You know the advert: it’s the one about a well-known trip-booking search engine.
It shows a couple using a hand-held smart device to search hotels in Berlin. She’s got long dark blondish hair and a big smile. He’s got the beard and the dude ponytail. At some stage, they’re watching what appears to be 2014 World Cup coverage in their hotel room.
Already I’m confused. Why stay in your room to watch the World Cup when Berlin had public screenings on every street corner? Was there post-match sex in the offing? Were the mini-bar drinks on special offer? Was he worried about getting his ponytail yanked?
Then: more confusion. Close up on three hotel names in the website’s search bar shows three names: Hotel Flanell, Hotel Linnen and Das Stue.
Correct me if I’m wrong, but there is no Hotel Flanell in Berlin. At least not one that’s featured on any search engine outside the dark net. And frankly, who’d even call their hotel Flanell? It sounds like a place you’d go to wash your dirty feet with something your granny put in your Christmas stocking when you were five.
New search for Hotel Linnen? Not a direct hit, but try Linnen Inn or Aparthotel Linnen and you’ll find what you might be looking for: the Linnen café/bar/restaurant/rooms, self-described as a café with rooms in Prenzlauer Berg. But probably not the luxurious, dark wood establishment with endless corridors and soft carpeting that gets pretty much all the airspace in the advert. That long curved bar and the ambient lighting? I’ve seen that somewhere before. In fact, that’s my €10 glass of Riesling right there, on the photo.
That’s right: it’s hotel number three. Das Stue, just off Tiergarten, next to the Spanish Embassy, with four meter ceilings and four star prices. I suppose that if you’d paid to stay there, you might just want to get your money’s worth by lounging around on the bed all day watching TV. But it’s hardly the obvious choice for young people looking for a bargain.
Lessons to be learnt: Don’t believe everything you read on the internet and if you do, check your bank balance before you act on it.
Oh, and apparently Berlin West has the real as opposed to non-existent or misrepresented hotels. It also has the money to make sure that no one else gets a proper shot at luring the innocent punter off the boulevards?
I’m all for a bit of luxury, but the idea of Hotel Flanell suddenly sounds quite attractive.