The tallies are in on the first deccenial four city Enrico Hale “Thomas Mann” luxury hotel prize. Contestants included the Milestone, in Kensington, in London; the Hassler, in Rome; the Hotel Adlon, in Berlin; and the George V Four Seasons, in Paris.
Not much of a contest, really, as it turns out: the George V Four Seasons totally runs away with it. The location is absolutely unbeatable, the staff are angelic superhumans, and the accomodations are so comfortable that it has been hard to get the family to leave the suite.
I have to give second place to the Milestone. The staff were lovely, the accomodations top notch, and I think if I had asked them to walk my dog and bring the the poo back to me in a little bag, they would have consented with a smile. Great location. No better concierge service have I ever encountered.
The Adlon is just edged out by the Milestone. This was my first trip to Berlin. For picturesque and iconic you cannot possibly do better than the Adlon. However, I think were I to go again with the kinder, I would try the Hotel Am Zoo, on Kurfürstendamm. The surroundings of the Adlon are like a museum. The Kurfürstendamm is like watching three Italian operas at the same time. The concierge service at the Adlon was also very, very, very good, but the accomodations frankly were just not nearly as comfortable as the other three hotels. You know the so-called upholstery in a Mercedes? There you go, that’s a national trait.
I would not go back to the Hassler. The staff did not really, for the most part, have the skills to hold any kind of intelligent conversation in English. And, over and over again, when Gladys and I finally got across what we wanted to the staff, we got an argument from them. Maybe this too is a national trait, I don’t know, but it is not a good trait in hotel staff trying to cater to Americans.
Also, an issue of little absolute substance, but highly annoying to me: I finally figured out that they were charging me about $15 for a tiny little bottle of Sprite, I think of 20 cl. I of course immediately banned the purchase of Sprite, but this is just totally unnecessary and uncalled for. It made me highly suspicious of the hotel, to look for other small ways they were attempting to rip me off. I don’t need this while on vacation. Of course you expect to pay a huge, vast premium for something like a bottle of soda in any hotel, but why not 100 euros? Or 1,000 euros? In the shops around Piazza di Spagna, a one liter bottle of Sprite sold for one euro. So, they can charge what they like, but I will never ever go back to this hotel.
The location is very good, and the rooms were very nice, very comfortable. The concierge did a very good job for us. I am not sufficiently insane to attempt driving in Rome. The hotel sorted out car and driver for us on several occasions.
I don’t have a witty, snarky prize in mind. I will get back to you on that.