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Birthday party with friends
Birthday party with friends © Getty Images, Foto: Paul Bradbury

Concierge tips for exclusive birthday surprises

Where to find the perfect gift?

Whether you choose to celebrate your birthday in royal style in a classy café or prefer to dance the night away – Berlin has a range of unforgettable options available, perfect for any type of birthday celebration. But where to go in Berlin on this special day? To find out the best tips for your birthday outing in Berlin, from special gifts to unusual locations, we asked Lutz Schneider, Chief Concierge of The Westin Grand Berlin. And he will also tell you about a surprise for a unique Berlin experience, which you are not likely to forget on your birthday.

To start with: Who is Lutz Schneider?

Lutz Schneider, Concierge at the The Westin Grand Berlin
Lutz Schneider, Concierge at the The Westin Grand Berlin © The Westin Grand Berlin, Andrea Bishara

Lutz Schneider studied Southeast Asian Studies and began his career in 1988 at what was then the Grand Hotel Berlin. Lutz Schneider has accompanied the eventful history of The Westin Grand Berlin hotel in the role of concierge and was promoted to Chief Concierge in 1994. He has also been involved in the concierge association Les Clefs D’Or for over 25 years.

His passion is the city of Berlin – he loves the vast green areas, the spacious lakes and rivers and the history of the city. He also appreciates that the lively club and cultural scene has enabled Berlin to catch up with other major metropolitan cities.

Which three Berlin shops would you recommend to your guests for finding an exclusive gift?

Department store Galeries Lafayette in Berlin
Galeries Lafayette © visitBerlin, Foto: Günter Steffen

Above all, I recommend a company closely linked to the history of the city – the Königlich-Preußische-Porzellanmanufaktur KPM, located directly in the arcades of our hotel. Whether classically white or subtly decorated – if you are looking for beautiful porcelain treasures, this is the right place for you. For sweet gifts, the chocolate world of Rausch at Gendarmenmarkt is a paradise, and it has also been a traditional Berlin shop since 1918. You will find Berlin bears, the Brandenburg Gate and the Berlin TV Tower here - there are chocolate souvenirs and other delicacies as far as the eye can see!

For French lifestyle gift inspirations from fashion labels to delicacies, a stroll through the French Galeries Lafayette, diagonally opposite the Westin Grand Berlin, is a must. And for taking a break, a glass of champagne with the Plat du jour at the bar on the lower level is perfect.

Where can I order a personalised birthday cake at the last minute? Which cake shops and confectioneries are currently popular in Berlin?

Bithday cake with beeries
Bithday cake with beeries © Getty Images, Foto: Stefan Bettschen / EyeEm

You have discovered my weak spot: I am passionate about beautiful and tasty cakes, especially those from our own pâtisserie which I visit every day. Here, our confectioners produce a wide variety of cakes and tartlets, from New York cheesecakes to Sacher cakes, suitable for any occasion.

The cakes from Café Leysieffer on Friedrichstraße are also special, my favourite cake of theirs is the chocolaty ganache with raspberries. I also enjoy the divine fruitcake at Café Lenet on Torstraße, which is run by two young pastry chefs.

One of your guests would like to experience something special in Berlin on their birthday – what is your ultimate tip?

Tango dancing at the museum island
Tango night in Berlin - a couple dancing © visitBerlin, Foto: Günter Steffen

In summer, I recommend a dance course on the banks of the Spree at Museum Island. This is something very special. And my second tip is also musical: Clärchens Ballhaus is open all year round and offers a varied dance programme, with dance courses and dance evenings taking place here every day.

In which bar can I get cocktails specially mixed by real professionals and can book a VIP area for my birthday?

Cocktailbar
© Getty Images, Foto: gradyreese

You’ll not only find the longest golden couch in the city, but also a bar that can compete with locations in Paris, London or New York: The Liberate at Monbijouplatz. The cocktails as well as the terraces and the club or private lounges, which can be booked separately, are stylish and very special.

The Hotel Bar am Steinplatz has been awarded prizes on several occasions, most recently winning the Bar Menu of the Year 2019 award, and is one of my favourites. Bar Manager Christian Gentemann will conjure up wonderful creations for you! And last but not least: our Relish Hotel Bar is the only bar in Berlin that offers the famous Sporer punch from Salzburg, either as a very classic orange punch during the winter or chilled in a berry cocktail variant.  

It’s your guest’s birthday: What surprise does your hotel have in store for them?

Berliner Mauerspecht 1989
© Foto: Gerhard Buchholz

Mauerspechte ergattert Souvenir der Berliner Mauer

s a birthday surprise, we like to invite our guests to take part in a very special activity: To peck at the Berlin Wall. We own an original wall segment that once divided Berlin into two halves. Equipped with a hammer and chisel, safety goggles and helmet, our guests become wall peckers - just like the people at the legendary fall of the Berlin Wall thirty years ago. The reward is your own little piece of history that can be taken home as a souvenir.

Personal question to the concierge:
What birthday surprise for a hotel guest will you never forget?

Birthday party in the office
Birthday party in the office © Getty Images, Foto: Hero Images

A few years ago, three ladies from the Netherlands prepared a very special surprise for their girlfriend’s 50th birthday. With the permission of our hotel manager, they put on our service uniforms and assisted their girlfriend when she arrived - as a doorman, at the reception desk and as a porter. The girlfriend only realized the successful surprise when she walked into her room.