The existing Estrel Hotel, which with 1,125 rooms is already the largest in Germany, will be expanded in a project dubbed the new “gateway to Berlin”.
Standing on Sonnenallee, it will be one of the first sights to greet visitors as they travel towards the centre from the new Berlin airport, due to open in 2016.
The Estrel Tower is set to tower over the city’s current highest housing blocks –the “Treptowers” – which are 125 metres high.
Architects Frank Barkow and Regine Leibinger beat competition from six other designers to win over the jury in the contest to design the hotel.
Regula Lüscher, one of the judges and building director on the Berlin Senate, told the Tagesspiegel newspaper that the design acted as a “meeting-point between the inner and the outer city”.
The design was also praised by the jury for cleverly “integrating” the style of the existing hotel building, which stands opposite. The second site will be spread over 3.2 hectares.
Hotel Estrel’s expansion comes as it celebrates its 20th anniversary this year.
Its founder Ekkehard Streletzki has been hailed as “an idol” and a “creative volcano” by Neukölln’s mayor Heinz Buschkowsky.
Planning the hotel had been a “long and thorny path”, the SPD mayor said, but Streletzki had proved himself to be a “strong character”.
The project is still in the planning phase, but construction work is due to begin in autumn of this year or early 2015 and should be completed within two years.