25hours Hotel, Berlin: Room Service

Room with a zoo in the wild West

Since the fall of the Berlin Wall 25 years ago, the city's new hotspots tended to crop up in the east. However, things are changing and one of the latest openings is in the heart of the West City. The 25hours Hotel has become instantly popular with locals, as well as tourists, creating a real buzz.

25hours is a hotel without borders. Everyone is welcome to wander in, lie in a faux-fur hammock, take a turn on the swing seat, read the (German) newspapers, buy a snack from the bakery or pick a vinyl to play on the turntable.

The hotel occupies a small high rise at one end of the newly redeveloped Bikini-Haus. Named after its two-piece appearance when it was built in the 1950s, the complex was a regeneration gift from the US to the sector of the city that it controlled in the Cold War. It has been completely revitalised as an arty "concept mall".

Besides the designer main shops, Bikini Berlin sports Bikini Boxes – oversized crates that act as pop-up shops. When you need a retail break, you can settle down next to the floor-to-ceiling windows or out on the roof terrace and watch the baboons in neighbouring Berlin Zoo.

The hotel lobby The hotel lobby The hotel can be entered from the Bikini roof terrace via wooden steps that double as bar-café seating, or from street-level where you are greeted by bicycles hanging from the ceiling and an old Mini. The hotel owns a fleet of bikes and Minis that (subject to availability) can be borrowed, free of charge, to explore the city.

The Monkey Bar, on the 10th and top floor, is packed even midweek, both inside and out on the terrace overlooking the zoo. The restaurant, NENI Berlin is led by Israeli-born, part-German-raised, Vienna-based chef Haya Molcho, whose cuisine is described as Balagan, meaning "pleasing chaos". You can order several dishes to share – it's fusion food of the best kind. The views of the Tiergarten are great too.

The hotel's slogan is "Come as You Are" and you really feel you can; it is genuinely fun and relaxed.

Location

25hours sits directly between Berlin Zoo (home to 1,500 species – more than any other zoo) and the heart of West Berlin's commerce and nightlife. It is right by Kurfürstendamm (Ku'Damm), and Tauentzienstrasse, home to KaDeWe, Cold War symbol of West Berlin's capitalist prosperity and still Europe's largest department store.

Across the road, is Berlin's iconic Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church, bombed by the RAF during the Second World War and retained as a ruin in memory of the war and its victims.

Comfort

Corridors leading to the rooms are black with large white neon room numbers and each floor is scented with a different essential oil. Half of the 149 rooms are classed as "Urban", overlooking the city, the other half "Jungle", with green views of Berlin Zoo. I wake in my Jungle Room and pull open the curtains to see pelicans in the enclosure below and a (wild) heron flying by.

Rooms come in three sizes: M, L and XL, all a collage of styles. The dark entrance-ways are lit only by colour-changing neon, while the bed areas are much lighter in natural wood with pastel walls decorated with delightful doodling by Japanese artist Yoshi Sisley.

The rooms are playful with amusing extras such as a monkey soft toy, a selection of pillows with slogans ("Let's Sleep Together") and a booklet of Do Not Disturb signs (including "Still naked" and "Sometimes it's better not to know"). In the bathroom, a little arrow to one of the switches reads "warm feet". It turns on underfloor heating by the basin.

At night the rooms feel candlelit – hopeless if you are trying to do some work but lovely as you swing in the window-side hammock. This is a place to chill out and have fun.

25hours Hotel, Bikini Berlin, Budapester Strasse 40, Berlin, Germany

(00 49 30 12 02210; 25hours-hotels.com).

Rooms *****

Value *****

Service ***

Doubles start at €115, including breakfast.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Arts and Entertainment
tvGame of Thrones season 5 ep 4, review - WARNING: contains major spoiliers!
News
Tottenham legend Jimmy Greaves has defended fans use of the word 'Yid'
people
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Kanye West, performing in New York last week, has been the subject of controversy as rock's traditional headline slot at Glastonbury is lost once again
music
Arts and Entertainment
The Ridiculous Six has been produced by Adam Sandler, who also stars in it
filmNew controversy after nine Native American actors walked off set
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Recruitment Genius: Technical Supervisor

    £24800 - £29000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: As one of London's leading Muse...

    Recruitment Genius: Centre Manager

    £14000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

    Guru Careers: Accountant

    £28 - 45k (DOE): Guru Careers: An Accountant is needed to take control of the ...

    Recruitment Genius: Hotel Assistant Manager

    £18000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This hotel in Chadderton is a p...

    Day In a Page

    Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

    Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

    Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

    Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
    China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

    China's influence on fashion

    At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
    Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

    The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

    Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
    Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

    Rainbow shades

    It's all bright on the night
    'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

    Bread from heaven

    Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
    Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

    How 'the Axe' helped Labour

    UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
    Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

    The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

    A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
    'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

    Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

    Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

    The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
    Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

    Vince Cable exclusive interview

    Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
    Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

    Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

    Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
    Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

    Everyone is talking about The Trews

    Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
    Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

    It's time for my close-up

    Meet the man who films great whites for a living