Its boulevards are dotted with designer shops, and when the iconic Kurfürstendamm is dressed to the hilt in Christmas lights, Berlin’s City West district is as glitzy as shopping destinations get. At the fabulous KaDeWe department store the decorations are so bling that they alone would make the visit worthwhile. You’ll also find hip boutiques and design shops in City West, many of them in Bikini Berlin, a concept mall with pop-ups, cafés, bars and food stalls – and Vitra & Artek plying modernist kitchen accessories. Then there’s Käthe Wohlfahrt, Berlin’s largest dedicated Christmas store.
Where to stay: The Waldorf Astoria Berlin, towers over the city. Enjoy views that reach from the Brandenburg Gate to what was once East Berlin and its iconic TV Tower. Rooms and suites are decorated in peacefully subtle hues, some with balconies.
Eating in: The hotel’s main restaurant, Les Solistes (there are also four other restaurants and bars), is under the direction of Pierre Gagnaire and combines traditional French cooking techniques with local ingredients. Head chef Roel Linterman’s menus include hare served three ways – roast saddle, civet à la royale (stew) and pie with plum paste. Don’t miss the grand dessert, a selection of Gagnaire’s five favourite puds, from coconut milk dotted with tapioca pearls to passion fruit fudge. And, if you’re there over New Year, head upstairs to the hotel’s 15th-floor Library Lounge for views of Berlin’s fireworks.
Eating out: Hop between counters selling king crab claws to pretzels, sausages and cheeses, at KaDeWe’s food hall, five minutes’ walk away. Or cross the street to Supermarket, a concept store with a café, overlooking Berlin Zoo, where the menu hints at Asian, Mediterranean and Latin American influences (pork buns with Asian BBQ sauce and pickles, cod ceviche with lime, garlic and coriander).
What to do: Head to the area around Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church for roasted almonds, hot chocolate and mulled wine as you browse the City West Christmas Market (winter.visitberlin.com).
The damage: Double rooms at The Waldorf Astoria start from €160, room only. Return flights from several UK airports to Berlin start at £50 (easyjet.com).