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Palasthotel was a hotel belonging to the Interhotel-chain and situated in the Mitte-district of Berlin, at Karl-Liebknecht-Straße 5, right behind the Berliner Dom and close to the river Spree. It was built on a design by Ferenc Kiss between 1976 and 1979. The hotel had 600 rooms with 1,000 beds and a conference hall with about 2,000 seats. It was closed for all East German guests, as one had to pay in a hard currency instead of the local East German mark. Between 1990 and 1992 the hotel was owned by Interhotel AG. In 1992, the hotel was renamed the Radisson SAS Berlin. It closed on December 1, 2000 due to the Asbestos that was used in the construction. It was demolished to make room for the new DomAquarée, which houses a hotel of the Radisson Blu group and was opened in 2003.
The hotel must not be confused with the original Palasthotel built by Ludwig Heim at the Leipziger Platz from 1892 to 1893, which was destroyed during the second World War.
The Palasthotel was an important part of the Stasi-surveillance of all foreigners that entered the GDR. At all times there were four Stasi-officers employed in monitoring the hotel. Using cameras and microphones they kept the receptionhall, elevators, corridors and several rooms under strict surveillance. 25-30 rooms in the hotel were technically equipped so necessary monitoring of especially "interesting" guests could take place. Video- and taperecorders were placed in the "Stasi-suite"; room 51.01/51.03 on the fifth floor.
On the eight floor, room 80.26/80.27, was the office of Herbert Rübler. From here he carried out his work; organising commerce between the DDR and the west. He was found dead in the same hotel in May 1989.
It was referred to as "Valuta-hotel" and "Stasi-nest".
It was used by the leading figures in the SED and for receiving distinguished guests from abroad.
Famous guests include:Karl-Eduard von Schnitzler, Alexander Schalck-Golodkowski, Udo Lindenberg, U2, Bruce Springsteen and Katja Epstein.
The hotel plays an important part in the German novel "Wie es leuchtet" (Fischer 2004) by Thomas Brussig.
The Palasthotel is referenced in the U2 documentary "From The Sky Down". The band stayed in the Hotel during the recording of Achtung Baby in late 1990. Bono described the Hotel as a "festival of brown...meaning everything in the hotel was brown. Brown carpet, brown knobs on the stereo. But I was looking out on a beautiful cathedral, that was nice. From the brown room, in the brown hotel".
Anne Holper, Matthias Käther, DDR-Baudenkmale in Berlin-Berlins Osten neu entdeckt, 2003.
Kristie Macrakis, Seduced by Secrets: Inside the Stasi's Spy-Tech World, Cambridge University Press; 1 edition (March 21, 2008).