Oh Berlin! I had no idea how fabulous that city is. I mean, I had inklings and Guillaume always told me how cool it was but… when you arrive, you get it. Berlin is a city bursting in artistic expression, design, good food, lovely people and a place to simply enjoy life. We had four days there and here I’ll share with you some of our accommodation, food and bar highlights with a few random photos thrown in.
It’s a huge city and we’re very much the ones for soaking up the vibe of a place so we tend to limit our areas. Note that this is not a sightseeing guide, a list of the best museums are easy to find. What I always find difficult to navigate are the places to sleep, eat, drink and shop. We did our research, so if you’re planning on visiting one day, I’ve got you sorted, here I’ll share what we tried and loved over the weekend.
The 25 Hours Hotel Bikini was on our short-list of hotels to stay and luckily at the time of booking, they had a jungle room overlooking Berlin Zoo available.
The Bikini House was built in the 1950’s and has been refurbished today into a boutique hotel of design and urban or jungle-inspired features. I have to say the urban jungle element was a draw card for me with one side of the hotel overlooking the greenery of Berlin’s Tiergarten park, the other west Berlin’s cityscape and landmarks. There are too many cool unique features to mention here alone however here are my highlights:
> The rooms! Everything from the quality bedding (we slept so well) to the ensuite with a rain shower and special mention goes to relaxing on a hammock in our room overlooking the lush green zoo.
> Wall illustrations throughout the hotel by the Japanese artist Yoshi Sislay.
> Each room has an object to borrow during your stay. It’s a surprise and could be anything from day bag to jewellery or a bike.
> Original design elements and nooks throughout the hotel.
> Dining and bar facilities – see below.
> We didn’t have time to experience the Sauna but I wish we did – it looks over the zoo.
If you do your research, you won’t be lacking for good food options in Berlin. Other than the quintessential wurst sausage we had to have in a beer garden (you have to do it ha!), the food was excellent quality. Here are our recommendations for cafés and restaurants.
A great laid back cafe to enjoy brunch or stop for a good coffee. The staff are friendly and the interior is a mix of distressed retro eighties vintage. They’ve got delicious salads, tasting boards and eggs anyway you wish. The price is very reasonable which is a bonus.
This café came as a recommendation from my friend Igor (see my surprise meet up below). He had brunch here the day prior and he gave it the thumbs up. I can see why. The décor is gorgeous inside, yet the weather was so good that we decided sit outside under the trees. We were lucky to get a table straight away as there was a quite a queue when we left, so keep that in mind, although that’s always a good sign. It’s not my thing but according to Igor (and everyone else) their eggs benedict is a must! I had a delicious slow baked egg and Guillaume had the pancakes. Yum!
We ate here our first night. The food was modern German and most importantly, delicious! I really love how they broke the interior up with some tables dressed with white linen cloths and others communal and a little rustic. Elegant yet laid back with a great atmosphere and service.
This was truly a culinary experience. They serve a set-menu but don’t let that worry you, they have a great reputation and each of our plates were clean to the last crumb. The dishes were fresh, a little experimental yet not too overly ambitious – my perfect combination. They know their wine also, which is always a bonus. You won’t find any attitude here, just the best of food, wine, service and ambience.
This café / restaurant is situated in the Hotel Bikini. It serves eclectic East Mediterranean cuisine and shares the amazing view of west Berlin and the leafy canopy of Tiergarten park Zoo with the Monkey Bar (see below).
We enjoyed a delicious lunch here on our first day and breakfast as part of the hotel our first morning. The food is really good and the risk here if you stay in the hotel is that you dine here every day. If you can take your eyes off the view, you’ll love the lush jungle style décor with a vintage glasshouse structure perched in the middle. Even though it’s situated in the hotel, this is very much used by locals.
Thanks to Instagram, the fabulous Igor and I realised we were both in Berlin at the same time! That afternoon Guillaume and I had so much fun meeting up with him at this roof top terrace in Mitte. It had a cool local vibe, a perfect place to soak up the rays plus it has THE BEST view of The Fernsehturm!
This is the rooftop bar of the 25 Hours Hotel Bikini and is hugely popular with the locals. The bar somehow gave me the nostalgic feeling of one of the rooftop bars you’d find in Sydney. They have a fun fit out with loads of areas to sit indoor and out. Best of all they have sweeping views over Berlin Zoo. You can sit there sipping cocktails and watch the orangutans monkey around. Like I mentioned, it’s popular so get ready to line for drinks on a weekend evening. The afternoons sit back, relax and enjoy table service.
If you’ve spent some time in Berlin and have some favourite eateries and bars, I’d love to know your favourites so leave a comment with the details. I will be going back so I look forward to discovering more next time!
I also visited some gorgeous stores over the weekend and will share shopping highlights with you soon.
// iPhone and DSLR Photos by Mel Chesneau for Styled Canvas