Daily Archives: 1 March 2014

Insiders: Dominic Hofer from Soho House Berlin

Cute photos Dominic! You look like you have a lot of fun. So, what is your role at Soho House? I’m a Director for International Sales & Relations. What does that involve? I basically bring the Houses and creative companies together to make them one! What is the most challenging aspect of the job? The business runs 24/7, it never sleeps. All of our Houses are very individual, so it is a great opportunity and challenge to find the right solution for our guests. What does Soho House offer that others don’t? We are a private members club, some of the clubs have a boutique hotel attached. All of our Houses have their own character. However, which ever club you’re at, you always feel like you’re coming home. Where can we find you at a midnight on a Saturday night? Simple! I’m ordering hazelnut Schnapps after a great dinner. Getting ready for trouble. GIMME MORE! I love to hunt for chickens in clubs – as you obviously can see from the photo above :) Where can we find you at midday on a Sunday? Mostly in my amazing apartment. I love to spend the Sunday home doing pretty normal things. After a very demanding week full of energy and glamour and fun, I love to clean and have a cup of tea in my hand. I always have music and fragrant candles on. If a celebrity guest asked you for a club recommendation where would you suggest? It always depends. I would suggest Chalet, as it is a very nice location especially in summer times. Winter is Watergate time. I love to see the frozen river spree and the club scene from one point. Is any client’s request ever impossible? We have a YES! YES! YES! philosophy. The word NO does not exist. What was the most glamorous thing you did last year? Spending time with my best friend in Budapest.  Britney Spears live in Vegas on NYE.  And celebrating Christmas, with my family, of course. What has been the highlight of your role so far? I’ve never had so many lucky moments with amazing smiles on guests’ faces. This makes me feel very blessed.

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HOW BERLINAGENTEN INVENTED THE GASTRO-RALLYE

Food can make or a break a visit to a new city. But how do you find the rare gems, the temples of gastronomy, the restaurants of the moment that crackle with an electric atmosphere? Well, you could always look online. However, chances are you’ll find a restaurant with good reviews but on arrival you find the waitress getting drunk on her own tears of boredom in an empty restaurant because the critiques were from 2011 before that regrettable food poisoning epidemic.

Or you spend hours traipsing around aimlessly looking into restaurant windows trying to decide on where to go, then by the time you make your decision you can’t get a table. Even worse, you consult your guide book and find yourself in a restaurant full of tourists wearing bum bags and baggy track pants complaining loudly that the food is better back home.

It was 10 years ago that Henrik started Berlinagenten after coming up with a very unique idea – the Gastro-Rallye. The idea being guests get to sample between three and four of Berlin’s finest restaurants in a one night. At each hand picked restaurant, you not only get to experience a different course but you also get pick on a different scene, a different vibe with the guarantee of fabulous food and atmosphere.

What makes it so special is your personal guide. We pride ourselves on hiring well-informed guides with big personalities. You will walk off each course between restaurants as your guide gives you an insight into the local area, as well as fabulous insider tips that will make your stay all the more special.

Due to Berlinagenten‘s contract with Visit Berlin, more than 1500 journalists have been on a Gastro-Rallye and we are constantly covered in print and on TV. Our clients include jet setters from New York’s upper East side, Hollywood types, corporates, bonding family groups, loved up couples, and everyone else in between. So it is no wonder that Berlinagenten has exported the concept to other destinations outside Germany.

Check out the Berlinagenten Tour Shop for more information.

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Red Carpet … Henrik’s world

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In pursuit of the highest ideal of red carpet partying, our fearless leader Henrik will go to extreme lengths to make sure he knows the hip and happening of Berlin.

  • Berlin is always hot-to-trot but this was one, very naughty evening, even for us! First stop was Playboy night at The Pearl. There was no sign of Hugh Hefner is his dressing gown but there was copious amounts of flesh on display as Playboy Bunnies strode around, as well as burlesque performances. Next, we went to Insomnia, the infamous fetish and sex club at Templehof. Dominique, the owner of the club and Germany’s foremost dominatrix, had invited us to her birthday party! How could we possibly refuse a dominia without getting a severe spanking? We stripped down to the bare minimal and danced the night away, as people all around us were getting down and dirty. Yes, that means exactly what you think it means!

 

  • Berlinale always means parties, premiers and star spotting! Eventually, all the red carpets blur into one dazzling red rug, the size of Berlin! Soho House was the epicenter of everything, as usual. The Oscar nominated ‘American Hustle After Party’ took place in the Soho House basement with stars Bradley Cooper, Christian Bale, Tilda Swinton, Ralph Fiennes, and Topmodel Toni Garrn in attendance. Soho House also made the most of their fabulous new loft spaces for the party after the premier of Monuments Men, as A-listers George Clooney, John Goodman, Cate Blanchett, Bill Murray, Matt Damon attended. Rumour has it that George Clooney was seen trying to get into the Olympic Fruits party but we can neither confirm or deny this.
  • Kreuzberg gets trendier and trendier, by the day. The once trashy area is now turning into the place to go five-star bar hopping. Offering some high camp glam is the PrinzipalBerlinagenten went to the opening party. Like the best bars in Berlin, there is no sign. However once you enter into the long, thin bar, it’s like stepping back into the roaring twenties.  There are two floors, upstairs is a fabulous bar, with a burlesque acts including a girl on a cloud swing high above the patrons heads as the uber cool bar staff, the girls in corsets, the boys in suits made old school cocktails. We loved the make-up table downstairs, so if you’re looking a little rough you canready to take on the night once again.
  • It was the opening that the entire city wanted to get invited to – 25 hours launching their fabulous new hotel – 25 hours Bikini Berlin! They didn’t disappoint with a two-day non-stop party with over 3000 invited guests coming to check out the new hotel. The whole building was made into a party space as the media, hotel and hospitality industry, local celebs and hardcore party people invaded every floor. Every available space was turned into a bar, dance-floor or food station, including an oyster bar, a falafel station, a dessert bar, as well as the 25 Hours signature Neni restaurant, turning out delicious food.There were DJ’s rocking dance floor in the sky sauna, drinks in the corridors and in the bedrooms, where we were encouraged to test out the beds! Most of the action took place in the Monkey Bar, which has in just weeks, cemented itself as the bar to be seen at in Berlin. With performers roaming around the hotel, fire jugglers and fire works, dancing until sunset, the 25 hours Bikini Berlin have set the bar pretty high for the party of the year. For more photos click here

     

     

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Global destination: Yangon, Burma

If there’s one place that you simply must visit before its on everybody radar, it is Yangon (once known as Mynamar), the capital of Burma. Romantic, historic and now peaceful, Yangon is the top emerging Asian destination of the moment. Once upon a time it was known as the Pearl of South East Asia but after decades of turmoil, the country was closed to the West.  Now it’s reclaiming its crown. Still, the lack of tourists is palatable, you really feel as if you’re one of the first people to visit and discover the incredible number of colonial buildings and fairy tale Buddhist shrines, such as the Shwedagon Pagoda, whose golden spire dominates the skyline.

After seeing how mass cheap tourism affected their neighbouring counties, Yangon has very much targeted high-end travellers. We stayed in three five stars hotel to check out the range on offer. First off, we visited Governors Residence, part of the Orient Express group. Next, we moved to Hotel Strand, built by the Sarkie Brothers hotels in 1901, during the same period they were redefining luxury hotels with Raffles in Singapore and The Oriental in Penang. Finally, it was onto the first big five star hotel of Yangon Shangri La.

For all the beauty and luxury, what we will remember will be the abundant, high quality food. A sophisticated, highly original food culture exists incorporating British, Indian, Chinese, and Thai to make a fresh Burmese mix. Whether that’s buying from hawkers selling a fragrant noodle soup called Thoke for 50c at the food markets, or at the top end colonial era restaurants such as Monsoon Myanmar, or, the recently-opened luxurious Water Library in a colonial mansion. Other favourites include the hotspots for expats Union Restaurant or Le Planteur. Meanwhile, a perfect example of where Yangon is heading is the Bar Boon Dutch Deli and Expresso Bar, which expresses the cool trendy European deli á la NY style.

Top tip: Make a difference while you shop at the Helping Hands Loft Fashion & Accessories

This fair trade shop that opened in early 2012 and carries a variety of accessories, gifts and fashion whose proceeds directly benefit Myanmar artisans whose work supports local initiatives such as healthcare, housing and education. 85-87 Thinbyu Road

 

 

 

 

The Scene meets Hotel Am Steinplatz

Since the fall of the Wall, it has been the trendy districts Mitte and Prinzelauer Berg in the former East Berlin that have stolen the lime light from the more established, yet ultimately more glamorous West Berlin. Not any more, now the western half of the city is taking its rightful place as the place to stay when visiting Berlin, particularly in the luxury market.

We are totally in love with the Hotel Am Steinplatz  in the elegant residential area around Charlottenburg’s Savigny-Platz. This delightful art deco classic was designed by August Endell, who is also the originator of Berlin’s famous Hackesche Hoefe in 1907. The history of Hotel Am Steinplatz is incredible – famous names such as Vladimir Nabokov, Zarah Leander, Heinrich Böll, Günter Grass, as well as film stars like Brigitte Bardot and Romy Schneider have passed through this hotel.

Now Hotel Am Steinplatz has been given a total refurbishment and becomes the first German hotel in Marriott Hotel’s exclusive Autograph Collection. The hotel includes 84 stylish guestrooms and three suites on six floors. Other features are an exclusive spa on the top floors of the hotel, a fitness room overlooking Berlin.

Berlinagenten are delighted to include Restaurant Am Steinplatz on our Gastro-Rallye West tour. The restaurant pays homage to its past by creating classic Berlin dishes conceived by Michelin-starred chef, Stefan Hartmann, while offering a fresh, new interpretation of German cuisine. This philosophy is also reflected in Bar am Steinplatz, which offers classic cocktails, as well as its own unique recipes using spirits produced in Berlin.

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Berlinagenten on tour – Wella Japan rocks Berlin

Wella Japan have been bringing their clients to their headquarters in Darmstadt, Germany for years before taking them to London for a spot of trend hunting. But this year, they had got word that if you want to go cool hunting then it’s Berlin you should be visiting. Naturally it was Berlinagenten, they contacted to find out what is hot and happening in the city.

Berlinagenten started working on the project in August last year. It involved putting together a programme for 50 people. Four guides took the groups all over the city taking them to the coolest neighbhourhoods, bars, restaurants, shops and arts spaces. We organised behind the scenes visits to creative companies to inspire our clients imaginations, e.g. ic!berlin, Marcellvonberlin, Platoon, Lumas and Tausche. Each group was given a mission to capture on digital cameras, the most creative elements of the neighbourhood they were visiting.

After a few hours rest and some serious pimping up, our Japanese guests looked like superstars as we took them to Soho House for a banquet dinner. Each group presented their photographs and interpretations of what makes Berlin the coolest city in the world right now, to the rest of the touring party. Berlinagenten has converted another 50 people into Berlinophiles!

To find out more about Berlinagenten’s incentive and conference programme, click here.

Why fruit is the new rock’n’roll!

February sees Berlin host Berlinale, one of the world’s premier film festivals. However in the same week, it is also home to the world’s biggest fruit conference Fruit Logistica, with 58,000 additional guests visiting the city. Okay, not so glam but certainly a lot more fruity! For the second year running Berlinagenten worked with Olympic Fruit, a leading international fruit distributor out of the Netherlands, to organise a glamorous night that is now firmly in place on the international fruit industry’s calendar. After last year’s gala dinner, our client was inundated with requests from international fruiters to join.

First, Berlinagenten organized a site inspection to an innovative acquaponic urban farming project in West Berlin, where vegetables and fish are grown hydroponically in shipping containers. Then, it was onto a candlelit gala dinner at Soho House. The 60 guests from 11 different countries walked the same red carpet as George Clooney, who was staying at Soho House. Our guests got to experience a champagne reception, a candle lit dinner, as they networked and exchanged contact details between causes. Our clients are thrilled that their event has become ‘the’ gala dinner to get invited to at Fruit Logistica. The very next night, Berlinagenten got fruity all over again.This time, our clients JimboFresh from Spain were entertaining clients and guests. They were the first to try out our super new luxurious Gastro Rallye City West route. With so many companies in town, JimboFresh wanted to get noticed. Berlinagenten organized for the group to get VIP access to The Pearl Nightclub. This included walking straight to the front of the very busy queue and then being escorted to their very own VIP section. The final touch was when the music in the club stopped and our group had the spotlight trained upon them as a troupe of 12 performed a special ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ act before the group celebrated a successful trade fair. With so many of their industry colleagues just beyond the rope, they felt like the Hollywood stars of the fruit industry!

 

To find out more about Berlinagenten’s incentive and conference programme, click here.