After a little Italian interlude, I want to whisk you away to another wonderfully vegan-friendly city: Berlin. You probably know that Berlin is pretty much a vegan mecca. However, this can come as somewhat of a surprise, especially when you think of the typically meat/sausage-heavy diet associated with traditional German cuisine. I headed off to the Big B in search of the best vegan food, to really get a feel of the city, and of course, to find out where a travelling vegan can lay her head for a couple of nights.
The Almodóvar hotel is located in the über cool area of Friedrichshain, which is insanely vegan-friendly. I mean, seriously vegan-friendly. The hotel is a beautiful vegetarian, organic design hotel, and it is a mix of cool, urban chic, with a luxury edge. Light and spacious, throughout, there is a sense of calm right from the reception, something you don’t often experience in a city hotel.
The foyer was quite large, with a couple of seating areas, and a great selection of vegan recipe books and other interesting items. I really like the feeling of open space in hotels; that way if you’re waiting for a taxi or a friend you don’t feel awkward, especially if there’s a queue for reception.
The restaurant, Bistrot Bardot, is located just off the main reception area and I had my lunch here when I arrived, as my room wasn’t quite ready. Although a vegetarian restaurant, there are loads of vegan option. I’ve started feeling a little wary of vegetarian places, as some of them don’t even offer vegan meals (or just poor options), which is a real shame. Of course, there are lots of places that serve wonderful vegan food, but it’s something to be aware of and think about.
When I sat down for my meal, I was so hungry after skipping breakfast (naughty) and catching an early flight. So, I was really ready to eat. A LOT. The menu was impressive, and what was so nice to see was the number of traditional German and even Swiss food, albeit veganised. As my Grannie is German, I grew up eating lots of German-style food, especially at Christmas, but it’s something I haven’t really experienced much as a vegan.
After a little dithering, I opted for the Zürcher Geschnetzeltes (clearly labelled vegan), Bardot’s homage to Swiss cuisine – fried tofu, soy schnitzel with tomatoes, mushrooms and bell peppers strips in a cream sauce served with rosemary potatoes. It was delicious, hearty, filling and exactly the kind of meal you need after hours of travelling. I washed it down with a coffee, and was then happy to find out that my room was ready.
I was given my room number and headed up to find it. I was expecting a double room Superior Suite, so you can imagine my surprise and excitement when I discovered I was staying in the Penthouse Suite!
As you can see from the photographs, it was lovely and full of huge windows which allowed a great deal of natural light into the space. I love natural light, I hate dim, dark rooms that lack a proper well-lit window, so this was perfect.
Not only was there a lot of space (45m2 to be precise) there was a full terrace which went the length of the suite, with a lovely table and chairs area to sit and admire the Berlin rooftops.
In contrast with the white and bright theme of the main suite, the bathroom was dark and modern – now, I love black bathrooms, I think they are so stylish, and this one was design heaven. Again, it was a great size, a large mirror for doing hair and make-up and a huge pressure shower. The basin soap and the shower gel/shampoo were both vegan and cruelty-free.
However, my favourite element of the suite was the fact it had its own sauna. Yes. A private sauna. How amazing is that?
The whole penthouse space gave off a really relaxing vibe, unusual for city life. You kind of feel away from other people in the hotel due to the amount of space which is yours, especially as the sleeping area is at the other side of the suite, so you don’t hear any hustle and bustle from other guests.
After a long day of exploring Berlin, what better way to unwind than in your own private sauna before a long, hot shower and snuggling into bed to read and watch the flames?
I had heard great things about the breakfast at The Almodóvar Hotel, so I was really looking forward to trying it out. And wow. Not only were there lots of vegan options, most of the breakfast items were vegan. There was a long table in the centre of the room with a big ‘Vegan’ sign – hooray! There was a smaller table that had a few cheeses and eggs for those who wanted a vegetarian breakfast, but it was quite cool to see that most people stuck to the vegan table.
Breakfast at hotels can be tricky for the travelling vegan. And if you’re anything like me, you prefer something savoury that just fruit and bread. Well, you won’t be disappointed with the savoury array of goodies, plus plenty of sweet treats too! Vegan cakes, muffins, bircher musli…
I was thrilled with the breakfast, and this was the first time as a vegan I’d had a special breakfast rather than a ‘fruit, bread and coffee make-do’ situation. Not only was there a selection of cold cut vegan meats (like chorizo, and smoked tofu), there was also homemade vegan brie, an assortment of hummus, scrambled tofu and of course currywurst!
My favourite thing at breakfast, however, was the potato salad. Every Christmas Eve my family has German potato salad, carrot salad and frankfurters. Now obviously when I was younger I had vegetarian sausages with this. Since going vegan I now make my own vegan versions of these salads, and as nice as they are, they just aren’t the same as my Grannie’s or my Mum’s. I had gotten used to the fact I’d never taste the German-style salads exactly as I remembered them, until I tried The Almodóvar’s potato salad. Good grief, I literally had one bite and smiled so much I’m sure people thought I was a little mad.
It was just how I remembered it – except there was one thing different, it was vegan. I just wish I could have the recipe for it!
I found the staff at the Almodóvar really friendly and helpful, especially when giving me advice as to getting to places, timings for travelling to the airport and just general assistance.
There is also a stunning rooftop spa where you can enjoy massages and other wellness treatments, access to a sauna and two sun terraces.
Here are some interesting facts about the hotel:
- None of the rooms have refrigerators in alignment with The Almodóvar’s sustainable values
- Every room does have a yoga mat so you can stretch and practice at your leisure
- All of the electricity comes from renewable sources
- All cleaning agents used are also organic and environmentally-friendly
- All printed material is from a sustainable and environmentally-friendly printers
If you’re looking for an eco-chic, design hotel that not only understands veganism, but actively embraces it, then I really can’t recommend The Almodóvar Hotel enough. For an added bit of luxury, book in to the Penthouse Suite.
Rooms start at €96 for a standard single room.
Book your Berlin city break at The Aldomóvar Hotel here.