TRAVEL - INTERVIEW
Tuesday, October 16, 2018
Julia Himburg, General Manager at Provocateur Berlin - Copyright Gekko Group
TRAVEL - INTERVIEW
by Beren Dere
Nowadays, to provide standard services, to offer ordinary rooms, and to attach a brass 'Restaurant' label to the entry door of the dining area is not enough to make your hotel different and attractive. Now, guests are looking for rustic buildings, vibrant location, cozy atmosphere and new experiences they can live. With its historic building and design details, Golden Phoenix, the Provocateur Bar, La Cave, and special Provocateur rooms that their concept can change with a single touch, the Provocateur Berlin offers its guests different experiences during their stay. I talked to Julia Himburg, General Manager at Provocateur Berlin, to learn more about Provocateur Hotel and Berlin.
Provocateur Berlin Deluxe Room - Copyright Gekko Group
Could you tell us about the Provocateur Berlin and the overall concept?
Provocateur is supposed to - as the name might already have revealed - provoke, surprise and stimulate at the same time. It is an epitome of burlesque elegance in the vibrant metropolis of Berlin: Provocateur promises the highest level of quality, service, and design. A touch of the exotic, a bit of glamor, a certain tendency to dependence and a trace of sex appeal. Or to put it simply: urban Berlin of today meets Paris in the 1920s. As a completely new hotel brand, the Member of Design HotelsTM causes sensation without exceeding the limits and is therefore unique to Berlin.
Where is the Provocateur Berlin located in? What are the advantages of being there?
Situated in Berlin’s City West in the neighbourhood of Berlin Wilmersdorf, Provocateur is located in an upcoming district. It is not far from Ku’damm and has good transport connections to reach all hotspots of the city.
Provocateur Berlin - Copyright Gekko Group
Could you tell us about the historic building that you are located in and its design details?
The building was built in 1911 by a pharmacist family and it was originally used as their residence. The family’s bedroom, living room, men’s and ladies’ room and parlor occupied the first floor. In the place where our bar, restaurant, and the blue salon currently are, in former times, a restaurant was being operated. However, the bowling alley from back then doesn’t exist anymore. In return, we celebrate the most legendary parties in our event room “La Cave”! After the second world war, when the ownership has already been passed on a few times, Martin Weidhaas remodelled the house and used it as a hotel for the first time. A function that has been maintained to this day since the opening of Provocateur in March 2017.
Provocateur Berlin Bellevue Room - Copyright Gekko Group
How many different types of rooms do you have that your guest could select? Could you tell us about the design details of your rooms?
We have 8 different types of rooms and suites at Provocateur. The smallest room (Petite) has a size of 15 sqm, whereas our largest suite (Maison Suite) is sized 65 sqm. All of our rooms have one thing in common: they promise quality, comfort, and design. They distinguish in their colour: some of them are designed in red shades, some in blue. Velvet fabrics, dark natural stone, and beautiful lighting elements are used by interior designer Saar Zafrir from Amsterdam to impart the rooms with this certain Provocateur feeling.
Provocateur Berlin Maison Suite - Copyright Gekko Group
What are the features of your rooms? Do they only have style differences or do they have distinctive features?
All rooms are equipped with sound speakers, a Nespresso machine, smart TV, free Wi-Fi, air conditioning, a rainforest shower, and the special Provocateur Mode, an experience that is fascinating guests. As soon as the room is switched to this mode, the whole atmosphere changes; the room is filled with sensual music and transformed by light installations. The rooms mostly differ in their size. The smaller ones have a Queen-size bed, the larger ones a King-size bed. There are further rooms that have a freestanding bathtub. The view is either to the city or our patio – our Maison Suite & Terrace Suite have a sky view. Some rooms also have a balcony, the Terrace Suite lives up to its name.
Provocateur Berlin Golden Phoenix - Copyright Gekko Group
Provocateur Berlin is host to Golden Phoenix. Could you tell us about Golden Phoenix and Chef The Duc Ngo?
Golden Phoenix combines traditional French finesse with the flavors of Chinese cuisine. As a partner of Gekko Group for many years, friend and creative chef, The Duc Ngo, who is known for his very innovative ideas, has created another concept for success at Golden Phoenix: “Always a balance, salty, sweet, bitter, and sour. This is very refined in Chinese cuisine.” The Chinese kitchen is in the blood of the Berlin creative boss; the mother is Vietnamese, the father is Chinese. Though, until the opening of Golden Phoenix, he did not run a Chinese restaurant. Therefore, this presented a new challenge, which he successfully adopted. For him, Chinese cuisine is the mother of all pan-Asian cuisines - specific, complex and traditional.
Provocateur Bar - Copyright Gekko Group
You have a bar that has been awarded by Mixology. Please tell us about your bar.
Yes! Provocateur Bar got awarded as "Hotel Bar of the Year" and "Bar Team of the Year" at Mixology Bar Awards 2019. We are really proud of this achievement. The drinks of Provocateur Bar make even the wildest. The drinks of Provocateur Bar make even the wildest of tigers purr like a kitty cat: Based on the award-winning Roomers Bar in Frankfurt, Provocateur Bar is the heart and soul of the hotel. With its burlesque atmosphere, the specifically conceived bar menu and the DJs’ beats, conditions for a way into the wee hours of the night are perfectly set.
Provocateur Berlin Event Room La Cave - Copyright Gekko Group
La Cave is another place that your guests can find in Provocateur Berlin. What type of event do you host in La Cave? What are the features of La Cave?
La Cave, the event room at Provocateur, can be found in the basement and gives an impressive feeling with its industrial style and brick walls. The combination of red velvet furnishings and open tubes and steal is thrilling. The event room is suitable for different types of events, as for example memorable get-togethers, vernissages or corporate gatherings. Not to forget that uncompromisingly high quality and perfect service are a matter of course for us. Absolutely, an insider tip.
Provocateur Berlin Chef The Duc Ngo - Copyright Gekko Group
What features of Provocateur Berlin sets it apart from other hotels in Berlin?
Provocateur is a totally new hotel brand - there has not been anything alike in Berlin before. It sets new standards, but yet it backs on reliable concepts and partnerships, e.g. with The Duc Ngo and Design HotelsTM. The overall concept speaks for itself and can’t be compared with other hotels in Berlin.
Provocateur Berlin Bar - Copyright Gekko Group
Please tell us about your services and amenities. How could your guests spend time at Provocateur Berlin?
As I have stated before, the Provocateur Mode in the rooms is a fascinating experience for our guests. In addition, Provocateur Bar and the restaurant Golden Phoenix on the ground level, are the perfect places to meet, enjoy and pass away the time. In summer, guests can relax in our green patio, a true hideaway in the metropolis Berlin.
Provocateur Berlin Lobby - Copyright Gekko Group
And when they are going out of the Provocateur Berlin and stepping into the streets of Ku’damm, what can they do?
For sure, there are all the famous sightseeing spots such as Ku’damm, Checkpoint Charlie, Reichstag, or the Brandenburger Tor. However, we suggest to also discover the neighbourhood with its small cafés and restaurants and recommend stores and places to our guests that we personally like and which are hopefully not crowded by tourists. Just pay us a visit and our host team will be happy to give advice.
Provocateur Berlin Event Room - Copyright Gekko Group
What kind of additional services do you offer for business travelers?
We do not have any meeting rooms, but as I have already mentioned, we have our event room La Cave. It is perfect for corporate gatherings and other business events for up to 120 persons. We offer catering if desired, free Wi-Fi is available in the whole hotel.
How can travelers make their individual or business/group reservations?
We have a reservation team that is happy to help with individual requests and group reservations.
Which is the top season for travelers who want to visit Berlin? What is the reason? What are the most famous attractions near you?
Metropolis Berlin is such a diverse city that it is worth visiting each season of the year. The nearest famous attraction is Ku’damm with all its highlights, but due to our location close to the underground station, all hot spots of the city are within easy reach.
Julia Himburg, General Manager at Provocateur Berlin - Copyright Gekko Group
If you have only one weekend in Berlin as a first-time visitor, in this limited time, what are the best things to do?
Depending on the weather I would stroll around Mitte and/or Wilmersdorf, walk through the small side streets, have coffee here and there and shop in small independent concept stores.
During summer a bike or boat tour along the Spree is a must. In winter I would prefer a spa day and visit Christmas markets in December flea market on weekends.
How do you describe Berlin in one sentence?
Karl Scheffler described Berlin as being doomed to evermore become, never to just be. I think that describes the city very well.
Thank you Julia for this enjoyable interview.