Contributor/ Saffron Powell Brown
Best Known For
The 25hours Bikini Berlin is part of the ultra-hip 25hours hotel group with seven hotels in Hamburg, Frankfurt, Berlin, Zurich and Vienna. Brilliantly unique hotels with great character tailored to each city, the Bikini is an urban jungle that boasts views over the zoo below.
The Good Stuff
From the moment I discovered the website I just knew this was the hotel we had to stay at when my husband and I visited Berlin for a few days of food, drink and history. It didn’t disappoint, making us smile and soon as we walked in, we encountered an old Austin Mini Countryman and ‘flying’ bikes in the lobby – whilst the lift leading to reception resembled a digital fish tank. We were stressed from the journey and lugging our bags up and down stairs but our spirits were immediately lifted. Werner Aisslinger and his team have done an incredible job decking this hotel out.
One perk in this hotel is that, on a first come first served basis, you can hire a Mini – for free! Now this was really tempting but then we saw the road layout we decided against it. We’d only end up shouting at each other and getting freaked out. The Bikini also offer free bikes to nip around town, but the wet weather put us off that idea. By the way, if like me, you like to buy nice things when you go away then bring hold luggage. I wanted to buy everything in the Gestalten Kiosk in the reception area – booze and cool toiletries galore.
Our medium Jungle room had its very own hammock for us to lounge in with views of the zoo. If I put my glasses on I could just about make out the monkeys scampering around beneath us. The quirky design was great, light, spacious and spotlessly clean. For me, there’s nothing worse than staying somewhere that has evidence of previous guests, yes I do realise we’re usually never going to be the first to sleep in a hotel room but I like to pretend I am. A fingerprint here and a smear there just totally wrecks it all for me.
The team have outdone themselves with the do not disturb door sign – check this out https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FWCvt4Xn34Y. You can flip it over to the appropriate message – such as ‘Please place aspirin in front of the door and the leave, ‘’This is MY home now’, ‘It might not look like it, but it was fun’ and ‘Police crime scene, please move on’. I totally forgot to test out the aspirin one – we’d love to know if we’d have opened the door to some pain relief in the morning. Probably.
Everything about the Bikini screamed fun, there were even swings and hammocks in the Woodfire Bakery close to reception, of course I had to have an obligatory ‘little go’ on the swing. A word of warning, don’t try this on your own, you’ll need a bit of help getting on and off! This is a hotel that aims to make you happy, so many aspects made me smile, from the monkey teddy bear in our bedroom to the packaging on the shower gel (‘stop the water while using me’) After visiting the old Berlin wall and Checkpoint Charlie, returning to the hotel helped balance out the sombreness, this recent history is truly heartbreaking and beyond comprehension.
Inside the Hotel 8/10
The problem is with rooms like these – you don’t want to leave them. We’d given ourselves a ridiculous itinerary, time was of the essence but all I wanted to do was veg out in our room and hang around the hotel (or just sleep in the super-comfy bed). The in-house restaurant Neni with a 360° rooftop terrace is a stunning space – a greenhouse built out of parts of old hothouses with great touches like the oversized lampshades made from gardening books and scientific equipment stored up on high shelves. Try the Hamshuka – like hummus shepherd’s pie. Breakfast was fab, such an array of choice, this is what hotel breakfasts should be. Loved the strawberry buttermilk drink, spicy tomato topped with fried eggs, bircher museli, and a deliciously naughty full-fat vanilla Quark. The Nespresso machine that makes lattes also was revisited several times, well, we had long days ahead of us. In the evening, don’t miss the quirky ‘Monkey Bar’, great cocktails and service although it does get busy so be prepared to perch in a dark corner. There’s the ‘Jungle Spa’ for chilling and those who just can’t stop working, there’s super-cool work stations in ‘Bikini Island’
Outside the Hotel 7/10
The only bad thing about this hotel is the location as we spent so much time in Mitte, but that’s just us. The transport links are great though (if a little confusing) and taxis are fairly reasonable priced. There’s plenty on the doorstep of the Bikini, including the Bikini mall but Berlin is a big, big place and we barely scratched the surface in four days. The weather pales into insignificance in the Bikini anyway, it just oozes happiness and personality, a trait so many hotels lack. Every city needs 25hours.
Image courtesy of Stephan Lemke for 25hours Hotels