Face to Face with the Grand Hostel Berlin Tempelhofer Ufer 14 | 10963 Berlin | +49 (0)30 2 00 94 45 – 0 When I walked up that short 100 metres from the U1-metro station Möckernbrücke to the Grand Hostel I passed the Cafè “Grand Ma’s”. At that time I didn’t know that it was the hostel’s restaurant where they mainly serve breakfast. I only thought that I would love to step in for a coffee because it looked so incredibly cosy and inviting. Have a look for yourself: I got my coffee a couple of minutes later when I arrived at the Grand Hostel itself, delighted and thrilled. What a beautiful building! One of these really grand (!) houses built before the turn of last century. Stunning! My enthusiasm was not only a thing at first sight, I kept it throughout my visit at the hostel and even took it back home with me. The first thing you notice when you enter the hall are all the awards the back of the reception desk is decorated with. The Grand Hostel has already received a huge number of prizes and it will keep on getting even more, that’s for sure. The last one was given to them only a few days ago: the 2016 Certificate of Excellence by Tripadvisor. Amazing! Moreover, the Grand Hostel has been referred to as the “best hostel in Germany” and “the most popular hostel in Berlin”. No one doubts that after recognising an occupancy of 96,2 % in 2015. That is the most desperate out of reach dream of every ho(s)teliers. When I used to work for a large hotel chain 20 years ago, we did a really great job with an occupancy rate of 72 % – but here we speak of even 25 % more, that is unbelievably well done! All the praising (and prizing) is 100% comprehensible. The entire team of the hostel is like one big family. And that’s exactly how they treat their guests – like family members. When a guest arrives at the Grand Hostel he is seated at a wonderful long table first: Here the check-in is done, very relaxed and most comfortable for anyone just arriving. For me too :-)! And from here you have this lovely view into the next room, which is the library and bar: Immediately one has this combination of feelings: the homiest, most cosy feeling of coming home to Grandma and beeing very, very welcome and at the same time a sort of noble, almost luxurious feeling because of the grand building. Spacious, generous rooms with high ceilings and a wonderful interior design, which is thoroughly thought out and carefully chosen in every single detail. Only one example for such a detail: in the Grand Hostel they still have around 15 so called “oven tons” (left). In former times, they belonged to the heating system – and they still do today. Nowadays of course, the staff does not have to shovel coal deep down in the cellar any longer, this is done electrically. But the oven tons are still heating the rooms and they are tenderly kept in shape and cared for. Last but not least, they are an absolutely unique eye-catcher – at least I have never seen such tons before, except a similar construction in an old French castle. This exceptional attention to details continues when it comes to the rooms. They are all furnished and equipped differently. One of the owners (you could also say one of the Jörgs because both owners are called Jörg, one of them J. Lützenkirchen and the other one J. Pflugbeil) has a faible for antique furniture and every now and then he comes along with a new “old piece” that needs to find a nice place somewhere in the grand house. That’s how such a beautiful old cabinet for instance gets into a double room: Not only the doubles, also the dorms are very comfortably furnished. There are different paintings on the wall and – of course – oven tons. And there are no bunk beds at all in the Grand Hostel, that also makes a huge difference:
Another outstanding offer: the activity plan the Grand Hostel team presents it’s guests. Here again, they understand themselves as a family together with their guests. They even offer a “Grand Family Dinner” and all the other activities focus on common, shared experiences as well:
On my visits to the hostels I always bring along a few questions. The Grand Hostel’s answer to “What song represents your hostel best?” fits perfectly into everything I experienced at this lovely place so far. First thing I noticed, they wanted to decide for a song as a TEAM and then they chose “All together now” by “THE FARM”. The story is about the First World War, when at christmas time soldiers belonging to hostile parties voluntarily agreed on a “christmas truce” (that was NOT a military order!). They declared a certain region to a neutral zone and there, they peacefully celebrated christmas together. The Grand Hostel team considers “All together now” a very current issue and would love to see that the world sort of acts as one big hostel. Because in a hostel, there are day by day many different nations all together peacefully talking, laughing, having drinks and diner etc. If this fantastic idea of our world being one big hostel ever works out, we of course need as great and perfect hosts as the Grand Hostel has to offer. The team is great, the bosses (the “Jörgs” – remember) are great and together they even won a German Television Show called “Mein himmlisches Hotel” meaning “My heavenly hotel”. In this show there are 4 different hotels judging each other’s qualities in various respects (service, gentleness, tidiness, comfort factor and many more). Therefore, all participating parties have to stay the night at each competitors’ place. For the Berlin region there were 3 hotels and 1 hostel taking part in the TV accompanied competition. And that one (Grand :-)) hostel was (and still is) the proud winner – that proves the “Grand Hostels” name is absolutely justified. Congratulations! Last but not least I would like to thank the entire Grand Hostel team for a very nice welcome and especially Nina Geserick and Anika Felix for entertaining, efficient and fruitful talks during my visit. They know and appreciate our software very well. At the same time they have clever suggestions for improvement and together we worked out good ideas for the future. For example, doing ASSD training sessions in Berlin and establishing a sort of ASSD expertise circle within all the Berlin hostels. A huge lot to look forward to :-)! GOODBYE to a GRAND FAMILY – see you soon!