Berlin is home to some of the world’s most lavish and impressive hotels. However a few of the city’s top-notch 5-stars are noticing that their high rank is hurting their business. Turns out the drug companies are to blame. Aren’t they always?

According to an article in Germany’s Spiegel magazine, drug companies are under stricter vigilance nowadays to avoid spoiling clients and doctors in order to gain their business.

Previously, the pharmaceutical companies’ practices consisted of putting doctors up in fancy hotels for weekend product demonstrations and other events. The crackdown comes from a German watchdog group that is trying to curb the lobbyist style relationship between healthcare professionals and the drug companies.

All this extra vigilance is hurting Berlin’s big hotels because now a 5-star hotel is considered too lavish, while most of the business is going to lower tier hotels. The Spiegel article explains:

that 60,000 of his hotel’s 140,000 annual overnight stays derive from individuals participating in congresses such as those hosted by drug companies.

That’s a big part of one’s customer base to lose for being ‘too fancy’ of an establishment. In retaliation, the Berlin hotels are trying to lose their 5-star rating, opting to become 4-star hotels with a 5-star attitude or something. These German hotels (which may or may not offer ‘scheisse’ service and dominatrix room charges), aren’t lowering their prices though. The rooms still cost between $290 – $765 per night.

I’m still left wondering ‘how a hotel can just ‘ask’ for a star drop in their rating?’ I feel like they should have to do something rude or unsanitary to earn that distinction. Maybe they could make it a new practice to ‘accidentally’ leave an un-flushed deuce in the toilet for discovery when each new guest arrives. That certainly warrants a star drop, don’t you think?

Spiegel: Five-Star Hotels In Berlin Hoping To Drop A Star, June 23, 2008

Also, speaking of Berlin – watch out for that city to go up in flames or something on Wednesday if Turkey beats Germany in the Euro2008 semi-finals. As I discovered from spending a summer in that heavily Turkish immigrant area of Kreuzberg Berlin, there is a lot of tension between the two groups. I wouldn’t be surprised if they burned all their delicious kebab stands to ground in celebration.