Home News Latest News 196+ forum Munich: Hotel Wilmina in Berlin is the winner of the “Hotel Property Award 2022”/A former women’s prison has become a refuge
Latest News • 2022-10-07

196+ forum Munich: Hotel Wilmina in Berlin is the winner of the “Hotel Property Award 2022”/A former women’s prison has become a refuge

Other prize-winners: 25hours Hotel Piazza San Paolino (Italy, Florence) and Hôtel des Horlogers (Switzerland, Le Brassus)

 Special prizes on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of 196+ forum Munich go to the 25hours Hotel Piazza San Paolino and the Hôtel des Horlogers.

Hotel Wilmina in Berlin. Source: Wilmina

This year’s “Hotel Property Award 2022” goes to the Hotel Wilmina in Berlin. The prize was awarded at the 196+ forum Munich conference.

Andreas Martin, Jury Chairman: “This year’s prize-winner won the jury over through several factors: The project has succeeded in removing the stigma from a real estate complex consisting of a vacant courthouse and a former women’s prison. This has turned the previous use around by 180 degrees to create a cosy hotel and restaurant with an exhibition space for art, furnished with loving attention to detail. The site, which had been empty for some time, was thus given a new purpose, and the surrounding area was upgraded. The hotel and restaurant welcome international guests and Berliners to a newly-created refuge that is characterised by the naturally-grown gardens of the interconnected inner courtyards, and which exudes tranquillity.”

The Wilmina forms part of a listed 19th-Century court complex. The former women’s prison on Kantstraße had been closed off for decades, hidden inside the block of buildings. From the street, only the former local court in the front building can be seen. It has been given a new lease of life as a space for art and culture going by the name of “Amtsalon”.

A new penthouse floor has been added on top of the four existing levels. Several of the former prison cells in the cell wing have been connected and converted into comfortable hotel rooms. The small cell windows were extended downwards to provide an outside view, while the bars in the upper window section were retained. The former entrance/exit courtyard has been converted into a restaurant dining room, and the urban wilderness that was found in the central garden courtyard has been complemented by a planted perennial garden and green roof areas. The concept seeks to make sustainable use of materials, and follows an overall strategy of preserving authentic traces of the past throughout the building in order to create spaces for the present. 44 guest rooms were created from the former prison cells: The spectrum ranges from sleeping bunks (11 square metres) to the garden loft (75 square metres) which is located in the former assembly room. All guest rooms combine historical authenticity with modern comfort.

The interdisciplinary 18-member jury pre-selected among the 36 candidate hotels from seven European countries to choose ten nominees from seven countries. The following three hotels were selected from these nominees for the final round (in alphabetical order):

25hours Hotel Piazza San Paolino (Italy, Florence)
Hôtel des Horlogers (Switzerland, Le Brassus)
Wilmina (Germany, Berlin)

Martin: “Interestingly, none of the three finalists are new developments on a proverbial greenfield site. A centrally-located site in Florence the size of a football pitch has been carefully combined with the neighbouring buildings, some of which are religious in nature. This has given a new quality to this district of Florence, which had been less in the spotlight. In Switzerland, in a high valley near the French border, a hotel that had become outdated has been replaced by a contemporary hotel and at the same time repositioned in a higher category. This has also opened up new prospects for tourism in the valley. And in Berlin-Charlottenburg, it has in fact been possible to reopen a location that had long had negative connotations for Berliners and the city’s guests using a clear design signature, without depriving it of the tranquillity of the established building structure and inner courtyards.”

Thanks to its architectural concept, the 25hours Piazza San Paolino located in Florence’s Santa Maria Novella district creates a connection between historical parts of the building, the origins of which date back to the 15th Century, and a high-quality new building. The fusion of yesterday and today is accentuated by the interior design of the architect Paola Navone. It quotes from Dante’s “Divine Comedy”, lending it an ironic, provocative interpretation. Guests stroll through Dante’s world between virtues and vices, becoming protagonists, and participating in the city’s history and art. Listed dry-stone walls embrace a modern roof construction made of glass and steel that “shields” the restaurant in the inner courtyard. Exposed brick vaults contrast with the verdant façade as well as small gardens with hammocks and outdoor showers. Despite extensive modifications to the building structure, it has been possible to preserve the flair of the old palazzo through careful restoration in keeping with its status as a listed building. This has resulted in a project that contributes significantly to urban development through the redesign of the Piazza San Paolino.

The newly-built Hôtel des Horlogers in Switzerland’s Vallée de Joux, the cradle of Swiss watchmaking, was designed in an avant-garde architectural style by the Bjarke Ingels Group. The building traces the topography of the valley through the zigzagging walls that slope down to the meadow. The Minergie ECO®-certified 4-star superior hotel takes a holistic, sustainable approach from the development of the building through to daily operations in order to reduce its environmental impact. The hotel seeks to be a meeting place for local and international lovers of watchmaking, architecture and nature. The hotel has 50 rooms, including 12 suites, two restaurants, a bar, a wellness area and two conference rooms. The interior design by AU*M is a tribute to the surrounding landscape. The roots in the lobby, for example, link in to the area’s vegetation. In the bar, the rock-like ceiling lights represent emptied lakes that have been turned upside down. Large blocks of stone in the restaurant pay homage to the local stone walls. This creates a harmony between the hotel and the nature that surrounds it.

In addition, two special prizes were awarded on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of 196+ hotelforum. A special award went to Christoph Hoffmann and the 25hours Hotel Piazza San Paolino for a successful overall development of the hotel together with the developer Art-Invest and the contributing architects on the conclusion of a 25h development cycle.

The Hôtel des Horlogers was also awarded a special prize for particularly innovative architecture, as well as for a consistently and credibly implemented sustainability strategy (from the use of BIM and building control systems, and the energy efficiency this involves, to the avoidance of plastic and consumption of local products).

The “Hotel Property Award” targeted both hotel developers, owners and operators. Applications for the prize were received from hotels which were opened between January 2021 and July 2022. The jury was looking for a successful interplay between architecture and design, integration into the project environment, sustainability and technical innovations, the originality of the concept, as well as cost-effectiveness.

The finalists of the “Hotel Property Award 2022“:

25hours Hotel Piazza San Paolino
Location: Florence, Italy
Owned by: Invesco
Operated by: KNSA Hospitality/Ennismore (Accor Group)
Project developer: Art-Invest Real Estate
Architect: Genius Loci Architettura
Interior design: Paola Navone, Studio Otto/Milan
Type of operation/category: city hotel/no classification
Construction period: 42 months
No. of rooms: 171

Hôtel des Horlogers
Location: Le Brassus, Switzerland
Owned by: Manufacture d’Horlogerie Audemars Piguet SA
Operated by: owned-operated, without brand affiliation
Project developer: CCHE, Lausanne
Architect: BIG (Bjarke Ingels Group), New York
Interior design: AU*M, Lyon (France)
Type of operation/category: boutique hotel/4 stars
Construction period: 48 months
No. of rooms: 50

Location: Berlin, Deutschland
Owned by: 2. Jeonie GmbH & Co. KG
Operated by: Wilmina GmbH, member of Designhotels
Project developer: 2. Jeonie GmbH & Co. KG
Architect: Grüntuch Ernst Architecten
Interior design: Grüntuch Ernst Architecten
Type of operation/category: city hotel/no classification
Construction period: 100 months
No. of rooms: 44

10 nominee hotels in alphabetical order:
25hours Hotel Piazza San Paolino (Italy, Florence)
Adina Hotel München (Germany, Munich)
Coquillade Provence Resort & Spa (France, Gargas)
Hôtel des Horlogers (Switzerland, Le Brassus)
Hotel Indigo Wien – Naschmarkt (Austria, Vienna)
Hotel Luc, Autograph Collection (Germany, Berlin)
MOOONS Wien (Austria, Vienna)
Radisson Collection Hotel, Palazzo Nani Venice (Italy, Venice)
The Reykjavik EDITION (Iceland, Reykjavik)
Wilmina (Germany, Berlin)

Previous winners of the “Hotel Property Award”:

Ruby Luna Düsseldorf (2021), Grand Park Hotel Rovinj, Croatia (2020), Schgaguler Hotel Castelrotto/Kastelruth (2019), QO Amsterdam (2018), Bretterbude Heiligenhafen (2017), Reichshof Hamburg CURIO Collection by Hilton (2016), Hotel Zoo Berlin (2015), Holzhotel Forsthofalm Leogang, Salzburger Land (2014), Radisson Blu Hotel Nantes (2013), Hotel TOPAZZ Vienna (2012), 25hours HafenCity Hamburg (2011), Roomers Frankfurt (2010), Lindner Park-Hotel Hagenbeck (2009), 25hours Frankfurt (2008), Schloss Elmau Luxury Spa & Cultural Hideaway (2007), Hotel Daniel Graz (2006), Colosseo Erlebnishotel Rust (2004), Rocco Forte Hotel Amigo Brussels and Accor Suite Hotel Hamburg (2003), Hilton Köln (2002).

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