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The charming sister of the Honigmond Hotel, this boutique hotel felt to me more like a bed and breakfast than a large commercial enterprise. While it's located in Berlin's central district, this hotel is calm and quiet. In the lush garden, I could not hear street noises, just birds chirping. Housed in a building erected in 1845, the premises have a rustic, earthy feel to them. Even the wi-fi equipped conference room feels more like a stately lecture hall of an old university than a business center. The Honigmond Garden Hotel is a great place to relax, whether as an overnight guest or sipping tea or wine in its outdoor offerings.
The sunlit Simit Evi sits on a bustling street in Berlin's Wedding area, known for its predominantly Turkish population. This cafe is a mix of German and Turkish breakfast specialties, offering large traditional bread baskets with its scrambled eggs, all for three Euros tops. There's also a variety of scrumptious pastries and coffee drinks.
The Honigmond Hotel is located in a part of Mitte most tourists don't see, a charming corner filled with mom-and-pop shops, parks like the one on Nordbahnhof and a slew of young people working at the nearby start-ups sprouting up. I found the staff to be friendly and helpful, answering my questions with a smile even when they weren't officially working. The individually decorated rooms are cozy, and feel like the inside of someone's home rather than a hotel. Adding to its turn-of-the-century feel, there's also a cute tea room and business room which feels more like the inside of an old university (minus the mustiness) than a corporate working space.
Being a Cold War history junkie, I was fascinated by the Ostel, and its realistic sparsely decorated interior, horrendously ugly wallpaper, brown-hued light beaming throughout the hallways, and unsmiling but direct front desk service. The only anachronisms were the fast and free wi-fi, and ample offerings of the breakfast buffet for 7.50 Euro. There's also a patio, filled with sun, beer-drinkers and volley ball players in the warmer months. The rooms are generally spacious, even if equipped with upwards of six beds, and the space is quiet, with guests seeming to take the party outside. Appropriately situated near the Ostbahnhof, it's situated in a gritty but happening corner of Berlin, within walking distance to the famous Berghain.
The Grand Hyatt lives up to its five star status, with effusively friendly service, grandiose rooms, a soothing spa with every wellness service imaginable, and a dimly lit dining room with menu choices such as sea bass and pumpkin tortellacci with hazelnut and pear chutney. More uniquely, the hotel offers group cooking classes (for a low cost of 200 Euros per person) around a certain food, such as Germany's beloved asparagus. There are a slew of espresso-equipped meeting rooms, and free wi-fi running throughout the hotel, but if I'm paying upwards of 400 Euros a night, I'd certainly hope that's the case! The Hyatt is right at the foot of Potsdamer Platz, but there are a handful of other equally luxurious hotels nearby for at least half the price.
Hotel de Rome is a lavish and luxurious place to spend a night (or three), provided you have a thick wallet. Warm and cordial service escorts guests at the door, and the modern yet elegant rooms and large and comfortable. The restaurant and dining areas are decked out with ornate chandeliers and incredible German and Italian food. The hotel, which sits right across from the famous Humboldt University, also reveals stunning views of Berlin. My only gripe is that Internet costs 20 Euros per 24 hours of use -- if you're already paying top rates, it should be included, but then again that's only a drop in the bucket compared to what you're paying overall.
The Regent reaches the height of hoighty-toighty extravagance, which you'd expect from a grandiose, centrally-located, five-star hotel. From the moment I walked into the Regent, I felt like royalty. With ornate chandeliers, decadently comfortable rooms, and ever-attentive service, the Regent is the place to stay if you want to feel like a king (or queen) while within walking distance to Berlin's largest attractions. For those who want to absorb the Regent's atmosphere, but not foot the bill for a full night stay, they can splurge to a lesser degree on a delicious breakfast buffet, including the epic Easter Brunch. The hotel is also situated on Gendamenmarkt, where arguably the best Christmas Market in Berlin can be found.
The first thing you'll notice when walking up to the Scandic is a myriad of tour busses, filled by the many tour agencies from around Germany and Scandinavia that frequent this hotel. It's for a good reason: all of the rooms come equipped with large, cushy comfortable beds and a private bathroom with a shower and bathtub. The main restaurant is seasoned in the style of a Scandinavian summer, with green hues and nature sounds. It's within walking distance to the bustling Potsdamer Platz, and offers panoramic views over central Berlin. Family travelers should take note that the Scandic is also uber-kid friendly, offering a play room (and play host), a kids menu and a welcome gift. There are also discounts provided for returning travelers. And this being Scandinavian themed, there's of course a spa (with a sauna) next door to the hotel!
It's hard to miss the Berliner Hof, a flashy gold building on top of a gym called McFit. The rooms are bright and airy, even if some feel slightly clinical, and reveal views of a central part of the city decked out in high rises. I found the front desk service a bit minimalistic, having to work to get one staffer's attention, and even then not finding it very attentive. However, I had a better, more friendlier experience later on. The hotel does score major points for its central location, next door to the impressive Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church, spacious and comfortable rooms, free and fast wi-fi, and free use of the gym. All of this for as little as 55 Euros, a price that can't be beat for the location. Most uniquely, the hotel offers special family rooms, which have amenities such as cribs, baby phones and baby bathtubs. There's an extra breakfast buffet for 10 Euros, but with so many great restaurants within walking distance, you're usually better off going elsewhere unless in a time crunch.
Bleibtreu is located only a couple blocks from the bustling Kurfürstendamm, but far removed from it sound-wise, as it's hidden behind a peaceful and airy courtyard and floral shop. As a medium-sized hotel lacking any corporate feel, the service seems more personable and down to earth. The atmosphere is charming and intimate, and it seems appropriate that there's a reading room, adding to the hotel's turn-of-the-century feel. Through their 'Literaturraum' project, they invite international artists and writers to spend a few weeks at the hotel, in a writer's retreat of sorts.
The rooms lend themselves to longer stays, as they are cute and comfortable, and feel homey, as though you're staying at a bed and breakfast rather than central hotel. There's also a cute deli affixed to the hotel, but unfortunately it's closed for the time being.
Elegantly but simply decorated, the Ellington is one of those timeless hotels that feels like it could exist in any time period -- minus the anachronistic hi-speed wi-fi and modern conference rooms throughout the building. The service is friendly from the moment you walk through the door. There were several sunlit spots for eating and drinking, from the partially outside Sommergarten, the breakfast room, the wine shelf laced Restaurant Duke and, this being Germany, the special Smokers Lounge and Bar. Located in walking distance to the famous Ku'damm and a plethora of shops, I found the price for the grandiose comfort the Ellington offers, including spacious yet cozy rooms, to be very reasonable.
As homage to modern design with German-made funky furniture equipping the lobby and rooms, Ku'Damm 101 is a surprisingly affordable hotel at a central location. It's not by any particularly noteworthy sites (unless you count one of the largest shopping centers in Berlin, KaDeWe) but is closely linked to many public transit lines. The breakfast buffet there is a refreshingly light change from the classic hearty cheese and bread typical German offers: it offers fruit juices, miso soup and a couscous salad. Business travelers will be pleased that there's free and ubiquitous wifi throughout the hotels, and a number of meeting rooms. It's a fresh and funky hotel, and remains quiet inside despite the bustle of the main drag outside.
The Arcotel offers grandiose comfort, including giant rocking chairs in honor of its namesake. Situated within easy walking distance to the big Berlin attractions and reasonably priced, it's ideal for tourists as well as business travelers. For the latter, there is free, fast-paced w-fi in the rooms -- a rarity for even the fanciest of German hotels. Yet despite its central location, I found the inside of the hotel calm and quiet. The service, which greets you as you walk in, was friendly and helpful. As a plus, the hotel also offers special rooms with customized beds and bath tubs for disabled travelers.
The Grand Hotel Esplanade, whose towering reflection is mirrored in the scenic spree, is ideal for both business and recreational travelers. I found the rooms to be large and comfortable, and for very reasonable prices. There's also many amenities such as a dimly-lit stylish bar, large gym, and restaurant which serves a daily breakfast. Despite the hotel's large size, which made walking inside feel like entering a shopping mall, the staff were welcoming and friendly.