SIGHTS in Berlin:
To avoid having to repeat ourselves, we will proclaim it loudly: Anything that belongs to the UNESCO cultural heritage list is always worth a visit. The Berlin Museuminsel has belonged to the clib since 1999, and for very good reason. The five museums that call the Spree island home constitute a very unique architectural ensemble, which portrays the development of meseum design and architecture over more than a hundred years.So take a stroll across the island and take in the peace and beauty that is there for everyone to enjoy. Your journey could even take you into one of the museums; das Alte (old) Museum, das Neue (new) Museum, das Nationalgalerie, das Bode-Museum and das Pergamon-Museum. Our recommendation: Visit the Pergamon museum, as it has earnt its name worldwide through its reconstruction of the most imposing architectural complexes.
It may not sound like it belongs to a typical holiday, but it is certainly an impressive experience. So take some time to stroll along the old Berlin Wall, well, what is left of it. So start at Checkpoint Charlie, a museum full of interesting exhibits illustrating the story of the wall, its fall and the innovative fugitives that escaped to the west. Armed with knowledge, take a walk along the wall and have a think of the events that once took palce here.The longest surviving stretch of the Berlin wall is found along the Mühlen Strasse and has been painted by more than 100 artists from around the world. Over 1300 metres in length, it serves as a great guidepost and the largest open air gallery in the world. The paintings on the wall are not grim, but rather brightly coloured and speak of the great enthusiasm artists met the opening of the wall with. Don't forget to bring your camera!
If you already find the optical impressions of the big smoke overexerting, then you will only groan when confronted with yet another gallery. But this gallery is quite different - your eyes can take a break here, as your ears are the only ones that have to be attentive. Since 2007, the Berlin audible art scene has been allowed to vent its fury at Kollwitzplatz, in Prenzlauerberg.The Singuhr is not particularly of architectural interest, but it'ss the sound installations that really transform this building into a place of sensual experience. The curvy, earthy walls just add to the below-ground experience. So take a wander through the entwined rooms and let yourself become engulfed by the magical mix of space and sound.
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!
Usually, only members and plus ones may enter this private member club in Berlin Mitte. Unless you book a hotel room. The sizes of the 40 rooms range from 24 to 118 square metres - the largest ones even have their own dining and seating areas as well as free standing bath tubs. Those of you who don't want to spend the night rummaging through the vinyl collection should explore the rest of the house. There's a lot to discover: for example the bar at the swimming pool on the rooftop terrace, or the club bar with adjoined house kitchen - the former office of GDR president Wilhelm Pieck - which now serves as a restaurant and bar. Or the spa and the gym. Or maybe the plushy cinema that screens movies in 3D, HD and 35 millimetre. Sensational: the cheapest rooms for this exclusive establishment cost around 100 euro.
With 62 Alexander Schmidt-Vogel begins a second career - after his international success with his communication agency MediaCom. He transforms a historical building from 1822 in Berlin-Mitte into a 27-room hotel, designed to have thought-provoking effects on his guests. No room resembles another, and the styles are wildly garbled: Alexander Schmidt-Vogel glues, inspired by drafts from the Dusseldorf interior designer Uwe van Afferdeen, suitcases onto the walls and installs crystal chandeliers next to them, puts gym benches into the entrance area, Kartell furniture to Biedermeier tables and so-called maxi bottles with wine, water and champagne into the colourful minibars. The breakfast for hotel guests is served in Schmidt's Deli Deluxe. The restaurant in the souterrain, the Beef Club, offers large steaks from the American Angus cattle.
EAT in Berlin:
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.
What do you think about those crazy chefs who throw the conventions of consistency overboard and suddenly serve chocolate air and soup-dust? Not sure? Then you should absolutely drop in at Margaux and breathe in a serving of Iced Berlin Air or nibble on Mineralwater jelly. Our conclusion - more fascinating as absurd! The aromas explode, your tastebuds will be taken by surprise and the gourmet heart will dance for joy. Of course the Margaux undoubtably belongs to the five top restaurants in Berlin. However, it 's astonishing that you don't feel like an underdressed pile of misery hiding behind a miniscule portion. At the Margaux, you are able to enjoy a perfect meal in a comfortable atmosphere. And it is all thanks to the owner and head chef Stephan Hentschel, who principally uses only the freshest ingredients, extravagant wild herbs and Himalaya sauces.
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.
SHOPPING in Berlin:
In former times the Tagesspiegel was based at this very place, by now Andreas Murkudis' new concept store has found its way into the big hall on Potsdamer Straße 81E. Andreas Murkudis who owned a concept store in a historic backyard on Münzstraße in Berlin Mitte eight years ago is a passionate collector ever since. Today he presents selected products and collections on 1,000 square metres, including brands like Balenciaga, Maison Martin Margiela, Dries van Noten and fashion designed by his brother Kostas Murkudis. Also available in the new store: his favourite chocolate by Erich Hamann which he has sold for more than 20 years. But the range of offer exceeds fashion and design: you can find perfume, cosmetics and even liquors. The store which is seven metres high was developed by the architects' office AAS Gonzalez/Haase.
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.
We can imagine that Mr. Wolfgang Joop doesn't need to watch his hard-earned pennies anymore. Nonetheless, the fashion tzar has brought another label to the market. Lazing about doesn't come into question for the master of fashion: in the blink of an eye the master has whipped another cencept out of his non-existent top-hat.'Wunderkind' is the name of the latest label to come from Joop, which has allowed the designer to design himself anew. The creations are new and feminine, mostly straight, rarely frisky and somehow unbeatable.The new collection is also quite expensive and so maybe there's a bit more sense and pleasure to be had in searching through the vintage Joop collections. It's the sort of stuff that true fashion-victims wouldn't be seen dead wearing, but perfect for those that appreciate classic fashion, even if it's a few seasons old. The ambience here is almost as noble as the flagship store on the Markgrafenstrasse, where the latest collections are to be found.