What’s so special?
Berliners have a knack for turning interesting old buildings and industrial spaces into exciting leisure destinations: there’s a nightclub set in a 19th-century school, and an art gallery housed in shipping containers. Now the old Royal Danish Embassy has been turned into a beautiful hotel that overlooks the city’s zoo.
How they rate it
The building may date from the 1930s, but it “is thoroughly modern inside”, says Hazel Lubbock in Condé Nast Traveller. “This must be the only hotel in the world that has bedrooms with a view of ostriches, which surely makes up for the size of the smallest rooms.” The suites “have more space but also a balcony from which to watch gazelles grazing below”.
There are two restaurants. Cinco, which is overseen by well-known chef Paco Pérez, has been granted a Michelin star and serves up an “extravagant” 30-course tasting menu. Alternatively, The Casual offers a “simple Mediterranean menu”.
Doubles cost from £180, room only. For more information, visit the website at www.das-stue.com, or call 00 49 30 311 7220.
What’s so special?
Luxury brand Waldorf Astoria opened a hotel in Berlin last year, in a great location close to some of the main tourist attractions, such as the Brandenburg Gate, the Reichstag building and Potsdamer Platz, the site of massive regeneration following the fall of the Berlin Wall.
How they rate it
“This classic Berlin hotel, in the city’s upmarket City West district, more than earns each of its five stars for its convenient location, excellent service and superb cuisine,” says Soo Kim in The Daily Telegraph. “The spacious rooms channel a classic Twenties-inspired look with pops of purple, red and gold.” Suites “boast panoramic views of the city and the green spaces of Tiergarten park”.
The hotel spa is “an ivory jewel box… with about 1,000 square feet of pale-hued girlish wonders: a cloud-shaped indoor pool, eight treatment rooms, a steam room and sauna”, says Condé Nast Traveller.
Dine in the hotel’s Michelin-starred Les Solistes. This is “high-concept fusion cuisine”, with dishes including duck foie gras with figs, or lobster with a ginger, mango and grapefruit stew, says Kim.
Prices start from £260 for a double room, including breakfast. Find out more at www.waldorfastoriaberlin.com, or call 00 49 30 814 0000.
The best cocktail bars in Berlin
Becketts Kopf is a low-key option if you’re looking for a night out drinking cocktails, says The Guardian’s Paul Sullivan – the entrance is “unmarked save for an eerily glowing photograph of Samuel Beckett in the window, so you’ll need to ring a doorbell to gain access to this bar in Prenzlauer Berg”, a borough of the city.
Inside are “two elegant, dimly lit rooms (one reserved for smokers)” and an extensive drinks list. “Absinthe fans may wish to sample the bar’s take on the classic Monkey’s Gland, made with English marmalade.” For more, go to www.becketts-kopf.de.
Buck and Breck is another easily missed cocktail spot. “It’s disguised as an art gallery… and the dark interior has enough room for just 14 people, seated around a large, square bar (no standing allowed).” The owners “churn out exquisite drinks, such as the eponymous house special: a tasty, muscular mix of cognac, bitters, absinthe and champagne”. Reservations recommended. See www.buckandbreck.com.
Newton Bar (pictured) “bows deeply to renowned fashion photographer Helmut Newton”, with red-leather seats and 18ft photos of nudes in heels. “The upmarket atmosphere is emphasised by heavy oak tables and a lavish, colourful bar.”
The menu includes “superbly mixed” classics like Manhattans and Martinis as well as “city specials”, such as Metropolis Berlin, which contains Jägermeister, a herbal schnapps. See www.newton-bar.de.