|Location in Berlin|
|Location||Unter den Linden, Berlin, Germany|
(Current Hotel - August 23, 1997)
|Architect||Rainer Michael Klotz|
The legendary original Hotel Adlon was one of the most famous hotels in Europe. It opened in 1907 and was largely destroyed in 1945 in the closing days of World War II, though a small wing continued operating until 1984.
The current hotel is a new building with a design inspired by the original, which opened on August 23, 1997.
First Hotel Adlon 1907–1945 
The first Hotel Adlon was constructed by Lorenz Adlon, a successful Berlin wine merchant and restaurateur originally from Mainz. Adlon wanted to build his hotel on the Pariser Platz, at the heart of Berlin. He convinced Kaiser Wilhelm II that Berlin needed a luxury hotel at the level of those in Paris, London and the other European capitals, and so the Kaiser personally interceded with the owners of the Palais Redern, a landmark designed by Karl Friedrich Schinkel, which sat at Adlon's chosen location. The Kaiser cleared the way for Adlon's purchase of the Palais in 1905 and for the subsequent demolition of the historic building.
Designed by Carl Gause and Robert Leibnitz, the hotel was built at a cost of 20 Million Gold Marks, 2 Million of which were the majority of Adlon's personal fortune. The hotel was the most modern in Germany with hot and cold running water, an on-site laundry, as well as its own power plant to generate electricity. It boasted a huge lobby with enormous square marble columns, a restaurant, a cafe, a palm court, a ladies' lounge, a library, a music room, a smoking room, a barber shop, a cigar shop, an interior garden with a Japanese-themed elephant fountain and numerous grand ballrooms. The hotel was decorated in a mix of neo-baroque and Louis XVI styles and furnished by the Mainz company of Bernbe, where Lorenz Adlon had once been an apprentice carpenter.
The Adlon opened on October 23, 1907 with the Kaiser, his wife, and many other notables in attendance. It quickly became the social center of Berlin. The Kaiser paid an annual retainer to keep rooms available for his guests and many wealthy Berliners lived for extended periods of time in the hotel, while its ballrooms hosted official government functions and society events.
After World War I and the abdication of the Kaiser, Lorenz Adlon remained a staunch monarchist and thus never imagined normal traffic would pas through the Brandenburg Gate's central archway, which had been reserved for the Kaiser alone. He therefore never looked before crossing in front of it. Tragically, this resulted in Adlon being hit by a car in 1918 at that spot. Three years later, on April 7, 1921, he was again hit by a car at the exact same spot, this time fatally. Lorenz's son Louis Adlon took over management of the hotel with his American-born wife Hedda.
The Adlon was one of the most famous hotels in Europe and hosted celebrities guests including Tsar Nicholas II, Thomas Edison, Louise Brooks, Charlie Chaplin, Henry Ford, Franklin Roosevelt, Paul von Hindenburg, John D. Rockefeller, Herbert Hoover, Mary Pickford, Emil Jannings, Albert Einstein, Enrico Caruso, Thomas Mann, Josephine Baker, The Maharaja of Patiala and Marlene Dietrich.
The hotel was also a favorite hangout of international journalists, including William L. Shirer, who mentions it frequently in his writings. It was located in the heart of the government quarter next to the British Embassy on Wilhelmstrasse, facing the French and American Embassies on the Pariser Platz and only blocks from the Chancellery and other government ministries further south on Wilhelmstrasse.
The hotel remained a social center of the city throughout the Nazi period, though the Nazis themselves preferred the Kaiserhof Hotel a few blocks south and directly across from the Propaganda Ministry and Hitler's Chancellery on the Wilhelmsplatz. The Adlon continued to operate normally throughout World War II, even constructing a luxurious bomb shelter for its guests and a huge brick wall around the lobby level to protect the function rooms from flying debris. Parts of the hotel were converted to a military field hospital during the final days of the Battle for Berlin. The hotel survived the war without any major damage, having avoided the bombs and shelling that had leveled the city. However, on the night of May 2, 1945 a fire, started in the hotel's wine cellar by intoxicated Soviet soldiers, left the main building in ruins.
Louis Adlon himself was killed by Soviet troops in the closing days of the war. Hedda Adlon relates in her autobiography that Louis was shot by the Soviets after they mistook him for a General because a servant at their estate called him by his title of "Generaldirektor".
East German Hotel Adlon 1945–1984 
Following the war, the East German government reopened the building's surviving rear service wing under the Hotel Adlon name. The ruined main building was demolished in 1952, along with all of the other buildings on Pariser Platz. The square was left as an abandoned, grassed-over buffer with the West, with the Brandenburg Gate sitting alone by the Berlin Wall.
In 1964, the remaining part of the building was renovated and the facade was redone. However, in the 1970s what remained of the original Hotel Adlon closed to guests and was converted to a lodging house for East German apprentices.It was open to some visitors including this contributer in 1971 and 1973. In 1971 soldiers with rifles over their shoulders patrolled the front of the hotel. In 1973 the soldiers had gone. Finally, in 1984, the building was demolished.
Second Hotel Adlon 1997–present 
With the reunification of Germany, the site was bought by a West German investment firm and a new hotel was built between 1995 and 1997. The building, only very loosely inspired by the original, was designed by Rainer Michael Klotz of Patzschke Klotz & Partners, and on August 23, 1997 German President Roman Herzog opened the new Hotel Adlon. The hotel occupies the site of the original building, along with additional adjacent land. It currently operates as Hotel Adlon Kempinski Berlin, part of the Kempinski chain. Due to the hotel's success, it has been expanded twice with new wings at the rear on Behrenstrasse. The first wing, known as the Adlon Palais, opened in 2003, while the second, known as the Adlon Residenz, opened in 2004.
The original Hotel Adlon was famously located at Number One Unter Den Linden, as the avenue was numbered starting at the Brandenburg Gate end. However in the East German era, the avenue was renumbered, starting from the other end. As a result, the current Hotel Adlon Kempinski's entrance, though located at the exact same site, is now at Unter den Linden 77.
In popular culture 
- Film director Percy Adlon is the great-grandson of Lorenz Adlon and made a documentary about the hotel called The Glamorous World of the Adlon Hotel in 1996.
- Much of the Liam Neeson action film Unknown was filmed at the Adlon, including the entire final portion.
- Greta Garbo's 1932 film Grand Hotel is set in a Berlin hotel inspired by the Adlon. In one of its rooms, she first utters her trademark line 'I vant to be alone'.
- A fictional half-ruined pre-war luxury hotel in East Berlin (also inspired by the Adlon), is seen in Billy Wilder's film One, Two, Three.
- The hotel features prominently in numerous fiction and non-fiction books about the Third Reich, including Joseph Kanon's novel The Good German, Philip Kerr's Bernie Gunther novels, David Downing's John Russell novels, and William L. Shirer's memoir Berlin Diary.
- Michael Jackson dangled his son "Blanket" out one of the hotel's windows during a visit to Berlin in November 2002. He apologized afterward saying "I offer no excuses for what happened, I got caught up in the excitement of the moment. I would never intentionally endanger the lives of my children."
- In the 1972 film Cabaret, Liza Minnelli's character Sally Bowles says she went to "the Adlon" to meet her father, who did not show up.
- The hotel appears as a still photograph in the intro for Heil Honey, I'm Home!, a 1990 British sitcom starring Adolf Hitler and Eva Braun that was canceled after one episode for being in bad taste.
- In the Doctor Who episode "Let's Kill Hitler", the TARDIS lands in the dining room of the Hotel Adlon in 1938, the Doctor dies there due to River Song's poisonous kiss and she uses her own regeneration energy plus all her future regenerations to resurrect the Doctor, under the eyes of Amy Pond and Rory Williams.
- A three-part drama mini-series set at the hotel entitled Das Adlon: Eine Familiensaga (The Adlon: A Family Saga) was broadcast on the German television station ZDF in January 2013.
- A documentary Das Adlon – Die Dokumentation (The Adlon: A Documentary) was also broadcast by ZDF in January 2013.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Hotel Adlon|
- Hotel Adlon Kempinski Berlin official website
- Percy Adlon's "The Glamorous of the Adlon Hotel, An homage to my own family"
- "In der glanzvollen Welt des Hotel Adlon" – IMDb