A luxury skyscraper hotel, Germany's first Waldorf
Astoria, opened Thursday in Berlin, where swelling tourist numbers
have set off a hotel building boom at every price point.
The U.S. corporate owner said its penthouse suite, which costs $15,880 (12,000 euros) a night, is the highest hotel room in the mainly low-rise German capital. It is the city's 26th five-star hotel.
The 31-storey tower is the centrepiece of a project to revive an area dominated by shabby 1960s architecture close to the city's Zoo railway station and a partly destroyed church preserved as a war memorial.
As Berlin's reputation for being arty, laidback and cheap has grown, so have the number of tourists. The city's top attractions are its Holocaust and Berlin Wall memorials as well as a range of world-class museums.
In the first 10 months of last year, 3.5 million foreign visitors stayed in the city, up 13 per cent annually. Full-year figures are not yet available. Many budget hotels from 50 euros a night have also been recently built by major chains.
The Waldorf Astoria, which has 232 rooms and is modelled on its New York counterpart, had accepted limited numbers of guests for four weeks while staff trained, but has now gone into full service, chief executive Friedrich Niemann told reporters.
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