A venture child of the Portuguese hotel extraordinaire chain SANA Hotels, the SANABerlin Hotel is a contemporary, stylish and plentiful option for those looking for uncomplicated stay in West Berlin.
It is not a special place in the manner that it is not a heritage 17th century palace, neither a full service 5 star hotel like its Portuguese siblings – Myriad by SANA Hotels in Lisbon and the SANA EPIC Algarve. Or even the uber luxurious EPIC SANA Luanda, currently being listed as the best hotel in the Angola’s capital. But who goes to those boring places nowadays anyway?! Especially if you are looking to spend most of your time exploring the city around you and are looking for a hotel to be easy, comfortable, functional, yet stylish, modern and with a fantastic breakfast.
This is where the Sana Berlin Hotel excels. No noise during the evening, the bed was firm, the room was spacious, the water hot and the most import thing of all…The breakfast is until 14h00 in the afternoon on the weekends.
Yes you read it right! The Sana Berlin Hotel offers it’s guests breakfast until 14hoo on the weekends!
I think is the real difference maker to other design options of Berlin as the Cosmo Berlin Mitte Hotel, the i31 Hotel Berlin Mitte or even the Hotel Otto Berlin. More so for the younger party going crowed who makes a habit of recovering from a night out on the town with a strong creamy latte and an endorphins booster made of apples beignets with chocolate sauce!!!!!
For those with more savoury tastes, the vast breakfast options are certainly not shy of a full 5 star breakfast and are constantly replenished to you and your hungry belly’s delight. I counted 6 kinds of cold cuts and the same assortment of hard and soft cheeses. Some even from local producers! Points to the Sana Berlin Hotel!
Stir fried vegetables,, maple cure bacon, home-made cakes, vigorous fruit bowls (including cherries – my all time favourite), white Bavarian sausages, rustic and white bread…. and Nutela!!!
Gosh, you can even get up for breakfast at 7:00, go for a walk and come back for a brunch at 13:00! how amazing is that.
The rooms at the Sana Berlin Hotel
I like the sleek black design the functional modernity of this place. This is the first impression I got when walking out of the super fast elevator at the 7th floor, where my room was located. The second big impression was the view from my room. Uau… A direct unimpeded view of the West Berlin skyline including the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church and the Europa Center ( the big building with the Mercedes symbol). It even has a little balcony, where you can step out into and admire the view!
Another little surprise was the champagne and chocolate cake that the newly appointed General Manager Fernando Carriço had prepared for me. Thank you very much! The room as well-appointed spaces with sober modern design being the key-note on the decoration. As you can see there is plenty of room around the bed, large floor to ceiling window and glossy panels which make for playful light reflections. The bathroom is a see through, with the mirror being a rounded silver gloss on the otherwise smoky colour glass. The best about it is the direct view of the city, which is even more interesting when you taking your morning shower (that’s right – no bathtub)!
Also the bathroom has plenty of space for you to place your toiletries and wash bag, although I think that Sana could do better with the amenities, principally the visual aspect of them. A design hotel deserves something a bit more stylish. The mattress was firm, but the pillows were a bit to stiff. I had no trouble sleeping, but I think that someone who would be used to a softer sleep could use with a little more fluffiness. The wi-fi signal was strong and with fast download speeds.
Just one more note for those who are a little more sensible about their privacy when sharing the room with a partner – there is a sliding door which closes either the shower or the toilet, so no chance for two people to use the bathroom at the same time. Also, the glass is a bit too much see through, with the person who is in the room being able to see (and hear) everything that the other is doing…
The Restaurant Nau at the Sana Berlin Hotel
The Sana Berlin Hotel’s Restaurant – Nau and has a Portuguese influenced menu based on local fresh ingredients. At least this is what it says on the Menu, but although the food was good in an overall evaluation, I think some of the flavours, textures and colours were lost in the translation to German.
Let me tell you, my dear readers, that me and my girlfriend had dinner at the Restaurant Nau on a Friday evening and we the only guest there for the duration of my meal. Weekend evenings shouldn’t be so troublesome for a hotel restaurant, but I saw it as a privilege. I had the Head Chef’s full attention for a two whole hours…
I choose the Lisboa menu, which consisted of five courses + one salmon and mango amuse-bouche !
Cream soup of watercress with cod brandade and crispy garlic
A good Portuguese start to dinner, but fortunately the cream soup was had a little too much cream. Even my girlfriend who loves cream said it was too creamy! The cod brandade was good, but missed a bit of real Portuguese cod taste and the crispy garlic gave it the sharp edge that the dish needed.
Salad of octopus and chanterelles with limes and coriander
Roasted, Braised or grilled octopus is a must in Portuguese cuisine and a good addition to the menu, but the chanterelles are just too overpowering for all the flavours of this dish. I would just get some fresh octopus, grill it and serve it olive oil and some roasted peepers! Simple and 100%Portuguese. Another thing that I don’t understand is the presence of the leaf of lettuce as decoration – a long time Portuguese cuisine syndrome that I have been fighting for years. With all the misses, I find it very amusing that this “tradition” managed to make it pass the German tastes. Nevertheless I ate everything and if the chef wants to keep this item, I would suggest to use a bit more of vinegar in the sauce to add some more tangyness to the octopus.
Homemade citron-basil-ice mousse
A very very good palate cleanser. Clean, fresh and light! Recommenced the Chef to make an ice-cream stand just with this sorbet. He would make a fortune in the Berlin hot Summer.
Grilled filet of pig with clams and wild asparagus
This is the dish I loved the most. A little bit of Portugal on a plate with the clams and the pork fillet, the little deep-fried mashed potatoes. Almost a revisited version of the south of Portugal’s favourite Surf&Turf dish – Carne de Porco à Alentejana. The pork was tender and juicy – cooked perfectly. I would have liked to see a bit more clams filling up the place, but Kudos to the chef for putting this together.
Gratin of biological camembert of goat with grilled apricot and apricot kernel honey
An interesting mash-up dessert with classical buddies Goat’s cheese, fruit compote and honey.
The Wine : Passaros 2012 – White Green Wine – A cuvee made from Alvarinho and Trajadura grapes, with notes from tropical fruits. A subtle wine with a fresh and long finish
To finish off this interesting experience a very big Portuguese smile from the Front Office Manager Claudia Ferreira and generous words of appreciation with a Northern Portuguese accent.
My opinion of the Sana Berlin Hotel
Cleanliness is a very big plus for the hotel, as all the surfaces in the corridors, room and lobby area were kept tidy. The sound prof windows make for a very quiet night of sleep, although I would recommend some softer pillows for more sensitive guests.
I think that it is very brave for the a Portuguese company to venture out into the Northern European Market, especially with a saturated market as Berlin, so Kudos for them. I can understand the idea to mix a necessary contemporary feel of a big European city hotel with the Portuguese heritage of the brand, but I think that it needs better execution. For example; all the staff need to wear the Portuguese Iron Cross as pin on their lapel, yet with the exception of Ms. Ferreira none of the other staff knew a single word of Portuguese. Also in the Restaurant Nau, in the midst of the modern design, there are small 10×15 frames with what seem to be old photos of Lisbon, where surely something more in vocative “Portugal of sense of place” could be found.I believe if you take the Portugal theme out of the equation, then the Sana Berlin Hotel would be just another urban establishment with a breakfast until 14h00.
The recently appointed General Manager Fernando Carriço has a tough job ahead of him, and I wish him all the luck in the world.
Disclaimer: I was a guest of Sana Berlin Hotel during my stay, and please rest assure that the complementary night and services did not affect my opinion or my views on the property. Rates from 135 € for the Standard Room with breakfast in which I stayed in.