The Big Six: Berlin boltholes

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Linnen Prenzlauer, Berg

This B&B is new to the bohemian district of Prenzlauer Berg. Its stylish street-level café serves fresh pastries, cheeses and hams for breakfast, with organic snacks and smoothies on offer until early afternoon. A spiral staircase winds up to the first floor where you'll find four characterful rooms, two larger suites and one self-catering apartment, with a mix of stuccoed ceilings, four-poster beds, quirky coloured tiles and 20th-century furniture.

Linnen, Prenzlauer Berg (00 49 30 4737 2440; linnenberlin.com). Doubles start at €70, room only; apartments €70.

Plus One Apartment, Neukölln

The idea behind Plus One is simple: book a night at the self-catering apartment and get the chance to hang out with a local in return. Set up by British-born Clare Freeman, it invites guests to log-on, browse a network of 35 locals and arrange to meet them for a daytime tour, afternoon coffee or all-night club crawl. The aim is to put outsiders in touch with the real residents of Berlin, using the stylish apartment in Neukölln as a handy base.

Plus One Apartment, Reuter Strasse 28, Neukölln (00 49 178 359 3517; plus oneberlin.com). Nightly rental from €120, self-catering. Sleeps two.

Modern Houseboat, River Spree

Chris Laugsch set up the Berlin-based hotel collection, Welcome Beyond, in 2009. Having spent four years sizing up the best places to stay around the world, he has now unveiled his own, rather less conventional property. Set on a section of the River Spree, the Modern Houseboat is testament to Laugsch's keen eye for design with custom-made furniture, floor-to-ceiling windows, an outdoor deck and two Bella Ciao bikes for riding into town.

Modern Houseboat, River Spree (00 49 163 737 2509; welcomebeyond.com). Nightly rental from €210, self-catering. Sleeps two adults, two children.

Das Stue, Tiergarten

Set in a 1930s building which once served as the Danish embassy, Das Stue reopened in December as a stylish new design hotel. Tucked away on the southern side of the Tiergarten park, it has interiors by Spanish designer Patricia Urquiola, the first restaurant outside Spain by the Michelin-starred chef Paco Pérez, and photographs by Helmut Newton and Henri Cartier-Bresson on the walls. In a curious twist, some rooms also have views of grazing ostriches and gazelles, who live next door at Berlin Zoo.

Das Stue, Drakestrasse 1, Tiergarten (00 49 30 311 7220; das-stue.com). Doubles start at €200, room only.

Michelberger Hotel, Friedrichshain

Tom Michelberger gathered a group of his young creative friends to turn this former factory into a fun and fashionable stay. Set amid Friedrichshain's cafés, it has a courtyard beer-garden which hosts regular music events and a late-night bar with a grand piano. Eclectic rooms span from double lofts to concept suites, such as the Clever One, where walls are plastered with magazines and books and complemented by flea-market furniture.

Michelberger Hotel, Warschauer Strasse 39/40, Friedrichshain (00 49 30 2977 8590; michelbergerhotel.com). Doubles start at €80, room only.

Generator Hostel, Mitte

For Berlin on a budget, check in to this hip hostel in the central Mitte district. In addition to traditional dorms, it has spacious double rooms, twins and quads, with an industrial-chic café and a sociable bar that's open until late. Other attractions include free Wi-Fi, ping-pong tables and a travel shop for arranging excursions, while the library-style lounge – laden with books and soft leather sofas – wouldn't be out of place in a luxury hotel.

Generator Hostel, Oranienburger Strasse 65, Mitte (00 49 30 9210 37680; generatorhostels.com). Dorms start at €12.50; doubles €50, room only.

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