We we’re excited to stay here, knowing the 25 Hours Hotel in Vienna and that NENI had a satellite restaurant on the rooftop – the Berlin edition had to be fabulous.
Since the revival of Kreuzberg, Mitte and more recently Neukölln, City West’s popularity as a district has dwindled along with its chic-factor. After renovations, the Bikinihaus right beside the Zoo – A 1950s boxy structure designed by Paul Schwebes and Hans Schoszberger – reopened in 2013 to become the Bikini Berlin. On our way to the hotel, we sidled past the self-dubbed “concept mall” which exudes a kind of retro-meets-artsy-contemporary vibe and past the Zoo Palast Cinema, designer shops and beauty salons we reached the 25 Hours Hotel Bikini Berlin.
The 25 Hours Hotels are all unorthodox, stylish and fun. This one has split the 149 rooms into three categories: medium, large and x-large either with a view of the city or of the “jungle”, the zoo. Our’s was a medium looking over the zoo and there is nothing like waking up to the screams of monkeys and squawks of exotic birds in the middle of town. Despite being the smallest category, the room didn’t feel small, with plenty of space for luggage and a roomy walk-in rain shower. There are adorable little touches like the “do not disturb” sign, which has countless versions to suit your current state of being. “there’s a monster behind this door” or “i tried to redecorate. it went terribly wrong” were just a couple of favorites. Also each room has original wall art by Joshi Sisley, with playful geometric patterns drawn in black magic marker and unique to each room. The XL rooms are all on the city-view side and have tubs as well.
The hotel has plenty of little extras, besides the NENI restaurant and monkey bar with the 360-degree rooftop terrace and conservatory-like inner decor, you can rent bikes and mini cooper cars for free. The meeting rooms are just as funky, with space for 20-100 people, in “micro houses” or the “freiraum” are glassed-in in colourful shades, providing privacy without feeling cut-off. We also visited the spa, with a cozy sauna overlooking the zoo, for the amount of guests the rest are was tiny, with only 3 lounge chairs available. The spa chafe is €10 per person, which is justified but we hope they added more lounge chairs since our stay.
It’s moved the scrumptious Burger de Ville trailer from outside the hotel to Charlie’s Beach at Checkpoint Charlie, and many deem it to serve the best burgers in town. We loved the Jalapeño Burger and Classic Cheeseburger made with organic Black Angus Beef from a Brandenburg farm and deliciously squishy buns, baked at a local bakery. The Veggie Burger was just as scrumptious with a big portobello mushroom and along with the side of Italian dipper fries with rosmary and parmesan, it was the perfect lunchtime pick-me-up.
Despite being a large hotel, the service is personal, helpful and inventive. Without doubt, they enjoy working in such a wacky place. Having dined at NENI the night before (see review), for breakfast we tried the wood fire bakery, next to the lobby. With a fresh croissant and frothy cappuccino we chilled in the hammocks, leafing through the coffee table books from the Gestalten kiosk.
While the idea of a concept store, a concept mall or a concept hotel seems like a hipster term for a random inventory, 25 Hours does a good job. We decided that in order for gimmicks to work, you have to accept them for what they are and roll with it. From head to toe, the 25 Hours Bikini Berlin offers guests a concept lifestyle, which fits into today’s Berlin, even if only for a few nights.
Also, book through the website because they show you the best weekday and best weekend rate in the next 7 days. Even though breakfast is not included, in general, the cost-benefit ratio is staggering.
Concept is as concept does and they do it well. Traditionalists could be put off by the place’s unconventional choices, but we were charmed and recommend a stay here to anyone excited by modern design, delicious food and a fun-loving atmosphere.
Budapester Strasse 40 E
+ 49 30 26 36 95 94