The Michelberger Hotel in Berlin has been on our hipster hotel hit list for a few years now. Finally, we had the chance to go! A Leonard Cohen soundtrack and retro glasses of well-priced prosecco in the hotel’s candle-lit bar kicked-off the perfect sojourn in Berlin…
The neighbourhood: Looking on a tourist map of Berlin you feel like the Michelberger might be a little bit out-of-the-way – but not at all. The location offers all the transport links, from trains to bike paths, to get you into the heart of the action (naked sun-bathing in the Tiergarten, jostling it out with the tourists at Brandenburg Gate, strolling the bijou boutiques in Mitte or tagging hapless passers-by according to your tastes). But more importantly in Berlin it’s the suburbs where the good stuff is happening – so if you want to eat, drink and make merry, you’re in close proximity to the emerging areas of Kreuzberg and Neukölln. Note that East Side Gallery – the largest remaining painted stretch of the Berlin Wall is just around the corner.
The Hotel: The Michelberger weds a bohemian aesthetic and happening vibe with a friendly welcome (OK, so it’s less of a wedding duo and more of a love triangle). It seems to have taken the best of those 20-something travelling experiences (camaraderie, sociable communal areas, friendly service) and combined them with the best of hotel living – clean rooms, fresh linen and a more sophisticated design aesthetic. The cool bar area is great at any time of the day – if you find yourself knackered at the end of a big day in Berlin and can’t convince your feet to take you back out over the threshold, there’s no shame in spending a night in. (Well, only a little bit.)
What we loved: The creative atmosphere, the playful design aesthetic, the friendliness of the staff. Late check-outs on request for night performers such as burlesque dancers/DJs/musos/ and other creative slash types. While we didn’t take advantage of them we thought the free daily activities (eg: Sunday outing to the Mauerpark Flea Market) were a nice touch for travellers in the mood for company and hassle-free entertainment.
Minuses/Room to improve: Rooms on the first floor may be exposed to some bar noise; some room categories (Loft, Band) have mezzanine sleeping areas accessed by precarious and narrow staircases – not recommended for the non-mobile, the non-thin or if you’re planning to get drunk a lot. (In the latter case, we recommend crashing out on the day bed on the ground floor.) Mezzanine rooms are warm and could get rather hot in summer – if you of the sensitive ilk, pack ear-plugs so you can sleep with the windows open without being woken by traffic and assorted merry pranksters of the night. While the cleaning staff get our full sympathy (imagine lugging cleaning implements up those teeny stairs) some rooms could do with a little more maintenance – the odd scuff mark removed etc – to keep things looking sharp.
Tips: Ask for a room on the third or second floor for more light, better views, and more distance from the bar/street noise. Those facing the main road will get the sun in the morning. Transport enthusiasts and urban planners will enjoy watching the stream and interaction of pedestrians, cyclists, tramways, the U-Bahn and S-Bahn lines and street traffic. The hotel has two excellent maps at reception featuring their personal guide to the city – one of cultural sites; one of bars and restaurants. We recommend you pick one up.
Bookings: for bookings contact the Michelberger Hotel.
Lullaby?: That’s too easy. Fall asleep to the Leonard Cohen classic…