The Ultimate Racing Weekend in Germany
By Amber Kallor
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Satisfy your need for speed with a Formula One weekend in Hockenheim and Berlin.

Travel and lifestyle influencers Bradley Commerford, Corentin Gruson, and Tom Claeren are three men who undoubtedly understand luxury. In fact, they’ve traveled the globe in search of the finest things in life, as well as adrenaline-boosting experiences. Nothing combines the two quite like motor racing. Watching the world’s best compete at meteoric speeds is one way to get your blood pumping, as is taking a hot lap around the track with a with a Formula One driver thanks to The Ritz-Carlton’s partnership with Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team. “The driver asked me if I was ready and then boom, we were going full speed!” says Claeren of the thrilling ride in Hockenheim during the German Grand Prix.

After the rush of revving engines and squealing tires, the trio headed to The Ritz-Carlton, Berlin hotel located conveniently in Potsdamer Platz for some R&R. “It’s one of those hotels where you walk in and are immediately wowed,” says Commerford of the Art Deco design inspired by Berlin’s Golden Age. “It is luxury and elegance with a modern twist,” adds Gruson. Here, the trio explains why a weekend trip to Germany is a wild ride full of unforgettable surprises.

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Speed: Touch down in Hockenheim, a picturesque town in the Rhine valley that hosts racing teams and enthusiasts during the Mercedes-Benz Grosser Preis Von Deutschland (also known as the German Grand Prix). Drivers from all over the globe descend on the sleepy town once a year, jolting it awake with 67 lightning-speed laps around the 4.574-kilometer Hockenheimring. This past year, Claeren, Commerford, and Gruson were there to witness it all with Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team—from the behind-the-scenes action happening in the garage to a once-in-a-lifetime hot lap around the track.

Both Claeren, who is based in Cap-Martin near Monaco (home to the Monaco Grand Prix), and Gruson, who put down roots in Paris (where the Paris E-Prix is held), noted that this race was completely different from the ones they’ve witnessed on city streets at home. Hockenheim is more of a traditional track experience that you take in from the stands. Head to the exclusive Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team’s Silver Arrows Lounge for exceptional views and fine dining. “From the rooftop, you can see the whole track,” says Claeren. The trio even listened in on a practice session as the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team strategized and perfected every element before Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas competed for the Grand Prix. “It’s crazy because the driver is typically the only one that you hear about, but there are hundreds of people involved,” explains Commerford.

Nothing, however, truly satisfies the need for speed quite like a lap around the track in a Mercedes-AMG GT R. “It was kind of scary, but super cool,” laughs Commerford. “I was trying to capture some of the moment on my phone from inside the car and my arms were flying around during the turns.” Driven by a Formula One driver, they reached speeds of 280 kilometers (174 miles) per hour. “If you look at my face during my Instagram story I don’t look super confident!” adds Gruson.

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Snap: “Get the most out of each day because good light or a memorable moment isn’t always predictable,” says Claeren. “Sunrise and sunset are the best times to shoot photos.” A grand staircase greets you in the hotel lobby, which makes a stunning backdrop. For more vibrant color, head to the East Side Gallery where you’ll find a series of murals painted by 118 artists from 21 different countries on the longest preserved piece of the Berlin Wall. “Definitely don’t forget your camera,” says Commerford.

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Sip: Germany is undoubtedly known for its beer, but the cocktail scene is also worth exploring. “The Ritz-Carlton prides itself on the moment of the day, which is different at every hotel,” explains Commerford. “At 6 p.m., they cover the mirror in The Lounge with a moon mural and set up a champagne fountain and macarons.” Continue on to The Curtain Club that features a book of cocktails created by master mixologist Arnd Heissen along with live soul, jazz, and Latin music. “I was so impressed by the menu, which is huge,” says Gruson, who ordered a twist on a Moscow Mule. “Attention to detail is key and every drink is served in a different glass,” adds Commerford, who opted for a cocktail dubbed Día de los Muertos. For a multi-sensory experience, try a unique tipple at Fragrances, which creates cocktails designed around iconic perfumes and guests’ individual scent preferences. “It’s different from any other bar I’ve ever visited,” says Claeren. Wind down in the cigar lounge with a glass of whiskey where you can comfortably recover from a long day of sightseeing.

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Snack: Wake up to room service, where you can order everything from fruit to waffles to an almond milk latte. “They do an amazing breakfast,” says Gruson. For an afternoon pick-me-up, visit The Lounge for a caviar tasting or high tea, which includes selections from Mariage Frères. During off hours, visit the Club Lounge for a quick snack. “It’s especially nice when you’re traveling from different time zones and you’re not in synch with the meal schedule yet,” adds Commerford. Make a reservation at POTS for dinner, where contemporary takes on traditional German dishes (like Holsteiner Färse) are crafted using fresh, local produce. “I was really impressed by the quality of the dishes and how they presented everything,” says Claeren.

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Sweat: Sweat out drinks and dinner the next morning in the fitness center, which is equipped with a Finnish sauna, steam sauna, and indoor pool. “I used to work for Technogym and the hotel has the best equipment—not just a single treadmill,” says Commerford. “I’m big on fitness and I usually end up paying to use a gym outside of the hotel, but this one was actually pretty large and useful.”by the quality of the dishes and how they presented everything,” says Claeren.

Deluxe Suite - Living Area

Sleep: Parties in Berlin often kick off on Friday and don’t wind down until Monday morning, but if and when you decided to leave the club to catch some shut-eye, do it at The Ritz-Carlton, Berlin. Rest and relax in one of the spacious suites with panoramic views of the city and luxurious marble bathrooms with heated floors. Splurge on the newly renovated presidential suite that comes equipped with a kitchenette, two bedrooms, and a dedicated personal concierge.