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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.

The Blue Home The life aquatic

If hotel concierges and room service are your bag, stop reading. If, however, you’re a bit of a hotel-phobe and things like a quiet, leafy lined street, calm, tranquil interiors and the luxury of having a private studio sounds far more appealing, then the Blue Home in Prenzlauer Berg might just be your perfect refuge.

As the sister venue of the terracotta hued, Med-inspired Ackselhaus, the 120-year old Blue Home is just two doors down and offers an alternative ambiance focusing on watery, marine styled interiors, natural light and tropical fish tanks. Kooky rather than tacky, the life aquatic here is beyond peaceful. Even the outdoor courtyard and conservatory features plenty of liquid inspiration in the form of quirky water fountains and mermaid carvings.

Fortunately, a balance between understated and under-the-sea is maintained in each of the lovingly designed apartments. Featuring spacious high ceilings and designer materials, each studio is minimalist enough to cancel out Blue Home’s aquatic tendencies, yet comforting enough (iDocks, rain showers and organic toiletries included) to make you feel suitably at home. If you’re worried about it being more homely than escapist, fret not. A kicking state-of-the-art surround sound system, harem style beds and a banging tropical fruit salad breakfast ensure the luxe box gets ticked.

Amano City slicker

Located at the popular junction of Rosenthaler Straße and Auguststraße, Hotel Amano has an extensive offering at an affordable price. A touch of luxury is brought to the foyer and ground level space with rich shades of ruby, gold and warm gray. Designed by Büro Gold, rooms and apartments are in contrast minimal and comfortable, predominantly white highlighted with select furnishings in red and black.

The rooftop terrace is special, affording you with stunning views over the city. Free Wi-Fi, a business centre and bikes to hire at your leisure are just a few of the convenient features. The floor-to-ceiling windows in the dining hall let you observe the morning activities while you enjoy the fresh buffet-style breakfast.

Miniloft Maxi pads

What happens if you’re an architect searching for the holy grail of accommodation—the “home away from home”? You create it yourself, naturally. At least that’s what Britta and Matthew Griffin, the architects behind these self-contained apartments in Mitte, have done.

The once run-down apartment block now features 14 elegantly redesigned “mini-lofts,” each cradling ultra-modern furnishings, well-equipped kitchenettes and plushy beds. Guests are offered complete privacy and an escape from nagging hotel policies, and at 80-200 Euros per night, it’s a steal. Britta and Matthew, meanwhile, were so pleased with the result that they moved in themselves.

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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