In 1872, Berthold Kempinski and his wife opened a specialised wine shop called M. Kempinski & Co. in Wroclaw, Poland. With the business philosophy of “half portion at half price”, Kempinski made luxury available to everyone and became a success.
Following the death of Berthold Kempinski in 1910, his son-in-law Richard Unger took over the business. In 1926, Unger followed the call to “Go West” and opened a second shop on the corner of Kurfuerstendamm and Fasanenstraße: the restaurant and delicacy shop Kempinski. At the time, Charlottenburg was a separate city, where more and more artists settled and theatres and picture palaces were opened.
The legendary Kempinski Restaurant on the corner of Kurfuerstendamm and Fasanenstraße (1928)
In 1939, Richard Unger fled to the USA, and the Kempinski company was completely destroyed. After the end of World War II, the grandson of Berthold Kempinski, Dr Friedrich Unger, returned to Berlin. He wanted to pick up where it left off: on Kurfuerstendamm.
In February 1951, the foundation stone was laid for the first Kempinski Hotel, which threw the city into a state of optimism. The people identified themselves with the Kempinski brand and the hotel became a meeting place for locals and international high society. Guests included Ava Gardner, John Wayne, Billy Wilder, Peter Ustinov, Kirk Douglas and Mick Jagger, as well as politicians of the first hour – such as Ludwig Erhard, Willy Brandt and Theodor Heuss.
The facade of the Hotel, 1950s
The large 1,300 sq m (area) hotel built by the Berlin architects Paul Schwebes and Hans Schossberger is now a landmarked building.
As of December 2017, we have renamed ourselves Hotel Bristol Berlin, and we celebrated the successful completion of the lobby renovations and the inauguration of the Bristol Café. We see our future as an independent hotel with the highest service standards. To this day, we still feel connected to our roots.