STAY in Berlin:
When a hotel opens its doors between the record label Universal and the music channel MTV, then it should please people from the music industry. The New Yorker Karim Rashid, the fanciest popstar from the design scene was signed on to provide for the right vibe in the four stars plus design hotel. His funky world of forms welcomes the guest already at the front desk. There's a lot of pink, gaudily coated lifts and graphic works that wriggle through the rooms along the walls and floors up to the pink bedclothes. In the 304 rooms and suites, you find organically shaped partitions with integrated flat screens and indirect lighting. If you want to play music, go to one of the in-house recording studios or use the room service and order a guitar. P.S.: Not only people from the music industry are excited!
Alexanderplatz? It's right next door! Whether you actually visit it, or spend all your time in the hotel, will show itself in good time. That's because it's not everyday that you live in such sophistication. This designer hotel was projected by the British designers Jestico & Whiles and has a lot to offer besides great rooms. For example, there's four restaurants and a comprehensive wellness area.For a designer hotel, Andel's is quite large. There's 500 rooms, a generous lobby and and an elegant parlour. And despite its size, there's a homely atmosphere here, unlike the anonymous flair of some of the large hotel chains. The true definition of swish is displayed here, through avantgard design matched with a calming minimalism, whisked with a handful of colour. And you absolutely have to visit the Sky Bar - the view of the city is simply stunning. One night in a double room can be yours from 98 euros.
We are all allowed to enjoy a bit of luxury every now and again aren't we? If you have the same opinion as we do, then stop off at Hotel Amano. There's now showing off here, but rather an exercise in elegant restraint, with a touch of gold against warm grey tones. The hotel is located in the beloved Rosenthaler Strasse and was designed by the designer team Büro Gold. The ladies and gentlemen in the team went all out in the lobby and all shared spaces whilst the rooms and apartments are decorated in a calm, dignified manner: black, white and red feature in the rooms, but nothing more, which provides the perfect ambience after a day in the colourful city of Berlin. And you will never get bored in this hotel, as there is a fantastic view of the Berlin skyline from the roof terrace. And experience the unique sense of space in the restaurant, where the walls give way to giant windows. DJ Daniel W. Best and Alex Gallusheld add grooves to the comfortable bar on Wednesday evenings. One night in a double room is available from 95 euros.
SIGHTS in Berlin:
Unter den Linden
Berlin Museum Unter den Linden
Those who dare visit the creepy bunker. Built in 1943, it amasses five floors and offers a somewhat macabre mix of goodies. On one floor you will find yourself in the depths of a windowless crypt and in the other a showcase of creepy tales from the crypt.So start with a glass of Waldmeisterbrause at the bar and then take a trip through middle-age medicine and quackery, where amputations take place as the puppets hydraulically jolt and scream. And then it continues into the room of many eyes and an eerie labyrinth. When you you enter one of the only normal rooms in the house, we advise you to be on the lookout. This place is a creepy old-fashioned house of thrills designed for adults with humour and kids without fear.
It's a space for artists and creative heads to experiment - that's how art and communication network Platoon understands its art gallery at the Prenzlauer Berg. Because the discussion on the location of the European headquarters in Berlin have taken a while (Platoon has already been founded there in 2000) they simply took 34 cargo containers that since 2012 provide a space for art projects, workshops and events. There are artists spraying graffiti while a DJ puts on some tunes or artists are working in a container during their residency. You can shop vintage pieces at The Wardrobe every first Saturday in a month. Or you can hang at the Worklounge to exchange ideas and develop new concepts. The modular art construct in the containers is planned for two years and provides 4,500 square metres. Platoon Cultural Development - that's how the organisation calls itself - has found its origin in 2009 in Seoul. Ever since the global network has been expanding.
SHOPPING in Berlin:
The Corner East
Welcome to the Vatican. No, it's not about the frumpy or the religous, and the people here are definitely not from yesterday. The bearers of possibly the hippest corner of the city are Josef Voelk and Emmanuel Bayser count as the popes of the Berlin fashion and design scene. While one writes for Vogue, the other does Katie Holmes' outfitting. When one is giving fashion tips to GQ, the other takes Tom Cruise on a shopping tour.The store is abundant with big, elegant labels such as Balenciaga, Lanvin, Stella McCartney and Marc Jacobs. Take the advice given in the store and you will be miles ahead when it comes to fashion, as both men know exactly what tomorrow will bring. One tip: Brace yourself, as you will find it all here - cosmetics, books, furniture and accessories.
The scene shoemakers are on the job right here: There's 60 sq metres of just about everything that would like to wrap themselves around the feet of coolest trendsetters of the world. And the latest designer handbags to boot! Need a few names? Latitude Femme, Dico und Abro. WASTE from Barcelona and Veja from France. The last two aforementioned labels don't just design for the eye's pleasure, but also for a good cause: both colelctions are made from Fair Trade raw products and recycled materials. There's also a wide range of labels from Scandinavia, Italy, Spain and Portugal. The motto demands that the shoes and brands should remain unknown, well, at least to the masses.The decor of the concept store is quite minimalistic. Each shoe has it's own lit mini-display window. Shoe fetichists agree that man's best friend should be treated so. And the customers are also treated well: the store assistants lend great advice and test fittings are done on an oversized leather couch. Even if there's stacks of shoe boxes around you the staff still remain friendly, as they know exacly how it is to be in love with not just one, but all of them.
The Michalsky fashion show was once an essential part of the Berlin Fashion Week in Bebelplatz and the name is not to be forgotten. Admittedly, the Michalsky-StyleNite, booked as the highlight of the Berlin Fashion Week 2009, didn't quite go down as planned. Hilary Swank, Milla Jovovich, Matt Dillon and Wolfgang Joop snuck out to the Grill Royal restaurant quickly after a disappointing show.In our opinion, it couldn't have been the collection on show, apart from the fact that Michalsky has almost become too wearable for the big, wide catwalk. Since 2008, Michael Michalsky's latest collections have been paraded in his boutique store at Monbijouplatz. His labels MICHALSKY, M-67 Michalsky Jeans and MICHALSKY-Eyewear are being sold to fashion-conscious Berliners. The setup of the store reminds one of Paris and Haut Couture. On the other hand, the fashion on sale is rather casual, a bit sporty and almost fit for everyday life. Of course there is also something for the big appearance: gorgeous flowing evening dresses.
EAT in Berlin:
A pinch of Russia somehow belongs to a trip to Berlin. For those that haven't visited the Russian disco at Café Burger or don't have a Vladimir Kaminer novel in their backpack have their last chance at experiencing the Russian style here at Gorki Park! Everything is approached with the Russian couldn't-care-less attitude here. The service team is everything but nimble, yet they are friendly and Russian! The music is Russian, as well as the food and the beer. This is reason enough for students and artists to dub this place their second home, be it either for a látte, a beer or a vodka to finish off the week. There are twelve different Vodka sorts on offer here, but a sampling of all is only recommendable for the hardened types. There's a Russian trick to vodka drinking: Always a bit to eat with every shot, at best a vinegar gherkin! Only by following this strict rule will your head remain somewhat clear and you will therefore have a chance at making it to breakfast the next morning. The breakfast here is legendary, particularly the brunch offered on weekends.
Are you one of those die-hard soup fans who cannot pry themselves away from a bowl of the hot stuff, even on a 30 degree day? No? Then after a visit to Susuru you might be showing up to the recruitment office of this exclusive club.Susuru is Japanese for slurping, which although is not the most welcome tone at the dinner table in Europe, is seen as a compulsory excercise in Japan. If you appreciate your soup, then it is customary to show this by slurping. There's soup with noodles, with seeweed, shrimps, spices, with mini pastries - yes, with pretty much anything that is fresh and fits into a soup pot. A real highlight is the Ebi Kimchi Udon with crispy fried shrimp.Those who can't find the savour in a bowl of flavour should nibble their way through the starters menu. Even at a table of soup-freaks, anyone should be able to find a place. The decor is bright and friendly, the epitome of modern Asian design. Service comes around round tables and round benches, or you can opt for the high bar stools at the counter. Japan goes Berlin Mitte.
If the Royal Grill is a bit too suave for you, then this is the best alternative barbeque location Berlin has to offer. It's not so dazzling, but rather relaxed, a legend in it's own right and it boasts an idyllic garden. In the middle of Kreuzberg, in the middle of Viktoriapark and right in the middle of the field there is space for over 100 guests spread over two floors.One quick view of the massive grill and there's no doubt that there is enough meat to go around for everyone. On a clear summer evening, it's advisable to grab a spot at around 4pm. That way you will have some space to yourself, at least for an hour or so.The clientele here show two different faces; laid-back and dynamic. From the Kreuzberg original, business men to students, anyone could be your neighbour at a table. So order a 'Berliner Weisse' beer, along with some sausage, meat and potatoes. As you will see, there's everything here for a great evening in Berlin.