Berlin is arguably the superlative city break, because there is not just one Berlin but many. From the hip bars of Kreuzberg and and Neukölln to the green, to the art museums of West Berlin, plus two zoos, fine parks and of course a complex and thoroughly memorialised history.
The best hotels in Berlin are similarly wide-ranging and eclectic and there's a design-led address to suit just about every sensibility and any trip. From a party weekend to a family break, Berlin has them all. Grab a U-Bahn ticket and come with us as we tour the boutique hotels of the city, from slinky retro boltholes to high-design family apartments.
The best hotels in Berlin
1. Sir Savigny
Located in the literary quarter Charlottenburg, close to Savignyplatz, in a tenement building constructed in 1893, the design of Sir Savigny is eclectic and bohemian and the feel is distinctly bookish and culture-driven. Sir Savigny, by the way, is a fictional flaneur who inspires the aesthetic. There's a a big emphasis on the laid back communal areas, library with books and chess tables. There's also a lounge with slouchy modernist chairs and a shared kitchen space for socializing.
Design is by Tel Aviv-based studio Baranowitz Kronenberg Architecture and blends the period elements of the building with more stark contemporary elements typical of Berlin today, like floor-to-ceiling glass windows and concrete pillars. Artworks from local artist Katharina Musick finish the look.
The 40 or so rooms and suites are designed by Amsterdam-based Saar Zafrir and again blend more retro, glam Art Deco elements and contemporary Berlin industrial chic.
Book a stay at Sir Savigny. Rooms from $100.
2. Soho House Berlin
Soho House Berlin is a kind of best-of-Berlin look-book spanning the gamut from Deco opulence to Bauhaus touches.
The 65-room and 20-apartment address is located across eight floors in a spacious building that started life as a department store in the late1920s. The listed historical building was designed in the New Objectivity style by architects Georg Bauer and Siegfried Friedlander. After Hitler rose to power, the building was taken from the two owners, Hermann Golluber and Hugo Halle, who were Jewish, and it was repurposed as an HQ for the Reich Youth. After the war it became a Communist Party administrative building until the Berlin Wall fell in 1989. It was returned to its original ownership, before being sold to the UK-based hotel group.
Today it has been transformed into a chic home from home, a kind of vast hip townhouse. The Soho House team have invested the space with their usual mix of exuberant British parlour vibes and elements that incorporate the local culture. We love the look of the dark parquet floors in the apartments and the kitsch details, like the glam chandeliers and custom velvet headboards.
The hotel is on the edge of the lively Mitte district, with plenty of bars, restaurants and shops nearby, and it's a short walk to Alexanderplatz.
Book a stay at Soho House Berlin (Members and Friends only). Rooms from $200.
Located in the family-friendly Prenzlauer Berg locality, Linnen offers a cosy and comforting environment, designed to feel welcoming and homely,
Cozy is the vibe at Linnen, a hotel that is designed to feel like a home. The style is eclectic without being too experimental. There's a distinctly natural feel with plenty of, well, linen, but also pine panels and earth tones. Impressively, the address also runs entirely on renewable energy. Meanwhile, some of the finest elements of the 19th-century building have been restored, like the large original windows. Natty retro lamps and thoughtfully chosen artworks finish the look. Each of the six rooms is styled a little differently.
It's an intimate address and you'll be welcomed by the owners themselves.
Book a stay at Linnen. Rooms from $180.
4. Provocateur Berlin
Provocateur, as the name might suggest, is a slinky affair. It's for a burlesque-y 1920s Paris feel, with plenty of velvet and low-level lighting and seductive rooms, some with baths next to beds. The design is once again from Saar Zafrir, as with Sir Savigny, who mixes elements of German, French and Chinese design.
The sensual styling continues into the bathrooms with their black granite-effect tile and rainfall showers fit for an old-school R&B video.
The food and drink offerings add to the charm. In the Golden Phoenix restaurant, chef Duc Ngo presides over a Chinese-French fusion offering, including a delectable tasting menu spread over four courses cheekily titled: Foreplay, Intermediate, Climax and Sweet Seduction. Provocateur indeed!
Book a stay Provocateur Berlin. Rooms from $200.
5. Bikini 25 Hours hotel
This hotel is a light, leafy and modern kind of a place, featuring a kind of urban jungle design courtesy of Studio Ausslinger. It's playful and chilled and rooms even feature hammocks!
The property is located near the Zoo, which is really played with design-wise: there's a wellbeing area centred around the "Jungle sauna", which has views of the Zoo and there's an indoor-outdoor botanical feel throughout.
Bike tours are available on design-forward Schindelhauer bikes and there's a cool lifestyle shop open round the clock.
Book a stay at Bikini 25 Hours Hotel. Rooms from $200.
6. Hotel Q
One of the best things about the Berlin hotel scene is how varied it is and this hotel is different again.
The swish, futuristic design comes from LA-based and globally operating GRAFT architects, which has created the look of a head-spinning amount of projects across the world, from train stations to huge retail spaces to individual projects like door handles.
The 77 bedrooms are experimental yet harmonious spaces, with plenty of minimalist white and clean lines but also little eccentric touches, such as the combined bed and bath units in some rooms!
The Kurfürstendamm shopping street is right outside the door.
There's packages on offers for lovers (champagne on arrival) and birthdays (including cake). The spa features Japanese bathing elements and a Finnish sauna.
Book a stay at Hotel Q. Rooms from $120.
7. SO Berlin Das Stue
This five-star boutique hotel is located in a particularly lovely part of town, with the huge Tiergarten park and Berlin Zoo on the doorstep (you can see it from some rooms). Buzzy Charlottenburg is nearby.
The address is big on architectural interest: it's housed in a heritage-protected building of the former Royal Danish Embassy, built in the late 1930s. Interiors come courtesy of superstar Spanish designer Patricia Urquiola known for her chic yet liveable design. Rooms feature high ceilings and floor-to-ceiling windows finished with modern, characterful touches. The restored white marble staircase in the lobby is a highlight.
The food offering is overseen by the famous Catalan chef Paco Pérez with the Michelin-starred Cinco high-end gourmet option and a more relaxed option, aptly named Casual Restaurant. The chic spa comes from Susanne Kaufmann from the Austrian Alps.
Book a stay at SO Berlin Das Stue. Rooms from around $350.
8. Gorki Apartments
These high design luxury self catering apartments are located downtown right on the doorstep of Rosenthaler Platz. If the ambiance is thoroughly welcoming, the design has nonetheless been thought out and finished exquisitely. We love the zany tile in the bathrooms and the natty rugs that make the space feel like home.
There's no common rooms but a large staff on hand to assist with any request who are available on WhatsApp at any time. It's family friendly and dogs are also welcome.
Book a stay at Gorki Apartments. Rooms from $350.
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Hannah Meltzer is a Londoner by birth and Parisian by adoption. She previously worked on the staff of The Daily Telegraph’s travel desk, before moving to Paris in 2017. She writes regularly about travel and Parisian culture for The Telegraph as an expert destination correspondent. She has also written for The Independent, The Times, Vanity Fair, openDemocracy and Télérama. Recently she wrote a podcast series about Parisian culture for an LA-based production company.
Hannah is based in the 18th arrondissement in the less touristy side of Montmartre behind the Sacré-Coeur basilica. Though her life sometimes resembles a hammy cliché — sketching in sidewalk terraces, walking her beloved dog Babette through the streets of Montmartre — she is adamant she has not lost her London humour and open-mindedness, or her accent.
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