Berl-In Style at The Weinmeister Hotel, Mitte
A couple weeks back we took a long weekend getaway; for a bit of work and a bit more play. It would become a city trip to end all city trips. No need for endless research into other city destinations or making a long travel wish list for long weekends away (as we wait for the summer season beaches to open) Just go to Berlin. As a Canadian now living in the UK and one who spent a glorious few years in New York City, Berlin ticked boxes I had forgotten I needed ticking! From first sight, it all fit together. Clean but not too clean, big names and independents alike, well priced champagne, and people with bags upon bags of personal style. Plus a mix of cultures and expats, tons of art and conveniences on every corner. I knew we were on the right track when we were received by fun and fabulous staff at the hotel, an Acne store just beside, 4 euro champagne at a techno bar a stones throw away, and a good dose of graffiti along the way.
Our design oriented crash pad was The Weinmeister Hotel in Berlin’s Mitte. A neighborhood that is pretty sprawling but super easy to navigate. It’s hip and trendy as they say, kind of like a mash up of both New York’s East and West Villages. This boutique design hotel is minimalist, stark, with clean lines and sleek architecture but with maximalist bold and quirky décor touches. You step through the graffiti’d entranceway of the hotel created by renowned street artist Rene Turrek where guests often come from the intersections of fashion, music, and film or those who appreciate unique expressions and something just a bit different. The hotel aims to shift ones perception of what a hotel is, and yes it does do that in spades. It’s an experience, a gallery, a hangout, and a hotel. The Weinmeister was designed by architects Braun & Braun, with custom furnishings by Ralf Gründer & Friends, ERIDES Cottbus, and in room photographs were provided by Henrik Pfeifer. The lobby restaurant is made up of huge oversized chairs that instantly shrink those seated like an Alice in Wonderland dream. The stairwell was not left untouched and has been turned into a hallway gallery, where artist were invited to decorate it with original works all the way up. Resulting in a street style of images and tags, bringing a bit of the outside in, and adding that industrial graffiti feel that Berlin has come to be known for. Throughout the space are many contrasting elements; serious yet whimsical, where you see rich materials playing against bright bold colours, and luxurious fabrics are juxtaposed against more stark elements.
We stayed in one of their signature rooms, all of which were designed by or inspired by various creative themes. We stayed in the Paint Box room, featuring brilliant ceiling art but they also boast a room inspired by The Hurts as well! And street artist Turrek has his own room of course. There are large iMacs in each room instead of TV’s, convenient for your own music preferences or work needs. The fabulous oversized beds are considered features in every room as they are designed to suggest a feeling of cocooning, or a room within a room. Linens and toiletries are all on point, and I do love a bathtub that is out in the room!
Berlin is said to be crawling with DJs and you would have to agree when various levels of house and techno music follows you wherever you go, creating the soundtrack to your stay. The incredible mix of history, culture, creativity, and style of the city is a marvel. With the much talked about start up community, and creative expats moving in because of affordable living there is definitely that feel in the air that it is all going down in Berlin. Both figuratively and in reality.
We had a few things on our hit list but wanted to play a few things by ear, explore, get lost and find ourselves again. Go with the flow without missing too much. The metro is fantastic and I wouldn’t have believed it until I found out they don’t have Uber in Berlin. The metro is cheap as chips and insanely convenient. This might sound funny but the best part was that they don’t have ticket attendants or turn styles. I am not saying so in order to cheat the system, but I didn’t realize how relaxing a train journey becomes when you aren’t walking down full apartment blocks of stairs or pulling out your ticket like a yoyo- I’m looking at you London. You just hop on and hop off with your day ticket safely in your wallet, and feeling like you are nicely blending in a like a local. Floating from one new discovery to the next.
Historically we know a lot about Berlin but we decided to do just a couple things in our short stay. The East Side Gallery is a must, then we took a spin by the Brandenburg Gate, then moved onto more fashionable field trips i.e the Monkey Bar (stories up at Bikini Berlin) overlooking the monkey enclosure at the famed Berlin Zoo, The Helmut Newton Foundation Photography exhibit where sadly no photography was allowed which was ironic. And a visit to The Store at Soho House. I should note Lars from the hotel set us on the right track on night one when we dined at The Grand and stopped by the dark and hip Kitty Cheng’s for cocktails. They say don’t make too many plans when you visit Berlin because you just don’t know who you are going to meet or where they are going to take you; and that is perfectly accurate. You will no doubt have a both culturally and stylishly rich experience that is as much varied as it is unexpected.
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