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The Almodóvar Hotel: East Berlin's Wellness & Vegan Hotspot
East Berlin is a hip, artistic hotspot in the capital of #Germany. In this big city, there's one place where #relaxation reigns supreme. And no, it's not at one of the country's many, many yoga studios. It's at the chic, yet #affordable Almodóvar Hotel, which houses probably the most gorgeous and cozy lobby in all of Berlin.
Almodóvar Hotel is a rarity among European hotels in that it is a “certified” organic hotel, and along with other things, houses vegan and vegetarian restaurant Bardot Bistro on the ground floor. As you enter, you feel as if you’ve entered a romantic and dreamy lounge of sorts, not necessarily a hotel, and suddenly you find that you want to bury yourself in one of their comfy chairs behind one of their white sheer curtains so you can get lost for a while.
Behind the scenes, the raison d’etre for this property is all about wellness and clean living despite the fact that its home is in the Friedrichshain district of East Berlin, which is central to the artistic funky side of Berlin more than the yoginis. That said, I was astonished how many yoga studios, or at the very least, signs, I saw throughout Berlin, both east and west.
Almodovar Hotel Biohotel
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The concept started as far back as 2004 when Naturalis GmbH was founded as a health education-training centre in Berlin. Branches were later established in Munich (2006), Frankfurt (2008), and Hamburg (2010) and with its 2012 expansion, Almodóvar Hotel was launched. Another cool factoid about the hotel is that of a staff of over 100, six of the seven managing positions are held by women. Bravo!
Their mission, or rather mantra, is all about treating the guest as a “human being.” While that may seem trite or obvious, I’m always amazed at how often hotel staff forget the individualized approach to their customers, realizing that in fact, every guest is different and therefore being as personal as you can is vital to a successful “stay” experience. Almodóvar believes that the key to a bright future and business success is the respectful and resource-oriented interaction with the environment.
Because the 60-room hotel is certified organic hotel, the design is sustainable throughout — the rooms do not have refrigerators, and the electricity comes from renewable sources.
Below, a shot of the bathrooms — small but modern and in traditional European style, includes a heating rack for your towels, a huge plus during off-season and cooler months.
From FSC certified natural wood for the floors to the cleaning agents, the resources are all from sustainable biological production. In the hotel’s design, they use organic shapes and materials across the globe – from South African felt Ottomans to Southern French wool design. Benches made of a design-recycling project in Senegal harmonize with modern carpet design by Jan Kath. Much of the furniture was designed by the hotel collective and manufactured in India and Germany.
At its vegetarian restaurants downstairs, fair-trade coffee is served and the dishes consist exclusively of organic products, specializing in fresh organic ingredients and living or raw cuisine, which hasn’t been “heat” treated.
Their dishes are unique and often have vibrant colors in their presentation, leaving you with a nurturing feeling after you finish a dish, whether it’s their large spread vegan breakfast they have every morning or smaller plates later in the day. Below is a delicious vegan bacon and pesto starter they have on the menu – it was good enough that I asked for a second.
The breakfast is unusual for a hotel – in addition to a breakfast buffet, there are also thematic breakfasts with a goal to not only please vegetarians and vegans but also demonstrate to non-vegetarians that a meat-free diet does not mean sacrificing taste.
The breakfast is unusual for a hotel
They serve culinary delights such as paella and Zurich ragout, and all meals and drinks (even the cocktails are mixed only with organic produce) originate from organic farms, which are regularly monitored by the ecological control authority. The primarily vegan fare is complemented with themes, so for example, in the spring, they offer “Living Foods” – gourmet raw food dishes with a delicious twist.
Roof Top City Spa
Wellness and relaxation are also a priority here as noted by their relaxing rooftop spa on the 5th floor. Since we arrived so early in the morning on a redeye and our rooms weren’t ready yet, we were able to take a quick nap on comfy white mattresses on the floor, all of which face an outdoor terrace with plants and wooden lounge chairs.
They also have a healthy tea stand set up in case you want a hot renewing cuppa tea after exploring the city all day or in our case, just hopped off a 10+ hour flight. They also offer a panoramic sauna with rest areas, a stone’s throw from their nearby sun terraces. They have trained therapists on board who offer massage as well as yoga and other mind-body interventions. The treatments are a special highlight – from a day in the private spa suite to the Ayurveda spa, guests can choose from an extensive and authentic wellness-program.
It’s also worth noting that we all found yoga mats in our rooms, yet another way to encourage a healthy lifestyle, whether you want to use for a simple meditation from your room or in their rooftop spa with a view.
Creativity is also at their core — the shot below is of the side of the hotel building which faces a major street in Friedrichshain.
Two thumbs up! It’s a great (and quaint) hotel find in the heart of East Berlin — the closest metro public transportation is the Tram (street car) lines 21 and M13 (Boxhagenerstr/Holteistr) or the Samariterstr on the U5 line.