Your bases of operations to see the new Berlin.
Originally Appeared on Condé Nast Traveler
Start us off with an overview and an entrance.
A renovated 1950s high-rise is home to the Berlin outpost of this hip German hotel chain, which is sandwiched between the Berlin Zoo and the trendy concept mall Bikini Berlin. The third-floor reception-café area, dubbed Bikini Island, sports a playful jungle-themed design, with tropical plants, stuffed monkeys, and hammocks perfectly positioned to look out over the zoo’s monkey and bird cages. In the adjacent lounge, guests can spin vinyl on a turntable hooked up to a towering stack of speakers, play old-school pinball, or chill out on comfy, custom-made modular sofas.
Who do you see around you?
The creative set feels right at home in this trendy boutique hotel, but there are also businesspeople seeking an upscale stay without the stuffiness.
Tell us about the rooms.
The 149 rooms come in three sizes—M, L, and XL—though all are on the smaller side. Urban rooms look out onto busy Breitscheidplatz and the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church; the quieter, zoo-facing Jungle rooms come at a premium. Their open-plan design is fun and funky, with custom wood built-ins, platform beds, colorful modern furniture, and hand-drawn wall illustrations by Japanese artist Yoshi Sislay. Jungle rooms are cozy, with warm wood flooring and walls, while the edgier Urban rooms feature exposed concrete ceilings and walls. Some Jungle rooms have hammocks strung in front of floor-to-ceiling windows. The green- or gray-tiled free-standing sinks are incorporated into the room; the rainforest showers are spacious; and larger rooms have freestanding tubs—oddly, next to the bed.
Any little goodies of note?
The L and XL categories include the free use of a Schindelhauer bike (which hangs on the wall). All rooms have portable Bluetooth speakers and bike bags that guests are free to use throughout their stay. If you need your caffeine in the morning though, note that there's no coffee setup in rooms, nor is there room service.
And for food and drink—what do they have onsite?
Neni, the rooftop restaurant, is fashioned from an old greenhouse, with glass walls and hanging plants everywhere you look; unsurprisingly, the best tables are the ones overlooking the zoo or out on the breezy wraparound terrace. The menu here consists of Mediterranean and Persian share plates and a 38€ ($42) tasting menu with around 10 courses. Just opposite is the Monkey Bar, one of Berlin’s most popular cocktail spots, thanks to its panoramic city and zoo views from inside the windowed bar or out on the wraparound terrace. Drinks, though pricey, are expertly crafted with fresh herbs and fruits; try the vodka-based Bini’s Monkey Ponkey, whose proceeds benefit the zoo’s mother orangutan, Bini. A casual third-floor café sells pastries from the hotel's in-house bakery, plus coffee, local juices, and assorted snacks.
Any other features you absolutely must mention?
All guests can borrow the hotel's resident Mini-Cooper for free. They can also avoid the lines and use a direct elevator to reach the Monkey Bar for a drink.
Why will we love staying here?
It's an experience unlike any other in Berlin, especially if you book a zoo-facing Jungle room.