The hotel is an ideal base for exploring the underrated Potsdam area

Sitting handsomely on a charming stretch of water that once signified the southwestern extremes of the Berlin Wall, Matthew Ogborn enjoys an unexpected delight near the famous Studio Babelsberg in Potsdam, Germany.

When I was first emailed an itinerary for a film press trip to Potsdam, just outside of Berlin, I was not expecting accommodation to write home about. After all, the focus of my four days in Germany was the legendary Studio Babelsberg, where the likes of Metropolis and a host of recent Hollywood blockbusters have been filmed. However when the taxi dropped my partner and I off outside the Avendi Hotel am Griebnitzsee, I had an inkling it would cap off wonderfully what promised to be a fascinating jaunt.

Overlooking the water that weaves its way in and out of this hospitable southwestern slice of outer Berlin, the warm welcome at reception in the late evening was a classy sign of things to come - the only caveat being the confusing room key lock system that has no doubt tripped up many more besides us.

Potsdam hotel review - bedroomThe rooms have comfortable beds and impressive bathrooms
Vision Photos

The receptionist showed us once or twice how it was supposed to work and pointed us to our room in the perfectly acceptable block over the other side of the road. After a couple of failed attempts and a few curse words, we finally got the knack and were treated to a spacious room backing onto the quiet local railway station.

With the hotel a regular stop on the conference circuit, our particular room resembled a typical conference hotel room. Huge windows looked out over the railway station at the back, the light easily shut out with the more than adequate curtains swept across. There were no added trinkets to make it stand out from the norm, but the roomy feel, comfortable beds and impressive bathroom ensured it would be a worthwhile base for the trip.

If you book a room in the part of the hotel that perches over the water, then the views give it an added wow factor that elevates it above the competition in this stretch of Potsdam. However, what makes it stand out massively from the crowd is the excellent food and drink options both inside and surrounding the hotel.

Potsdam hotel review - terrasseHave breakfast on the terrasse overlooking the lake

After unpacking, we headed out to a lovely beer garden next door with lights strung around the trees - one of three bars that were a stone's throw, the other two part of the homely Griebnitzsee railway station itself. A freshly cooked bratwurst and stein of sumptuous local lager later we were ready for bed.

The next morning, we walked underneath the road through a nifty tunnel to the main part of the hotel overlooking the water for breakfast. The weather was springtime at its most glorious, unseasonably warm temperatures meaning that our first meal of the day was served on the captivating outside area that meant we could see rowing crews of all ages going through their paces on the water.

A comprehensive spread of cooked and continental fare was laid on for our pleasure, the extremely attentive staff ensuring we had a fresh pot of steaming coffee ready on our return from the buffet section. Cereals, pastries, cold cheese and meats, together with the eclectic selection of hot food meant we were already smacking our lips ready for the second breakfast 24 hours later!

Potsdam hotel review - film starsPhotos of film stars adorn the walls
WTG / Matthew Ogborn

Unsure of where to go for the first part of our trip, the staff were quick and kind enough to show us the local lay of the land. This, after I had taken a wander round the main part of the hotel, which is adorned with various blown-up photos of film stars past and present together with an intriguing array of camera equipment from down the years to whet my appetite for my Studio Babelsberg visit. Over the course of the next few days, we occasionally sat outside for drinks and heard good things about the quality of the lunches and dinners from fellow guests and visitors.

Back in the room, I was able to spread my work notes over a large table, while there were plenty of comfortable seats to relax in after a day exploring the area. Ahead of the evening meal, the shower hit the spot and then some, the steaming water and acres of space a pleasant change from the usual cramped showers of hotel rooms I have frequented down the years. What with Studio Babelsberg, fun Filmpark Babelsberg, Villa Schöningen and a host of other interesting places to see, you are spoilt for choice over the course of a long weekend. From what I could see, there appears to be no better place to base yourself in the hugely underrated Potsdam area.

Avendi Hotel am Griebnitzsee, Potsdam
Rudolf-Breitscheid-Strasse 190-192
14482 Potsdam
Brandenburg, Germany
Tel: +49 (0331) 70910.
Prices: Standard double room starts from €115, including buffet breakfast.

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