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Hotels

The best hotels in Berlin

From boutique barracks to lofty penthouses, here's our pick of the best places to lay your head

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Michelberger Hotel

With its purposefully boutique industrial look and buzzing creative feel, Michelberger might seem like Berlin in a nutshell to some. While the cheaper rooms are characterised by a stylish simplicity reminiscent of a school gym, the pricier rooms have an air of tongue-in-cheek decadence – decked out in floor to ceiling gold or in the style of a mountain resort – complete with sunken bathtubs and movie projectors. The downside of the convenient location (right across from U-Bahnhof Warschauer Strasse) is that some of the rooms are quite noisy, so you might want to request a room facing the courtyard. There is an excellent restaurant and relaxed foyer with free WiFi.

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  • 5 out of 5 stars
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Soho House

The average Berliner has a healthy scepticism towards anything ‘private’ or ‘exclusive’, so eyebrows were raised when Soho House opened its branch in the German capital in summer 2010. But even the toughest critic would have to admit that the building and its history are too unique to be dismissed out of hand. The imposing Bauhaus structure has an incredible back story: it initially housed a Jewish-owned department store before it was taken over first by the Nazis, then by the communist regime. These days, Soho House occupies eight floors, and has installed one of their excellent Cowshed spas, a library and its own cinema. In the rooms, beautiful old wooden floors and 1920s furniture play off the raw concrete walls. There’s a touch of Britishness too, with a kettle and biscuits in each room (unusual in Germany), which together with the artfully selected furniture and warm atmosphere gives Soho House Berlin a much greater sense of Gemütlichkeit (cosy homeliness) than its rivals. A swim in the rooftop pool overlooking east Berlin rounds off the experience.

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Das Stue

One of the trendiest members of Berlin’s luxury hotel family, Das Stue has restored the 1930s Royal Danish Embassy to its former splendour with the help of Spanish designer Patricia Urquiola. There’s a long list of reasons to stay at this Design Hotel, a pearl-white spa, rooms overlooking the Tiergarten, the original three-storey library and its Michelin-starred cinco concept restaurant, with a menu provided by superstar Catalan chef Paco Pérez. Its central location makes it a short walk to most of Berlin’s major sights as well as having rooms overlooking the Berlin Zoo with binoculars provided for close ups of your beastie neighbours.

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Artemisia

Named after the Italian painter Artemisia Gentileschi, and formerly the world’s oldest women-only hotel (now open to both sexes), Artemisia has 12 bedrooms, tucked away on the top two floors of a residential apartment building off the Ku’damm. From tiny to palatial, they’re all cheerful, clean and functional and each features the work of a different Berlin-based female artist. There’s a roof terrace off the breakfast room, communal fridges in the hallways, and a warm, relaxing atmosphere created by its founders, Manuela Polidori and Renate Bühler. There are no mints on the pillows, perhaps, but the diverse clientele has service, respect and comfort down.

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Budget and mid-range Berlin accommodation

Hotels

Propeller Island City Lodge

More than just a hotel, Propeller Island City Lodge is a work of art. Artist-owner Lars Stroschen has created 32 incredible rooms, each themed, and decorated like jaw-dropping theatre sets. The Flying Room, for example, has tilted walls and floors, and a large bed seemingly suspended in air. The Therapy Room, all in white with soft, furry walls, has adjustable coloured lights to change with your mood. While each room has six channels of piped in music, they also have more functional mod cons such as room service and phones. Reservations can be made via the website, where you can view each room and choose your favourite three.

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OSTEL Das DDR Design Hostel

The four clocks on the wall read: Berlin, Moscow, Peking and Havana. There’s a poster of Erick Honecker on the wall. But there’s no political message at this budget East German-themed hostel: just a cheap bed for the night. For an additional €3.50, guests are given a Lebensmittelmarke (food-ration coupon) for breakfast at the Ossi Hof pub out front. And for those who just can’t get enough of Ostalgie (nostalgia for the East), there’s a hotel Konsum (state-run market), which sells everything from plaster eggcups to chocolate DDR coins. There’s even a rare roll of original toilet paper – but it’s not for sale. Just a few streets away at Andreasstrasse 20, is the Ostel’s DDR-Ferienwohnung (holiday apartment), 75sqm of classified two-star lodging that sleeps up to six in DDR style with everything from TV to washing machine, great views and a Trabant-driven tour of the city.

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Grand Hostel

This fantastic hostel is situated in an aptly grand 19th century building with high ceilings and plenty of period character. The rooms are spacious and spotless, and there are no bunks, even in the dorms, just comfy real beds with good-quality linen. Some of the doubles even have four-poster beds to match the original hardwood flooring. There are bikes to hire and the cheerful, well informed staff know everything from the best kebab shops in Berlin to where to do karaoke on a Wednesday night. The only possible downer is that it’s situated in one of the less happening parts of town, but hotspot Kreuzkölln is just down the canal and there are great transport links nearby. Free WiFi. Tempelhofer Ufer 14, 10963 Berlin (, ). U1, U7 Möckernbrücke.

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Arte Luise Kunsthotel

Housed in a former neoclassical residential palace just a short walk from the Reichstag and Brandenburger Tor, this ‘artist home’ is one of the city’s more imaginative small hotels, with each of its 50 rooms decorated by a different renowned artist. There’s graffiti artist Thomas Baumgärtel’s ‘Royal Suite’, a golden room spray-painted with bananas; and Angela Dwyer’s ‘Room Like Any Other’, whose surfaces are covered in stream-of-consciousness scrawlings. Some rooms get a little noise from the S-Bahn trains, but that shouldn’t deter you: this is a great place to stay.

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Amano

The nice thing about Amano is that it doesn’t try too hard – and it doesn’t need to, given its perfect location right in the centre of Berlin. Its rooms and apartments are modern and unpretentious, the prices affordable. For €3 guests can rent an iPod complete with Berlin-inspired pop music and an audio guide. Other perks are the backyard garden and a roof-terrace lounge where older hotel guests mingle with young, preppy professionals. Bikes are also available to rent. Free WiFi.

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Berlin's best boutique and luxury hotels

Das Stue

One of the trendiest members of Berlin’s luxury hotel family, Das Stue has restored the 1930s Royal Danish Embassy to its former splendour with the help of Spanish designer Patricia Urquiola. There’s a long list of reasons to stay at this Design Hotel, a pearl-white spa, rooms overlooking the Tiergarten, the original three-storey library and its Michelin-starred cinco concept restaurant, with a menu provided by superstar Catalan chef Paco Pérez. Its central location makes it a short walk to most of Berlin’s major sights as well as having rooms overlooking the Berlin Zoo with binoculars provided for close ups of your beastie neighbours.

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Adlon

Not quite the Adlon of yore, which burned down after World War II, this new, more generic luxury version was rebuilt by the Kempinski Group in 1997 on its original site next to the Brandenburg Gate. Apart from a few original features, you’re really paying for the prime location and the superlative service: bellboys who pass you a chilled bottle of water when you return from a jog in nearby Tiergarten; a silver- tongued concierge who can wangle you a table at the best restaurants or tickets to a sold-out opera. There’s a load of bars and restaurants within the hotel, including Tim Raue’s Thai concept Sra Bua and the extremely formal Lorenz Adlon Esszimmer, that received a second Michelin star in 2013. You’re most likely to get the €240 rate outside of high season so book ahead. If you want to rent out one of the three bulletproof presidential suites from which Michael Jackson once dangled his child, it will set you back around €15,000, but you do at least get a 24-hour private butler and limousine for your money!

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Casa Camper Berlin

In 2011, the Spanish shoe company opened this luxury boutique hotel right in the heart of the Scheunenviertel. Knackered out shoppers and partygoers alike can take a break and grab some refreshments any time at the hotel’s free 24-hour snack bar, which is included in the price of the room in lieu of room service. Full meals are served at the restaurant, ‘Dos Paillos’, which specialises in fusion Asian-style cuisine served in a tapas-sized tasting menu with delicacies like toro sushi, the fatty neck of tuna on offer. One of the chief attractions of this stylishly minimalistic joint are the light-flooded showers with their stunning views over the city.

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The Dude

Housed in an elegant 19th-century townhouse, this 30-room boutique hotel was created by an advertising executive to provide an antidote to identikit design and a sense of good humour befitting to Berlin. They have a number of house rules, including no photography, ringing a doorbell to access and no large groups in order to foster an atmosphere of anything-goes discretion. The rooms are quite stark, brass-knobbed beds offset by block-coloured walls, with complimentary Moleskin and Molton Brown goodies in the bathroom. They serve breakfasts at their all-day deli and have the high-end Brooklyn Beef Club steak restaurant in the basement, with a rare whisky bar and wines from Napa Valley.

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Ellington Hotel

This hotel is one of the classiest, most sophisticated joints in Berlin. Hidden within the shell of a landmark art deco dance hall, it combines cool contemporary elegance with warmth and ease. The rooms, mostly white with polished wood accents, are brilliantly simple, with modern free-standing fixtures and half-walls, and absolute calm behind the original double windows. The staff are helpful and remarkably cheery given the daft flat caps they are made to wear as part of their uniform. An ambitious menu is served in the Duke restaurant, and there are Sunday jazz brunches in the central courtyard. All the sights of Charlottenburg are on your doorstep and for those wishing to engage in some retail therapy, the luxury department store KaDeWe is around the corner.

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Hotel Intercontinental

The extremely plush and spacious ‘Interconti’ exudes luxury. The airy lobby, with its soft leather chairs, is ideal for browsing the papers, and the rooms, overlooking the Zoo and western edges of the new diplomatic quarter, are large and tastefully decorated, right down to the elegant bathrooms. Thomas Kammeier, Berlin’s 2013 masterchef, whips things up in the Michelin-starred restaurant, Hugo’s, a combination of local ingredients, French techniques and a 14th floor view over Berlin making it well worth its while. There’s also a huge gym that should have everything necessary to put the body through its paces, as well as a luxury spa for pampering.

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