but by regal facades and the lives lived behind them. From the highs of the Roaring Twenties to the lowest lows of war, they would tell the story of Berlin, with one foot firmly in the past, and the other leaping forward. First opened in 1911, Hotel Zoo has seen it all.

    Photo courtesy of Design Hotels

  • Lobby

    The boulevard, dubbed the “Hollywood of Europe”, was lined with cabarets, cinemas and theaters. Once the official VIP hotel to the celebrated Berlin International Film Festival from the 50’s to the 70’s, the likes of Romy Schneider and Hildegard Knef glided from red carpet premieres to the catwalk of the hotel, lit up by the flashes of the paparazzi. Today, guests are guided through the doors on a jade-colored catwalk by Diane von Furstenberg. Crouching leopards woven into the carpet dramatically set the stage for grandiose proportions.

    Photo courtesy of Design Hotels

  • Lobby

    Today’s Hotel Zoo has a new chapter to tell. After two years of restoration, the hotel re-opened its legendary doors in November 2014. The high ceilings, stately rooms and impressive scale of the 145-room residence reference a lavish past, while a new polish restores the glamour faded by time. To breathe new life into the old building and rooms, American designer Dayna Lee was enlisted.

    Photo courtesy of Design Hotels

  • Lobby

    To fulfill the design mandate with authenticity, Lee honored both the city and the building’s history by diving into Berlin’s thriving cultural scene. “Berlin is my ideal city–both deeply historical and avant garde. Berlin permeates the design of Hotel Zoo, a city brimming with creative and genuine people. We have layered this with the self-assured moxy of New York, the bold timelessness of London, and the easy-living of Hollywood,” says Lee.

    Photo courtesy of Design Hotels

  • Lobby

    Seven meter-high ceilings interplay with industrial windows–giving nods to New York–while a floating lobby welcomes those looking for their very own pied-à-terre in the new Berlin. A two-ton ceiling molding acts as a capping flourish in the Living Room, with grand lilies sculpted from plaster and mortar. A floating reception desk of black glass, pressed flowers and walnut curves the far wall, bridging the entrance to the Living Room, guiding guests to the heart and soul of the hotel.

    Photo courtesy of Design Hotels

  • Lobby

    Oversized windows flood the spacious rooms and public spaces with natural light, while rich tapestries weave a tale of exotic travels–as though the original owner’s collection from far and wide had been left behind. Painted by strokes of wonder and whimsy, Hotel Zoo leaves its storied past behind, but never out of sight. Overhead, a two-ton molding of enlarged lilies has been mounted to the ceiling–the crowning fantastical piece.

    Photo courtesy of Design Hotels

  • Room

    At the new Hotel Zoo, blending historical authenticity with sleek modernity was paramount. Designer Dayna Lee treated the rooms and their bespoke layouts individually, with an intended pied-à-terre impression resulting.

    Photo courtesy of Design Hotels

  • Room

    Careful preservation of the unique trademarks that the over a century old building provided was meticulously executed. Room characteristics range from the classic, with original brickwork and high ceilings, to the cutting-edge glass and curved lines of the new additions – both styles cohesively melding under one roof.

    Photo courtesy of Design Hotels

  • Room

    To strike the right balance of townhouse comfort and refined elegance, Lee assembled a peaceful palette of taupe, lilac, and eggshell for the varied guestrooms. 

    Photo courtesy of Design Hotels

  • Room

    “The unique dimensions and traits of each room have been both a gift and a challenge during the building process," Manfred Weingärtner recalls. Furniture had to be custom made, and bathrooms individually designed. In some of the rooms–as in the public spaces of the hotel–the original brickwork was restored by the Art Department of Studio Babelsberg.

    Photo courtesy of Design Hotels

  • Room

    Steel beams revealed themselves when the building was stripped, and were incorporated into the design of the aptly named 'Industrial Rooms'.

    Photo courtesy of Design Hotels

  • Room

    Harmonious contrasts are created by custom-made walnut wood cabinetry and rich hardwood floors, offset by cream and light grey area rugs. Specially crafted furniture is mixed with oyster-hued armchairs and matching button-back headboards, while ivory-colored lampshades either hang or stand bedside. Capturing both Berlin’s free-spirited artistic nature and the hotel’s own unique brand of whimsy, Lee enlisted fashion photographer Andreas Kock to immortalize the former Hotel Zoo’s original rooms. Blown-up photographs adorn the walls, depicting rear window vignettes of rock ‘n’ roll hotel tendencies.

    Photo courtesy of Design Hotels

  • Room

    Views of the iconic Berlin skyline set the scene for urban explorations, with the bustling Kurfürstendamm Boulevard below.

    Photo courtesy of Design Hotels


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