Less than a mile from the Brandenburg Gate and the Berlin Wall is a delightful haven for families: the Scandic Berlin Potsdamer Platz. The city is packed with days’ worth of wonderful activities, and after hours out on the town, having a comfortable home base to unwind is a must. The kids, being kids, will probably still have energy to let loose, and the Scandic delivers in keeping them entertained. From a well-stocked playroom and foosball table adjacent to the restaurant and bar, to a lively interior that features different scenes and animals from the Scandinavian countryside, kids and adults both will enjoy this mini-retreat in the center of Berlin.
The minute you walk in the door, it’s clear that this is a place where the whole family can have fun and relax. The Sweden-based Scandic brand is known for its modern, eco-friendly ambiance, and it shines at the Berlin outpost. From the forest-and-meadow-motif elevators (complete with the sounds of birds chirping) and the green and white decor, it feels as though you’ve been transported to the Scandinavian countryside.
While the hotel’s environmentally conscious construction and practices are what give it its character, the way in which it treats family gives it its soul. With balloons at check-in, gifts in the room and an exclusive children’s-only buffet at breakfast, the Scandic knows how to delight its youngest guests. An added bonus? Happy, busy kids mean parents have a chance to get some time to themselves, and therein lies the ultimate luxury of staying here.
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The Scandic offers seven different room sizes and configurations to choose from, which is particularly convenient for larger families who prefer to share one room. We stayed in a Superior Family Room, with a queen bed, a sofa bed and a baby crib (provided upon request). The room was clean and bright with beautiful wooden floors and French windows. In addition to the standard amenities, it featured a flat-screen TV with movie channels, wireless Internet access, blackout curtains and a minibar with a selection of soft drinks included in the room rate. We found the room to be a good size for our family of five.
One of the highlights of staying at a Scandic is simply exploring the interior of the hotel. Each floor has its own theme, inspired by Scandinavia’s seasons and nature. On one floor might be motifs of meadows filled with flowers; on another, rain; and on a third, moose. The design is both charmingly quirky and intriguing—kids will love it!
The breakfast buffet at the Scandic is a veritable feast. Scandinavians will feel right at home with the smorgas (open-faced sandwiches) and crisp bread with kalles caviar, but no guest will be disappointed—there are more than 100 breakfast items, including American and European favorites as well as gluten- and lactose-free options. The hotel goes above and beyond to make the breakfast experience special. Take, for instance, the fact that you can choose from three different types of honey dispensed from a machine into miniature ice cream cone holders. That was absolutely a breakfast highlight for my children!
The children’s breakfast buffet is also a fantastic example of how the Scandic caters to its younger clientele. Cereal, fruit, mini-waffles, eggs, yogurt and an array of meats and cheeses are laid along a table designed specifically for kids, complete with toddler-friendly plastic plates and cutlery.
TIP: Breakfast at the Scandic Berlin Potsdamer Platz is not always included in the room rate, so be sure to confirm this when making your reservations.
Lunch and dinner are served in the a la carte restaurant, where guests choose from a regional and seasonal menu with continental offerings. There is a children’s menu as well, and while the choices are fairly standard, the food is delicious.
The most happening spot at the Scandic is the third floor, which is home to the foosball table and the kids’ playroom in addition to the restaurant/bar and breakfast buffet. The hotel also has a gym and a mini-shop that is open 24 hours a day and sells everything from toothbrushes to playing cards. As part of its prestigious green ranking (the highest in Germany), the Scandic also offers bicycles and walking poles for those who want to explore the city sans automobile.
There are so many things for families to see and experience nearby—this is Berlin, after all. The Scandic is located in the heart of the city on Potsdamer Platz. Right across from the hotel is the Stage Theater, which is famous for its musicals, as well as the Sony Center and the Museum of Film and Television. A short walk from the hotel leads to the Berlin Wall, the Brandenburg Gate and the Reichstag, or the seat of the German Parliament.
The Tiergarten, less than a mile away, is a beautiful green park full of ponds and wildlife, perfect for a picnic and a stroll or run. At the edge of the Tiergarten, you’ll find the Berlin Zoo and Aquarium, a favorite among families and a must-visit no matter the time of year. Also very close to the hotel, but in the opposite direction from Potsdamer Platz, the Deutsches Technikmuseum has wonderful exhibits on airplanes, boats and trains that will interest kids of all ages (some of the exhibits are hands-on).
The Scandic is conveniently situated near the U-Bahn rapid transit underground railway, which connects the western and eastern parts of the city, as well as the S-Bahn regional train network. Together the systems serve as the main means of transportation in Berlin.
TIP: We visited Berlin during the holidays, and the Potsdamer Platz Christmas Market is, without a doubt, one of the best in Berlin for kids. A short walk from the hotel, the Christmas market boasts Europe’s largest mobile toboggan run, a sizable outdoor ice skating rink, a few carnival-like rides for younger kids, and sweet and savory foods galore. For those visiting Berlin to scout out the Christmas markets, the Scandic Berlin Potsdamer Platz should be at the top of the hotel list.
Editor’s Note: Loren was hosted by the Scandic Berlin Potsdamer Platz in order to review the property. As always, our opinions are our own. Photos by Loren Braunohler.
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