I have a confession to make. Sometimes I fantasise about leaving my beloved Brussels and moving to Berlin. Yes. That city haunts me ever since I set foot in it. I keep coming back and every new inch I discover makes me love it even more.
I’ve even found my new home. It is so “berlinish” that you could stay in and still feel like you’re visiting the city. It’s called the 25 hours Hotel Bikini and it’s so many shades of cool that I’m jumping a little as I write.
The hotel is located next to the Zoo and just above the Ku’damm shopping avenue. Upon arrival and once you’ve stopped sighing stupid at the hall’s coolitude, you can take one of two elevators. One takes you to the hotel reception and rooms. The other one straight to the tenth floor, home to Neni restaurant and the Monkey bar. First, let’s go to the hotel. Come with me.
Checking in and the Amazing 3rd floor
Press 3 and the trip begins. Yes, in the very elevator. The walls are screens and they show you magical graphic creations that make you go wow. ‘Ding’. You’re on the third floor. Walk into the reception and be welcomed by the super nice Bikini crew. They gave us candy and a greeting postcard together with our room keys. Dankeschön.
But wait. Before we go up to the room, let’s check out the rest of the floor. I notice it smells amazing so I follow the “croissant” smell to my left. The woodfire bakery… And the newsroom with tons of newspapers, books and cosy sofas. You can wash down the homemade bread and pastries with locally roasted coffee. They even whip up their own butter and legend has it their cheesecake is to die for.
Holy cow. There are huge hammocks hanging in a corner. And they’re made of pillows! Like tons of ‘pillows-brochettes’ tied together waiting for you to doze off in them. How do you say ‘siesta‘ in German? Oh, and there is a Kiosk with cool souvenirs, postcards and design objects. Everything is curated by the Gestalten Verlag and you seriously want to buy it all.
Past the reception desk I keep on exploring and get to the ‘Wohnzimmer lounge’. Several booths with iMacs await the working guests. Many living rooms invite them to relax, chat and mingle. The atmosphere is so cool that I feel even the dullest person could find inspiration. I’m excited. Are you excited? I’m overwhelmed by the awesomeness. I’m afraid I won’t be going out much. Time to go see the room.
Rooms with a (wild) view
The 25hs Hotel Bikini has 149 rooms in 6 different categories. Half of them are ‘Urban’ rooms, overlooking the city landscape. The other half are ‘Jungle’ rooms and look onto the Zoo. How do you fancy a monkey view? We stayed in a Jungle Room and had so much fun trying to guess what animals we heard. The rooms are so nice… bright. spacious. pragmatic. And so much fun. Instead of the typical “do not disturb” sign, you have a whole booklet with different messages to choose from so you can inform/warn the outter world of your state of mind. I loved the “Imagine the rolling stones stayed in the room” and the “there’s a monster behind this door” signs. The whole hotel uses ‘Stop the water while using me!” amenities. The sustainable cosmetics are all about preserving one of our planet’s most precious resources: WATER. Here’s a little thing I didn’t like about the bathroom though… While the toilets are in a separate little room, there are no doors to the shower. Not that Kathryn and I haven’t seen each other’s everything, having spent so many holidays at the beach together but still… I mean, I sing in the shower!
Food: Bakery, Neni & Monkey Bar
All the prettiness has gotten me hungry as a beast. I already told you about Neni here. It’s the hotel’s restaurant but it’s so good that it feeds guests and locals alike. The cuisine has strong Middle Eastern features, but you can also see some German, Austrian or even Russian influences. Especially during breakfast (19 EUR) where you can have some currywurst, müesli and other delicacies. Bottomline: NENI is delicious and the prices are very democratic. Every time I eat there I’m surprised by the bill. Last time, I went with 3 friends and we ordered 6 little dishes to share (which was more than enough!) and we ended up paying something like 13 euros/head. Please trust me on this: you need to order the Baked Sweet Potatoes (best I ever had) and the Hamshuka (humus with minced beef and lamb and spicy chili). Their falafel is also superb.
Now that you’re smiling wide, food in your tummy, it’s time for some Monkey Business across the hall, in the Monkey Bar. The place is busy and locals love the joint. Can you blame them seeing the breathtaking view? While the DJ plays his set, find a place on the wooden rows of seats overlooking the apes. Don’t you love the Aztec-printed cushions? Oh, and the pipe-lamps? I wish I could build one at home. If weather allows, you can go to the terrace and watch the sunset or just enjoy the Berlin sweet air. Two drinks I recommend: the Rhubarb Fizz (Gin, Rhubarb Juice, Lemon Juice, vanilla syrup and soda water) and the Monkey’s Slushy (Gin, Elderflower Liqueur, Lime Juice and Grapefruit Lemonade).
Getting around by bike or mini
Alright, alright. You can’t stay in the hotel the WHOLE stay. There is more Berlin outside the 25hs Hotel Bikini walls. And to move around, you can rent a bike free of charge and even a MINI (for free as well) to take a spin through the city.
Brussels, if I ever leave you for Berlin, if I move in the 25hs hotel Bikini for good, at least now you know why.
25 Hours Hotel Bikini Berlin, Budapester Straße 40, 10787 Berlin, T: +49 30 12 02 21 20 0, firstname.lastname@example.org