Among the innovative architecture that has sprung up in Berlin over the last two decades, there are still hints of the beautiful pre-war state. Magnificent constructs like the Brandenburg Gate and the Charlottenburg Palace sit alongside the ultra-modern Berlin Philharmonic and the German Historical Centre, making for a delightfully intriguing city.
This juxtaposition of old and new is mirrored wonderfully by the Waldorf Astoria’s modern facade (it opened in 2013), located in the west of Berlin, and the classically chic Guerlain Spa housed within it – the first of its kind in Germany. The spa is an oasis of tranquillity with stunning blooms aplenty, and is the perfect end to long days spent discovering what the city has to offer.
Six chic, 1930s-style, good-sized treatment rooms with private bathrooms offer 25 different treatments, from gentle facials to intensive body experiences. There is also a beautifully designed indoor pool, sauna, steam room, whirlpool, and ice fountain to spend hours relaxing in.
But it’s the unique power of scent that takes centre stage here, its ability to recall a memory, mirror one’s feelings and comfort the soul. I tried the Beauty Revelation treatment, exclusive to the hotel, which works on both the face and body with the aim to replenish and repair. A mix of radiance-inducing Guerlain products are used on the face, while tension and stiffness are kneaded out of the body.
To start, I was led to a display of fragrance bottles, ranging from the perfume house’s new scents to the iconic – and the one I chose would be used to envelop the room during my treatment. I surprised myself by choosing a soft, light, airy and uplifting scent – miles away from the heavy amber and tuberose affairs that I tend to wear religiously back home. ‘You can tell a lot about a person by the fragrance they wear,’ my therapist commented.
What did mine say about me? And what had Berlin done to change my tastes so dramatically? I realised my signature scent had become something of a security blanket; it was reliable, warm and comforting, while the scent I chose here had an air of fun, openness and creativityto it – just like this new Berlin I’d discovered.
The Beauty Revelation Treatment at the Waldorf Astoria (waldorfastoriaberlin.com) starts from £160. Double rooms cost from £260 per night, including breakfast.
Words: Amerley Ollennu