Berlin grabs headlines for its slew of art spaces, notorious nightlife and burgeoning start-up scene, and the inner-city neighbourhoods (Prenzlauer Berg and Kreuzber, for instance) are peppered with hip bars and restaurants, as well as quirky museums, independent shops and boutique hotels. Matching slick furnishings with an intimate, often seductive atmosphere and an emphasis on personalised service, these discreet and stylish places to stay appeal to a range of discerning travellers, from romantic weekenders to hip city-hoppers. We share our pick of Berlin's best boutique hotels, for those who appreciate the more personal touches of travelling.
Das Stue Hotel
This hotel’s location on the south-western edge of Berlin’s largest park, the sprawling Tiergarten, means guests have immediate access to a vast green wonderland. Das Stue’s grand lobby features eye-popping artworks and a gorgeous restored staircase, and leads through to the hotel’s lounge, bar, restaurants and garden terrace. The interiors, by Patricia Urquiola, range from the funky mix of colourful sofas and animal sculptures in the lounge to the more neutral, distinguished tones of The Casual restaurant, and a cosy outdoor dining terrace that rather cutely abuts the ostrich enclosure of the neighbouring zoo.
Read the full review: Das Stue Hotel
This West Berlin bolthole offers a flamboyant and seductive interior by Israeli hotshot Saar Zafrir, a fabulous Asian-themed restaurant, an outdoor terrace that opens in summer, and a glamorous bar that’s buzzing at weekends. Interiors are fun and flamboyant, characterised by bold colours (reds, golds, blues), sensual textiles (including velvet) and upmarket furnishings. The resultant impression is sexy and seductive, and could easily be quite kitsch if not for welcome light-hearted, Harry Potter-esque touches such as the gold-clad guest lift and floating candles at the bar.
Read the full review: Provocateur Berlin
Hotel am Steinplatz
Hotel am Steinplatz occupies a leafy square a short walk from a number of excellent Berlin venues. The Moorish arches and maze-like public areas of the original Art Nouveau-inspired interior have remained intelligently intact. The gorgeous renovations have juxtaposed aristocratic touches such as a marble-encased fire hearth and grand piano with modern elements such as the black-and-white historic videos screened in the corridors, contemporary artworks and 21st-century technology throughout. The rooms and three suites (including two Spa suites) are masterpieces of discreet opulence.
Read the full review: Hotel am Steinplatz
The Circus Hotel
Sandra Ernst has created a chic and fairly luxurious atmosphere at this eco-friendly hotel on bustling Rosenthaler Platz. The handsome, funky ground-floor area, which spans a small reception and a spacious lounge-cum-restaurant-and-bar, is peppered with eye candy including old gramophones, a multi-coloured giraffe, a mix of vintage and contemporary lamps, hanging plants, and diverse artworks. Rooms are also tastefully kitted out and some of the suites have terraces. As well as a large wall of box-shelves stocked with Berlin-themed books, hip magazines and journals, you can borrow yoga mats and bikes.
Read the full review: The Circus Hotel
This refined hotel, housed in a restored historic building that dates back to 1913, is set up around the theme of culture and music, hence the grand Steinway piano – as well as a literary salon upstairs. The design aesthetic is a careful balance of understated luxury and contemporary style. Alongside a flowing assortment of exotic woods and textiles from Europe, Africa and Asia, public areas are peppered with modern furnishings (vintage lamps, armchairs) designed by Antonio Citterio & Patricia Urquiola. The sprawling Living Room hosts a bar and restaurant as well as regular music events.
Read the full review: Orania.Berlin
Located close to scenic Savignyplatz, this hotel, based in a classic 19th-century tenement building, is well situated for the abundant commercial and cultural charms of West Berlin. Tel Aviv-based design outfit Baranowitz + Kroenberg has reworked the interconnected ground-floor public areas into a book-filled lobby and designer dining and relaxation areas. The eclectic aesthetic spans a consciously arty selection of books, splashy works by local artist Katharina Musick and designer furnishings. The 44 rooms are styled with a minimal black-and-white aesthetic and light-coloured wooden furnishings.
Read the full review: Sir Savigny
With the Unesco-heritage Museum Island just 400 metres away, unobstructed views over the historic Berliner Dom from the corner suites, and the small but pretty Monbijou Park right across the street, the location here is rather unbeatable. The hotel seduces from the off with the dark woods, well-stocked library and flickering fireplace of the lounge and reception area. Charming rooms (compact but cute) and a decadent, dark-toned bar continue the 'private home' appeal, with a breezy, well-lit breakfast room providing a perfect morning-after ambiance.
Read the full review: Monbijou Hotel
Hotel The Dude
The atmosphere of this hotel, housed in a converted mansion that dates back to 1822, is naturally characterful and sometimes quirky. German interior designer Uwe van Afferden has risen to the occasion with an eye-catching collection of eclectic furnishings that range from modern wall installations to genuine antiques. The 27 characterful rooms have varying layouts and sizes that range from fairly pokey singles to generous upper-floor suites that have dining areas and bathtubs. On the basement level, Brooklyn Beef Club, a high-end steak restaurant, also offers a solid range of New York-style cuts.
Read the full review: Hotel The Dude
This hotel just off West Berlin’s famous Kurfüstendamm boulevard is set inside a characterful historic building. Its savvy mix of modern and retro aesthetics gives it a quirky Wes Anderson-style charm. The hotel is essentially a modern makeover of the former Hotel Residenz, with interior designer Marc-Ludolf von Schmarsow retaining the more charming parts of the original 19th-century building (creaking parquet floors, original stucco work) and embellishing them with Belle Époque touches such as painted porcelain vases, tasteful chandeliers and reproductions of Alphonso Mucha’s famed Art Nouveau posters.
Read the full review: Henri Hotel
This hotel occupies a beautiful listed bathhouse that dates back to the 19th century. As well as the 20-metre pool, it offers 70 lovely rooms, a decent restaurant and a great location in Berlin’s laid-back Prenzlauer Berg district. Guests will find original staircase banisters, inner walls and even old doors protected in glass, as well as tasteful contemporary art (paintings, photos) that create a savvy fusion of new and old. Comfort category rooms, located in the historical wings and with direct access to the communal patios, have gorgeous oak plank flooring and box spring beds.
Read the full review: Hotel Oderberger