STAY in Berlin:
The Arte Luise is a design hotel, and a comfortable one at that. The classical building, built in 1825, inspired its two (at the time) young ownrs to model a hotel of the Chelsea, which was always a favourite dig for artists and literati. And there's high expectations here, as the rooms are designed by creative minds of varying origins; such as Cologne, New York and the Berlin College of Arts. Rooms hold their decor for a maximum of three years before being stripped-out and totally redesigned. But be warned, for the purposes of pondering it could be a tad too loud in some of the rooms. So for those who don't work like Bukowski, then ask for one of the calmer rooms - there's a few of them. One night in a double room can be had from ? 79
An intergalactic hotel in the middle of Berlin's Friedrichshain. Sound funny? Well it is! And according to the hotel's owners, it is also a favourite hideout for Austrian yodellers, Swedish models, British rockstars , Japanese business men, German race-car drivers and American dudes. SO you don't belong to the aforementioned categories? Shame, then the Michelberger Hotel is without a doubt worth the light speed trip, as it is one of the hippest addresses in town!There are 119 beds in the former factory, which are all hot and a few screws loose. What does that mean? Every room is a bit different, completely relaxed and very trashily furnished. The lobby is at times the coolest club in the city and the smorgasbord is open to all guest at any time of night and day and the reception is an entire space-shuttle of charming crew members. Those who fancy unusual hotels should prep their engines, start the countdown and blast into Michelberger hotel. Double rooms are available from ? 70 a night.
Everyday is honey-sweet at this hotel. Wellness is guaranteed with every booking, whether you are just married or not even married at all! Although the Honigmond hotel doesn't appear that spectacular at first sight, it has won several awards for its relaxed, individually-styled rooms that have been tastefully fitted out with antiques. Dont let yourself be fooled by the unexceptional fassade, as a real comfort oasis is hidden beneath. Especially summer guests can enjoy this hotel's highlight: the garden, which will instantly whisk you away to a southern land. In earlier times, the area was used as a workshop for race-horse teams, however there are no signs of it's past to be felt. As a tip: when the hotel is fully booked, you can always kill some time in the hotel's restaurant, which is only 300m away and equally pretty.
SIGHTS in Berlin:
Even if your ablity to absorb history is already exhausted, you should still go to the Jewish Museum. This museum is one of the most excellent examples of creative and innovative museum architecture in the world - Daniel Liebeskind took an exploding Star of David as the design template. Interest for the tragic story of the Berlin Jews only grows as you take a walk through this unique memorial.The museum is not only an archive for the past, but also a center for German-Jewish culture. Here you are invited to try and grapple the history of the Jews piece-by-piece. Outside the museum, visitors are arsked to think about members of the Jewish community murdered in war. Those who are attentive will notice the so called stumbling blocks (Stolpersteine), which are memorial plaques scattered throughout the entire city. Even more imposing is the memorial for the murdered Jews by Peter Eismann: 2,711 short columns at places nearby Potsdamer Platz, to remind us of the six million victims.
Off we go to the Grunewald and to its highest point at 115 metres: the Teufelsberg (devil's mountain), an elevation that was made from WWII debris and attracts walkers, mountain bikers and kite-flyers to the fresh open air in summer and cross-country skiers in the winter. The view is great, covering the area surrounding Berlin and it's city skyline. And this is very reason why this place was once a spy post. During the cold war, the Americans and the British used to position their listening devices here. Every now and again curious ones stumble into the dilapidated facility, even though it is prohibited and officiall cordoned-off.It looks like the building permission expired here, as a considerable apartment and hotel complex was once in the works, along with David Lynch's aspirations for a university and meditation centre. Thankfully nothing became of these plans and the Teufelsberg remains wild mountain territory, apart from the local vineyard. Those who are searching for a green space to recharge their batteries should definitely do it here. A small tip: don't forget to bring your swimming gear, as you will pass by the Teufel lake on the way up the mountain. But if you do forget them, don't worry, as the naturist community also has a good presence.
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.
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.
When was that again? Nobody knows for sure. But at one point in Berlin, there came the day when Austrian cuisine became the in-thing. Austrians with friends in Germany would post off cheese-sausages and Manner waffle biscuits to their poor friends, relieiving the pain until the next Wiener Schnitzel.So save your trip to the post office and send those wistful ones to the Alpenstück. Everything here is freshly prepared using only the freshest ingredients. Bonus. Another bonus is the menu, which is full of delicacies from southern Germany and Austria, such as; Spätzle, Schnitzel and Apfelstrudel. The true heart of the mountains. What more could you want?A shot of Obstler liquor perhaps? Then take a pick from 40 of the best around!As another bonus, the restaurant is beautifully furnished. Personal touches such as the shindle covered walls really add to the traditional touch. However, you can leave your lederhosen at home.
SHOPPING in Berlin:
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.
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.