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Berlin Hotel--please help, I am totally overwhelmed

Berlin Hotel--please help, I am totally overwhelmed

Old Jun 19th, 2006, 06:23 PM
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Berlin Hotel--please help, I am totally overwhelmed

Hi fellow Fodorites,

I have been searching Fodors for some hotels in Berlin and have only gotten more confused. It sounds like the East side is more desirable and *hip* these days, however, I haven't seen any good hotel recommendations. So first, any ideas of where to stay in the East?

We prefer B&B's or something more unique (non chain e.g. Hilton) and around 100 Euros/night. We are flying into Berlin Schonefeld so need something we can reach by train/metro. We will be there the last weekend in July.

I have two hotels in mind, both in Charlottenburg area (we are going primarily to see the palace) so I thought that area might be good to stay but I am not sure about the area.

Art Hotel Charlottenburger Hof (recommended by Fodors)
http://tinyurl.com/pazeu

or

Hotel Art Nouveau Berlin
http://tinyurl.com/s6cqp

Any advice on these two hotels and the general area? Any other suggestions in the Eastern part of the city?

Thanks in advance!
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Old Jun 20th, 2006, 04:52 AM
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ttt
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Old Jun 20th, 2006, 05:16 AM
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Hi Stephcar!
I know exactly what you mean about overwhelmed. Looking to go there in November so I have plenty of time for research, but I will watch out to see what response you get.
I have looked on Expedia's website and they have some really good deals for hotel and flight. Don't know if hotel only is such a good deal though.
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Old Jun 20th, 2006, 02:44 PM
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HI
Last Year we stayed at the 4* Movenpick Berlin. It's a former siemans building renovated by Phillipe Starck into a contemporary hotel. It's located near Potsdammer Platz. The room was great as was the service. The buffet at breakfast was enough to skip lunch. We called the 800# and got a rate under $100 inc bkfst. We stayed for 4 nights and it was great. We've stayed at other Movenpicks because we find the quality of the cahin very good. The hotel is within walking distance of the Brandenburg Gate, Reichstag and Checkpoint Charlie.
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Old Jun 20th, 2006, 05:12 PM
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Thanks aeiger. I will check it out. Do you happen to know much about the Charlottenburg area near the palace as well? Is it nice?

carylspall that is great you are going in November. Have you been to Berlin? This will be my second time, but the last time I went was 1993! So I expect there will be lots of changes. I can't wait.
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Old Jun 21st, 2006, 04:59 AM
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Hi
We didn't get a chance to visit Charlottenburg area or the palace this visit. We visited the usual sights other than there. The Pergamon was magnificent. We also stopped off at KaDeWa Dept. Store for lunch. They have a floor of food and several places for interesting lunches, inc. a wine a cheese section, Asian etc. Good place for lunch and bring home food souviners [sic].
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Old Jun 21st, 2006, 07:56 AM
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Charlottenburg forms the center of West Berlin (along with Wilmersdorf).
Housing to a large extent is quite expensive for Berlin, so the area does have its charms, reflected in the prices.
However, it is not as vibrant as the former Eastern part in Mitte (naturally - as it does not change as much). This, on the other hand, is not to say that it would be boring to stay there. There are quite a couple of neighbourhood restaurants scattered particularly in the are around Savignyplatz, which you might enjoy on a night out.

For an individual hotel in the area I would recommend taking a look into Hotel Bleibtreu. It is housed in a nice patrician mansion, located in a very fashionable, quiet yet very central sidestreet just off Kurfuerstendamm. It has a rather modern decor and usually gets very good reviews. I have not stayed there personally, though friends of mine once did. They were satisfied, although they had envisioned the design to be a bit more on the spectacular side. This is not to say that it was bad, though. The place should fit within your budget if you are staying over a weekend.

Regarding the Charlottenburg Palace, you might enjoy it if you are into palaces and their exhibitions of interiors. Frankly, this does not do much for me, so I cannot really recommend to put your focus on that p(a)lace for a visit to Berlin. It does have a pleasant park around it, though. What's more, there is a berth near it from where you can start off on a boat trip on the river Spree, which could be nice if the weather is appropriate (and would take you all the way to the Mitte district).
The palace is about 15 min. by bus from the Bleibtreu hotel, I would estimate. It would be longer from the Moevenpick recommended by aeiger. I like the Moevenpick, too, but am not so fond of its location which I find silghtly off central. Their rates are usually quite good, though.
And should you be able to persuade yourself to staying into a chain hotel of international standards, I strongly recommend the Radisson SAS. It is located in Mitte just behind the Museum Island and the Dome cathedral. Its design is modern, the rooms have nice flatscreen TVs and there often are Hot Deal rates available over the internet which are as low as EUR 99.00. For a hotel of that quality and in that location, this is a steal IMHO. Granted, it would be a bit away from the Charlottenburg Palace, but you could walk over to Hackescher Markt S-train station, board one of the westbound trains and hop off fairly centrally for the Palace after approx. 10 min. and facing a short walk.
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Old Jun 21st, 2006, 08:00 AM
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I stayed in West Berlin, at the Pension Peters and loved it. It's a small 8 room place (all on one level), and the owners are fantastic and very friendly. Had a kitsch feel to it, and I loved staying there. It's about close to the Bahnhoff Zoo, and about 3 blocks from the Kurfurstendamm. But the street itself is fairly quiet.
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Old Jun 21st, 2006, 08:52 AM
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Hi Stephcar, we stayed in Berlin for 3 nights last July, and stayed in the Mitte district - specifically on the Fischerinsel which is about 10 minutes walk from the Schlossbrucke at the eastern end of "unter den linden". we'd intended to look at both ends of the city, but in fact there was quite enough to keep us busy in the "east", apart from a 1/2 day trip to Charlottenburg, which we though was quite a way out - you can get a train/bus there and get a boat back which is very pleasant, especially in July when it is very hot! We booked through www.hotels.de and got a very good internet deal on our hotel, but there are lots of B& Bs and apartments - try google for ideas.
Despite my " good" german, we singularly failed with teh train from Schoenfeld - couldn't find the right line! so got a cab - 20 E - a good deal IMO. Good luck!
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Old Jun 21st, 2006, 10:17 AM
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Hi StephCar,

Just returned from Berlin and had a great time. Not sure if the East is more *hip* than the west. Both seem to have ups and downs. I stayed in the Grand Espalande and really liked it. (Right next to the Bahaus Archiv Museum) It is located within walking distance to Postsdamer Platz and the Kulturforum sights. There is a bus stop near-by where the the often crowded Bus No. 100 will take you to either the Zoo station or Alexaderplatz with lots of stops and sights in between.

There is an airport bus than you can catch at many locations though the city that will take you to and from the various airports with ease.

The Bliebtreu that hsz mentioned is nice, *hip*, and in a good location. I would have been happy staying there. The SAS Radisson would be a great place to stay - especially if you can get an e-rate for around 100 euro.

The trendy Moevinpick would be a good choice - especially at 100 euros. I would also look into the Mercure Hotel and Residenz - Checkpoint Charlie.

Have fun in Berlin and don't eat too many curry wurst (like I did).
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Old Jun 21st, 2006, 10:17 AM
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Wow, as usual, Fodorites are the best! Thanks for the great info. Will check out some of these hotel suggestions. It already sounds like I need to relocate. Mitte sounds like a better area for beer gardens and fun things.

annhig, I am so bummed to hear the train is hard to find from the airport. I have NO german so probably will not have any better luck. I read/heard it is easy to find. We are flying Ryan Air and found information on how to take the train from the airport to Berlin there so I thought it would be easy. But then again 20E is not so bad for a taxi and probably less hassle. Thanks for the heads up.

BTW, anyone have some good suggestions on Berlin Beer Gardens????
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Old Jun 21st, 2006, 11:25 AM
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Steph,

I hate to break the news to you, BUT: Beer gardens are actually a Bavarian tradition and their original concept is rather unknown to the rest of Germany - and particularly the Northern and Eastern sections of Germany, where Berlin is located.

A traditional beer garden is self- service with people being allowed to bring their own food (despite some hearty fare being offered, too). If you tried this in Northern and Eastern Germany about anywhere you would certainly run the risk of being asked to leave (and do not expect to be treated too politely at that).
This is not to say that there aren't any options in Berlin where you could enjoy a beer outdoors. In fact, most cafés and bars will offer outdoor seating weather permitting. This would be the more authentic version of enjoying your brew (despite all that marketing cliché Germany seems to follow so eagerly with everybody wearing Lederhosen, doing strange dances etc. This is exclusively Bavarian, too).

Also bear in mind that people in the North and East usually do not indulge in half-litre and litre sized beers as in Bavaria. More common is the Pilsener style beer which is slightly more bitter and is usually being served in smaller glasses such as 0.33 litres of 0.4 litres.

The closest you would get to a Bavarian style beer garden might be at Schleusenkrug in Tiergarten right by the Tiergarten Schleuse (S-station Tiergarten, I seem to recall) on Mueller-Breslau-Str. or at Pratergarten in the Prenzlauer Berg district on Kastanienallee 7-9.
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Old Jun 21st, 2006, 12:04 PM
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In case my last post here would appear to be a bit negative (which it wasn't meant to be), here are a few links that might help make things easier:

For the Bleibtrue hotel try:

http://www.bleibtreu.com/eng/index.htm

Often, better deals for the Bleibtreu can be found through HRS, a very well known and reliable consolidator. Also check this one for other appropriately priced hotels, their location and images of their rooms:

http://www2.hrs.de/changeLanguage.do...72036834587558

The Radisson SAS is accessible through:

http://www.berlin.radissonsas.com

And the Moevenpick's website would be:

http://www.moevenpick-hotels.com/hotels/HKBERHH/


The beer garden sites were not available in English and did not reveal any notable information.
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Old Jun 21st, 2006, 12:09 PM
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>>>BTW, anyone have some good suggestions on Berlin Beer Gardens????<<<

I'm VERY reluctant to contradict hsv but there is another possibility for a "Beer Garden" in Berlin: Loretta's am Wannsee, located near S-Bahn Wannsee, on the corner of Potsdamer Chaussee, offers outside seating under large trees and tents. You can get beer and wine, potato salad, grilled wurst and crepes for dessert. I'm not sure what other foods they offer. If not for the trees you could overlook the Wannsee while you eat.

We used to meet co-workers there and it is somewhat off the beaten path, so you won't find many tourists there. It's a good stop after visiting Potsdam and Glienicker Brueke - the spy exchange bridge from the cold war days, and Wannsee itself.

All the best to you!
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Old Jun 21st, 2006, 12:27 PM
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Trophywife,

don't hesitate! I'll stand corrected anytime if justified.

I do not see any contradiction, whatsoever. Of course there are establishments that are labelled beer garden and in fact very much resemble what one would find in Bavaria (except for the most beer styles). However, I am pretty sure that one would not be allowed to bring one's own food (as you would be if it were a beer garden "by definition").

I'll take your suggestion gladly and will try it myself!
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Old Jun 21st, 2006, 12:42 PM
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hsv: You are correct - "contradict" was the wrong word and bringing one's own food would be verboten there.

Let me know what you think... possibly my recollection is overly optimistic, but we lived in West Berlin from 86 - 88 and the Wannsee area was one of our favorites. Who would have imagined a lake of that size in a walled city!
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Old Jun 21st, 2006, 12:57 PM
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We stayed in a studio 10 minutes walking from Alexanderplatz. We found it via www.123zimmers.de - it was "City apartment O.001103 ". It was at 9th floor in a new block. It was near bus 200 station, that took us to most of the sightseeings. We were very happy with this studio. We paid 49 euro / night.

We visited Charlottenburg Palace, and we loved it. However, I would not stay there, because it is not a central location.
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Old Jun 21st, 2006, 02:12 PM
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Trophywife007 (what a name - are you by any chance married to Sean Connery?),

I absolutely agree that the Wannsee is one of the nicest resorts within the city limits of Berlin.
Particularly I presume it had its special charms while the iron curtain was still in place, as there wasn't much in the near vicinity of Berlin where its citizens could find refuge from bustling city life.

I have to admit that I am a bit spoilt regarding lakes within a city. Living in Hamburg with the Outer Alster Lake, while smaller than Wannsee, still providing for great sailing opportunities smack dab in the center of downtown, I find Wannsee not exactly centrally located.

This is not to say that I would deem a visit to Wannsee not worthwhile. It's just that I enjoy the other lakes around Berlin, which are a bit more secluded, apart from being hardly much, whilemore of a drive away, just about as much. This is valid for the Eastern parts like Koepenick as well as the area around Potsdam (Schwielowsee for example).

However, if I'd fancy going sailing after a day in the city, Wannsee would still be my first choice as its reasonably close and still accessible by S-Bahn!

Steph,

as an alternative to beer gardens, you might enjoy a visit to one of the (artificial) beach clubs so popular now in most major German cities:

Bundespressestrand would be an option, located on Kapelleufer no. 1 near Kronprinzenbruecke. S/U-Bahn station Friedrichstr.
Strandbar Mitte on Monbijoustr. 3 is another possibility. It's located opposite Museumsinsel in Monbijou Park. S-station Hackescher Markt.

In Charlottenburg (should you decide on staying there), I do like Bar Hefner on Savignyplatz (Kantstr. 146). Nice outdoor seating and with Holsten Pilsener one of my favourite German beers on tap - along with really good cocktails and martinis (not a beer garden, though).
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Old Jun 21st, 2006, 02:16 PM
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>> It's just that I enjoy the other lakes around Berlin, which are a bit more secluded, apart from being hardly much, whilemore of a drive away, just about as much. <<

That should read: It's just that I enjoy other lakes around Berlin, which are even a bit more secluded, although hardly much more of a drive away, just as much.
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Old Jun 21st, 2006, 02:25 PM
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hsv, thanks for all the GREAT info! You know, I am not totally surprised about the beer garden info. I have been to Berlin one other time ages ago and did not recall such a thing. Munich yes, Berlin, no. It is just that my DH will be disappointed, it was going to be one of his draws to Berlin, and his first time in Germany! But the other suggestions sound good. I am sure we will not be bored!

Trophywife007 thanks so much for the info!!! Your suggestion sounds great. Def. will put that on my list!

Thanks again for all the great hotel info. I have some more research to do! SO glad we will not stay in Charlottenburg after all. . .
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