Reminders of the city’s often sordid history can be seen everywhere and yet against this backdrop a modern, hip culture has developed. Old buildings neighbour those that look dramatically chic, making the place an eclectic mix of structures and landmarks, surrounded by ongoing construction and urban regeneration.
However, somehow it seems to work, and a hotel like The Weinmeister doesn’t seem out of place. This fashionable little gem is situated on Weinmeister Strase in Berlin Mitte, the city centre of Berlin.
Staying there, you’re within walking distance of many of Berlin’s hotspots, including the historically rich Alexanderplatz and Hackescher Markt, a buzzing square filled with shops, restaurants and artists looking to make a bit of cash off the tourists who pass by on their way to the S train.
If you blink you might miss the graffiti-covered door and understated signage outside the hotel. Graffiti is commonplace all over the city, so a burst of crazy drawings doesn’t really stand out. If you look closely, though, the door and facade become more visible and you realise that your temporary home is tucked away behind the colourful entryway.
True to its description as a “design hotel”, attention has been paid to all aspects of its decor. All of the furniture is both fun and functional, and the walls in the stairwells are covered in vibrant murals.
The hotel is ultra-modern – there are no TVs in the rooms, only Apple Mac computers, and the shower area forms part of the bedroom. The rooms are small but have been designed to make the most of the space. The back of the bed’s huge headboard also serves as a small closet where you can hang your clothing. There is no fussy furniture, only a desk and a couch.
It’s a strange feeling waking up at The Weinmeister. You’re surrounded by modernity, but if you glance out the window, you can see ornate older buildings across the street. Much like Berlin itself, the hotel seems to have a split personality when it comes to defining where its heart truly lies.
The staff – who all wear the obligatory heavy-rimmed black glasses that scream “hipster” – are helpful and attentive – even when dealing with a red-faced journalist turning maps upside down in her quest to conquer the city.
The hotel’s website states that the hotel is aimed at “business travellers from the film, music, fashion and other creative fields, as well as leisure travellers”. The former group would definitely feel right at home at The Weinmeister, while the latter might miss the creature comforts offered by your normal, if somewhat boring, hotels.
Breakfast at the hotel is particularly interesting. The number of black-rimmed glasses increases and you can’t help but wonder why all of these cool kids have travelled to Berlin.
Although the hotel’s rates are a bit pricey, the rooms are well appointed and you probably won’t find anywhere cheaper that is as centrally situated.
A nice touch in the rooms is the bathroom goodies. There are special shower gels and shampoos for him and her, each with their own unusual fragrance – much better than the tiny bottles of oddly scented goo you usually find when travelling.
If you’re looking for a traditional hotel experience, perhaps try and find a hotel belonging to one of the usual chains. However, if you want something a little more nouveau Berlin, then give The Weinmeister a try.