Mitte Sweet

The new Soho House hotel in Berlin

Housed in a defunct department store with heavy historical baggage, the latest Soho House is a fitting focal point for the new Berlin
Wallpaper* magazine issue 136

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The gentrification of Berlin took an interesting turn recently with the opening of a new branch of the Soho House private members club in a former department store (later the Politbüro HQ) in Mitte. The Soho House Group, founded in 1995 in London is a niche concept that provides attractive, members-only boutique accommodation, restaurants, spas and R&R facilities for aesthetically demanding creatives in London (five premises), Somerset, New York and now Berlin – with Hollywood and Miami to follow later this year.

The principle is fairly simple: members pay an annual fee to use the facilities of the various locations worldwide in a home-from-home atmosphere that is chic, generously proportioned and attractively decorated with private cinemas, pools, roof terraces and in-house kitchens. A large proportion of the members work in media related industries, thus these are not stuffy clubs for men in suits, but convivial pads to chill in and discuss the next campaign shoot with your art director over a steak and a glass of red.

It is not hard to understand why the Soho House club concept has boomed over the past 15 years and the new Berlin base with its 40 rooms, rooftop pool, amazing city views, brasserie and Cowshed spa is already wowing the German media crowd. Founder Nick Jones is delighted with the location, an imposing 1920s building on the edge of the Scheunenviertel in Mitte: “We have had Berlin on our radar for quite some time” he says, “and were just waiting for the right place to come along”. The distinctly English-eclectic rooms with their rough walls, retro, rather ’40s furniture, chintz furnishings and old fashioned record players also have excellent bathroom facilities – a mix that goes down well here in Deutschland.  As a result (and thanks to canny marketing), the opening night of Soho House Berlin saw it packed with PR representatives and creative directors chucking back glasses of bubbly and trying to get their names on the membership list. The following two days were Gallery Weekend in Berlin and the entire place was already booked out for Damien Hirst and his entourage – an auspicious start for any boutique hotel…