BOUTIQUE HOTELS AND BOATHOUSES IN BERLIN

With its historical past and creative present, Berlin, the capital of Germany, is one of the most interesting, vibrant cities to visit.
Top of our Chic Retreats boutique hotels in Berlin list is Soho House Berlin which opened in a restored Bauhaus building in the district of Mitte in 2010. As you’d expect from the Soho House Group, this Berlin luxury hotel is incredibly chic: it has a Cowshed spa, a rooftop pool, a cinema screening room and a Club Floor with a sitting room, bar and restaurant.

Or, for something totally unique, why not consider another of our boutique hotels in Berlin, the Modern Houseboat on Lake Rummelsburg. Designed to sleep 2 adults and 2 children, it comes with a fully-fitted kitchen, a living area and a main bedroom. Interiors are minimal because the beauty of Modern Houseboat is the view: the boat is moored right next to a small nature reserve, full of ducks and swans and has the districts of Friedrichschain-Kreuzberg on its doorstep. You can also take advantage of the ‘Spreeboote’, Modern Houseboat’s neighbour which offers tailor-made tours of Berlin and there are bicycles you can borrow to peddle around town (the centre of Berlin is 15 minutes away by public transport).

The sights

Mitte (which literally translates as ‘middle’) is the city’s historic centre. It has 2 main streets: Friedrichstrasse and the lime-tree lined grand avenue of Unter den Linden, which runs east to west from the Brandenburg Gate. Along its length you’ll find the city’s opera house (the permanent home of the Berlin State Opera), the Berlin cathedral and museums such as the Musee Unterlinden with paintings, sculpture and objects from the 12th to the 16th century. The monumental Brandenburg Gate itself (which was built in the 18th-century as a triumphal arch) is on the edge of Tiergarten Park and is to Berlin what the Eiffel Tower is to Paris: a world-famous symbol of the city.

Tiergarten Park, which links Mitte and the district of Charlottenburg, is a lovely green space and is always full of joggers, cyclists and (in the summer) families having picnics. In the south west corner of the park you’ll find Berlin’s Zoo and Aquarium - both popular places to take children - while at its north east end is Norman Foster’s revamped Reichstag, Germany’s Parliament building which is partly open to the public. Take the lift up to the roof (be warned: there are often long queues) and then walk up the ramps to the top of the dome for spectacular views across the city.

While you’re in the area, the other building offering excellent views from its observation deck is the 368 metre Fernsehturm Television Tower. There’s also Bauhaus Archiv, which is a must for anyone interested in the influential 20th century art, design and architecture movement. Housed in a building designed by the founder of Bauhaus, Walter Gropius, it’s dedicated to telling the story of the movement through paintings, sculptures and drawings.

Art galleries and museums

Just off Unter den Linden and not far from the Berlin Cathedral is Museum Island in the middle of the River Spree. The museum complex has UNESCO World Heritage status and houses five museums: Altes Museum, Alte Nationalgalerie, Bode Museum, Pergamon Museum (don’t miss the reconstruction of the Ishtar Gate of Babylon or the Pergamon Altar) and the Neues Museum. Between them they house Byzantine art, Egyptian and early historic treasures, Impressionism and Modernist works and Greek and Roman art and sculptures.

Shopping and food

Mitte is also packed with chic cafes, boutique shops (luxurious Parisian department store Galeries Lafayette has an outpost on Friedrichstrasse) and restaurants. If you want steak, you can’t beat French-style bistro Grill Royal (outside tables overlooking the River Spree are lovely if the weather is warm) which attracts a trendy crowd; fast-paced Vietnamese noodle bar Monsieur Vuong is an institution and popular for a quick bite at lunchtime (the menu is simple, the food delicious); and for South German dishes book a table at Alpenstueck, which has its own in-house bakery, a seasonal menu and a terrace in the summer. For classic French cuisine in a fine-dining setting, head to Vau restaurant where Michelin-starred chef Kolja Kleeburg is at the helm. The menu changes monthly but expect dishes such as roast lobster with avocado, pomelo and soy baiser; glazed veal cheek with carrots, smoked almonds and mustard, and apple with nut butter ice cream.

Other districts worth visiting

Once you’ve explored Mitte, it’s worth investigating other districts too. In Prenzlauer Berg in the east, there’s Mauerpark (come here for the flea market which is held every Sunday), the green space of Wasserturmplatz and a real local cafe culture. The residential district of Schoneberg is centred round the popular twice weekly food market, cafes and restaurants at Winterfeldplatz. It’s also home to Berlin’s most famous department store KaDeWe, which sells everything you could possibly want. The 6th floor food hall is a highlight.

The area of Kurfurstendamm in well-heeled Charlottenburg is where all the fashion boutiques are located, plus the Museum fur Fotografie which has ‘Helmut Newton’s Private Property’, a permanent exhibition hosted by the Helmut Newton Foundation on its two lower floors. There is also a programme of usually impressive, changing photography exhibitions upstairs.

Finally, there’s the up-and-coming artsy creative quarter of Kreuzberg, home to the Turkish community, cool cafes (try la Femme for a lazy weekend brunch) and the Templehofer Park. It’s also worth strolling along the length of the East Side Gallery, a section of The Wall which has been preserved and used as a blank canvas by local artists (you can also see the much more sombre Berlin Wall Memorial on Bernauerstrasse, on the border of Mitte, which gives a good impression of how the border fortifications were developed). In the evening, eat grilled meats and meze-style sharing dishes at Hasir restaurant or feast on burgers and chunky chips at Kreuzburger.

Area Summary

Language
German
Time zone
Central European
Currency
Euro
Power outlets
240V
Airports
Berlin Brandenburg Airport, Berlin Schönefeld Airport, Berlin Tegel Airport
Current weather
 19
Modern Houseboat

MODERN HOUSEBOAT

berlin, germany

Located on Lake Rummelsburg, a small bay in the river Spree, there is no boutique hotel in Berlin with more spectacular views than the Modern Houseboat. Sleeping 2 adults and 2 children this contemporary Chic Retreat has floor to ceiling windows across the entire front of the boat with utmost privacy.

 

Soho House Berlin

SOHO HOUSE BERLIN

berlin, germany

Soho House Berlin is a new boutique hotel in Berlin's fashionable Mitte district. This renovated late-Bauhaus gem now houses 40 luxurious rooms, a luxury spa & gym, a restaurant & a stylish roof-top pool & bar with far-reaching views.

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