Make yourself at home in these hand-picked digs that range from the creative to the quirky in Germany's diverse capital.
This turn-of-the-century industrial building has been transformed into stylish, playful accommodation for travellers on small or more expansive budgets. It also boasts one of the best lounge bars east of the Spree – a homey, high-design hangout that includes a courtyard/beer garden where events and concerts (and even a buzzing Christmas market) happen year round. Michelberger Hotel offers dozens of rooms that combine creative simplicity with signature innovation, care of renowned Berlin interior designer Werner Aisslinger (see the Clever room with book-lined walls). This “handcrafted, original space for the social city traveller” is only metres from the must-see East Side Gallery and is perfectly located for adventure on both sides of the city.
Warschauer Strasse 39-40, 10243 Berlin
Berlin's East Side Gallery
Perched on high, this designer hotel is sandwiched between the vast Zoo Berlin and the jagged, war-damaged spire of Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church. As 25hours Hotel Bikini Berlin insists, it’s literally where “nature, culture and creativity collide”. Look into the zoo’s monkey enclosure or across the endless city forest of the Tiergarten from colourful, light rooms containing plenty of natural wood (try the Jungle rooms with hammock and rain shower) or view the bustle of the Kurfürstendamm, Berlin’s “Champs-Élysées”. The sister of the Bikini Berlin plaza next door (which is filled with au courant fashion and accessories stores), the hotel has a rooftop terrace that offers a stunning 360-degree city panorama, as does the public-access Monkey Bar, arguably Berlin’s hottest cocktail lounge.
Budapester Strasse 40, 10787 Berlin
Bringing the elegance and energy of 1920s Berlin to the legendary heritage hotel brand, Waldorf Astoria Berlin is luxury accommodation that also reaches rare heights – it opened in 2013 in the Zoofenster skyscraper. Soaring above West Berlin’s shopping and entertainment high street that once buzzed with the city’s best cabarets, cafés and nightclubs, the 232-room hotel combines Waldorf Astoria elegance with legendary local touches – especially in its re-created Romanisches Café, the haunt of Berlin’s infamous dancers, artists and philosophers during the Golden Twenties. The high-end rooms with epic views feature Art Deco-inspired interiors, while guests can also relax in the boutique French spa by Guerlain.
Hardenbergstrasse 28, 10623 Berlin
Brandenburg Gate, Berlin
Soho House Berlin
Founded in London as a members club for city creatives, Soho House opened a branch in a former GDR political headquarters in East Berlin in 2010. The vast Bauhaus-designed structure with classic Art Deco lines – it was a Jewish family-owned department store before it hosted the Hitler Youth – has quickly become one of Berlin’s most sought-after overnight stays. Its distinctive, urbane designer rooms and apartments are complemented by contemporary art and much vibrancy as local artistes come and go from the club’s hive of restaurants, bars, lounges, pool and gym – to which guests have full access.
Torstrasse 1, 10119 Berlin
SEE ALSO: The Best Cafes in Berlin
Hüttenpalast (Hut Palace) is a former vacuum cleaner factory turned quirky, creative playground in 2011 for visitors to a city that likes to take chances. The owners filled two floors of the building with remodelled retro caravans and wooden huts created by individual designers, which serve as bedrooms that open onto a huge communal loft living area (bathrooms are shared). Six orthodox rooms with ensuite bathrooms, which utilise the high ceilings and large windows of the original factory, are also available in this ever-surprising hotel. Straddling the bars and galleries of arty Neukölln, Hüttenpalast offers a full breakfast buffet and has a lovely leafy courtyard, rounding out an inspired hotel experience.
Hobrechtstrasse 66, 12047 Berlin
Sydney-born Stuart Braun has lived in Berlin since 2009. He's the author of City of Exiles: Berlin from the Outside In.