WILMINA HOTEL AND LOVIS RESTAURANT — HISTORIC ARCHITECTURE, SEASONAL VEGETABLES AND A GOOD NIGHT’S SLEEP
As soon as you enter the second courtyard on Kantstraße 79, it suddenly gets quiet, cool and almost…sacred. From the entrance, a path winds its way towards a building: on the left is a planted wild garden, on the right a patch of abandoned land that has been completely reclaimed by nature. At the end is the entrance to what is now the Wilmina Hotel. It was once the Charlottenburg women’s prison whose 19th century site remains as a listed building. The first courtyard leads to the prison entrance which now serves as the main hall of Lovis Restaurant. The building facing the street is the former district court which has twice served as the venue for Amtsalon, a popup-slash-art-fair bringing together Berlin galleries. The concept, along with the transformation of the site itself, is the work of architects Grüntuch Ernst, who have managed to create a unique place without concealing the buildings’ occasionally dark history (during the Second World War, women resistance fighters were imprisoned there). Instead, the past is ever-present but never overwhelmingly so. The hotel rooms are encased ;in appropriately thick walls where you can sleep under dried flower arrangements in beds so comfortable that it’s no surprise that the hotel tested dozens of mattresses before choosing the perfect one. Everything is tasteful and reverent, unostentatious yet full of soul – something hotels free of the burden of history rarely achieve.
The hotel restaurant, for instance, feels like a restaurant that happens to be by a hotel. Its location allows you to dine without going through the hotel itself, giving you a feeling of absolute privacy. When you enter the bedrooms, your body feels ready to relax: after a shower you’ll want to go to bed with a book and never get up again – unless it’s to pay a visit to the sauna or get some food, that is. If it’s the latter, you’ll be well catered for at Lovis. Chef Sophia Rudolph (who you might know from Panama) serves consistent contemporary German cuisine. The focus here is on seasonal and regional vegetables – and that includes the breakfast, which is served in a special little nook exclusive to hotel guests. You’ll be served the likes of cheese from the Blomeyer’s Käse shop around the corner. Just another reason for a staycation out west – a place that lends itself perfectly to a break from big city life.
Text: Hilka Dirks / Photos: Robert Rieger / Credit: Wilmina