nhow Berlin Soft beds, hard beats featured

Billed as Europe’s first “music hotel”, nhow Berlin, a brick behemoth on the north bank of the river Spree in Friedrichshain, was built to beguile those exploring Berlin’s music scene. The hotel is equipped with a conference center, music lounge, “guitar room service” and recording spaces run by the co-directors of the city’s legendary Hansa studio, where David Bowie wailed out “Heroes” in the shadow of the Berlin Wall.

Meeting somewhere halfway between 2001: A Space Odyssey and a mid-90s Kylie Minogue music video, the hotel’s Pop Art-inspired interior aesthetic from New York-based designer Karim Rashid certainly goes for the gusto, sporting an eye-popping array of neon colors, curved forms and the occasional gold leather couch. Rooms come in a choice of baby blue, hot pink or a muted gray—pick a room with a river view (60 percent of the 304 rooms have one) in case your eyes need a more placid focal point.

Crowning the building is a three-story, aluminum skinned upper tower for the studios and suites, fronted with double-skinned glass on the Spree side and cantilevered 21 meters out from the building over the riverbank. At ground level, Chef Patrick Rexhausen, a native Berliner, serves up modern interpretations of German-French cuisine at Fabrics restaurant, which also offers fine views of the Spree, albeit from a lower altitude.

Hotel Otto A personal touch

This cheery apartment building-cum-hotel is the welcome newcomer on an old block. Plugged into the upmarket Charlottenburg area, Otto experienced a recent face lift at the hands of Swedish designer Lars Bork, who brightened the space with healthy splashes of blue, magenta, green and black colors to achieve a contemporary chic look.

It’s easy to tell why young professionals favor the establishment, from its faultless service to its immediate accessibility. The 45 rooms take many incarnations (standard, comfort, studio or suite with a private rooftop sundeck), but each comes equipped with bottles of Aveda products in bathrooms, flatscreen TVs and wi-fi. Organic produce and weekly changing delicacies—such as Alsatian meat and cheese platters—greet guests at the very minimalist, very clean breakfast nook, as does the super fair checkout price of 80-120 Euros per night.

Chessboxing Rental Apartment Check, mate

You’ll likely feel in control when resting your head on one of five beds with playful Muhammad Ali, Bobby Fischer, Mike Tyson, Miyamoto Musashi or Anantoly Karpov themes.

These fully tricked-out rental apartments—where international chessboxers stay during tournament season—offer TVs with DVD players, fully equipped kitchens, DSL internet, and of course a chess set and boxing bag. These generous spaces start at 130€ per day plus 50€ for clean sheets and towels.

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