Berlin is an annual stop-off for me these days as it’s a regular fixture on the international technology trade show circuit, which looks something like this: Las Vegas–>Barcelona–>Berlin… rinse and repeat.
Due to the fact that most of the time I’m in Berlin I’m on business trips, I’ve been fortunate to enjoy some of the fancier digs about town.
I’ve stayed in the Wyndham Grand, which is swanky in a business-functional kind of way and had the most enormous bathrooms I’ve ever seen. Seriously, the shower was just the best, and practically bigger than my flat in London.
I’ve stayed in the Lux 11, a kooky design aparthotel with the showers next to the beds and fab views of the television tower in Alexanderplatz. Standing on the juliet balcony watching the sunset kind of makes you feel like you are in a film. Plus Berlin’s burritos can be found only a few doors down (proximity to Dolores is an important factor to consider when considering any Berlin accommodation).
I’ve even stayed at the Regent, which in all its chandelier and wood-panelled splendour is rated number one on TripAdvisor for the whole city dontcha know. When I arrived I slinked into my dressing gown and slippers and ordered Michelin starred room service to nibble while I worked. In the morning I had two breakfasts, and one was pancakes. That was pretty rad.
Still, nothing compares to what must be the best Airbnb experience in maybe the whole world. I feel bad because I didn’t fill the form out to tell the host how much we loved staying there in time, but I’m hoping I can rectify it now with a rave review.
The thing is, there were cats. There were two cats and they were fluffy and cuddly and delightful and one could even shake your hand in exchange for a treat. Wow.
The apartment itself was on the top floor and there was no lift. This isn’t the kind of thing that bothers me, but I know for some people it might be an issue. Our host kindly told us to help ourselves to food from the fridge, adding that we shouldn’t bother washing up (very sweet, but we obviously did). The bathroom and kitchen were clean, nicely decorated and perfect for two people.
The bedroom was large and light and spacious and very prettily decorated — all bare floorboards and white linens. As someone who is obsessed with sleeping environments and comfort levels, I can vouch for it feeling both relaxing and homey.
We loved the huge lounge, with its massive comfy sofas that made a lovely place to lie around with the cats in the evening.
Overall we couldn’t have felt luckier to have found this place and have it to ourselves for the weekend. Mia, our hostess, was helpful and charming too.
The cats were so sweet that we basically didn’t want to leave the apartment, but we did manage to a couple of times, and it was worth it.
Our favourite place nearby was the Barn. The Barn roastery and brew bars are right at the centre of Berlin’s third wave coffee movement — about the most hipster movement in the most hipster place one could imagine. We had strudel and vanilla cream along with really genuinely excellent coffee (we take our coffee pretty seriously, by the way).
The area we were in was Prenzlauer Berg. It’s super convenient for the city centre — about a ten minute walk from Alexanderplatz — and is also very gentrified these days. As you can see from above though, this doesn’t mean it doesn’t have the Berlin cool factor. Of all the districts of central Berlin, this was perhaps the last little pocket I didn’t really know before my most recent trip, and it totally took me surprise. I could have stayed there for a whole week trying out all the various bars and restaurants.
Because we were so close to the oldest beer garden in the city, we decided that we should make the most of the balmy September evening and have dinner and drinks outside in the sunshine. I love German beer gardens — that kind of scene is pretty much my ideal night out. Pratergarten was no different.
Oh, and I nearly forgot to mention that it was only five minutes walk from Dolores, the burrito place. Told you it was an important consideration.
Now to the important part — the cats.
We loved how cuddly these little ones were. They were so friendly and curious. Everywhere we went they followed — not in a needy way — they were just happy to play and generally really liked company.
At one point I woke in the night to find one cat curled up on my chest and one curled up on my legs and I don’t think in that moment I could have possibly been happier.
I still kinda miss them now. What a delight; what a perfect stay.
Berlin’s five star hotel offering however? Needs moar cats.
Disclaimer: Ironically for most of my time in Berlin I don’t pay for accommodation, but I did pay to stay here and I’d do the same again!