Daring to be different
The Pullman Berlin Schweizerhof hotel has been part of Union Investment’s portfolio since 1999. Located on Budapester Strasse in the immediate vicinity of the Tiergarten park and zoo, it is extremely well-positioned in Berlin’s hotel market. After some 20 years in the company’s holdings, a bold refurbishment has highlighted its unique character and added many creative touches.
At a cost of around EUR 12 million, Union Investment updated the entire ground floor, including the lobby, lounge, restaurant and bar, and also carried out a soft refurbishment of the rooms. The hotel remained open throughout the works. At the heart of the concept was the unique atmosphere of the location near Berlin’s Tiergarten park and zoo, combined with influences from the city’s creative scene. Both aspects were captured in order to enhance the overall experience for hotel guests.
The starting point
Prior to this vibrant refurbishment, the Pullman Berlin Schweizerhof was noted for the understated style associated with leading international hotels. As such, guests were aware of the high quality standards but found the ambience rather bland – it could have been a hotel in Paris, New York or anywhere, rather than Berlin.
The aim of the bold, creative redesign of key areas such as the lobby, lounge, restaurant and bar was to achieve a genuinely distinctive look and feel, with guests feeling immediately at home. The intention was to allow the hotel to highlight its strengths even more effectively in Berlin’s diverse hotel market. A further objective was that the new feel-good elements should lead to an increased length of stay and higher hotel revenue per guest.
“The bold makeover of the ground floor has certainly paid off for our tenant, the manager and for us as the owner of the property. We also used the refurbishment as an opportunity to develop a new, improved structure for the lease and management agreement.”
Martin Schaller, Head of Asset Management Hospitality
ValueState Hotels, AccorHotels and Union Investment entrusted the famous Sundukovy Sisters with the task of coming up with a bold refurbishment plan. Among other things, numerous animal motifs have found their way into the hotel. At the entrance, for example, guests are welcomed by a life-sized giraffe. Crisp turquoise is a key element of the new lobby, as are warm and earthy shades of brown.
The new lounge is a riot of colour and pattern. The frequency of guests’ visits to the lounge and the length of time they spend there have noticeably increased. In the restaurant area, a zebra now takes centre stage. In addition, the design reflects Berlin’s character as a creative, vibrant world city. The urban coolness of the Berlin food scene is evident not only in the furnishings, but also on the restaurant’s menu.
The bar, meanwhile, has been transformed into a more comfortable space for people to meet and mingle. The living room vibe encourages guests to linger in convivial groups or relax in their own armchair. The environment is suitable both for working and for conversing.
The refurbishment as a whole has received multiple awards, including the IHIF HAMA Europe Award in the Value Add Strategy category and the 2018 Gold Key Award in the Best Lobby Upscale category.