From the historic to the uber cool, this once-divided, non-stop city has much to offer. Here, we only just scratch the surface to reveal some highlights and share local intel on the vibrant German capital.
Where to stay
For opulence and five-star luxury, you can’t go past the Ritz-Carlton, Berlin, centrally located near Potsdamer Platz. Beyond the hotel’s exquisite grand entrance and foyer, expect expansive rooms, elegant eateries, conference spaces, a decadent spa and top-notch service.
25hours Hotel Bikini Berlin
The Bikini Berlin is a quirky and playful place with hammocks, sophisticated swing sofas, common areas bursting with colour, and meeting rooms perfect for creative brainstorming. Choose a Jungle room for ceiling-to-floor windows looking over the Berlin Zoo below.
Waldorf Astoria Berlin
Featuring its own 11,000 square-foot beauty universe – with a cloud-shaped pool and 8 therapy rooms – as well as a 24-hour fitness centre, and conceptual Michelin-starred cuisine, this is a classic place to stay where pampering will no doubt ensue.
Where to eat
It’s one of Berlin’s most talked about restaurants and a meal here won’t disappoint. The stunning red-brick building itself appears almost church-like, though it is in fact a nineteenth century former brewery.
Filled with eclectic pieces from around the world, the texturally rich interior feels homely and inspired with its rustic furniture, a big stone bar and exposed bricks. In 2012 when it opened, the restaurant was one of the first in the city to herald farm-to-plate dining, listing its local producers and taking a conscious approach to ingredients.
A light and delicious starter of burrata with pine nuts and tomatoes perfectly segues into a feast of 12-hour slow-roasted pork – rich, tender and served with lemon garlic yoghurt. Sides range from green pea mash to braised carrot to tabbouleh, and guests shouldn’t go past the organic, goose fat hand-cut fries. Katz Orange is part of the Contemporary Food Lab, a series of gastronomy projects.
As one of only 18 restaurants to hold a Michelin star in the city, this is the place for a special fine-dining experience. Dinner guests are taken via lift down to a minimalist and unpretentious dining space that’s light and bright, overlooking an internal kitchen garden.
“We wanted to create a platform to share our ideas regarding sustainability, supporting local farmers, handmade products, and generally respecting nature and its resources,” says Sommelier Steve Hartzsch, who opened the restaurant in 2015 along with Host and Managing Director Ivo Ebert and Chef Andreas Rieger.
“The focus is on the food, the inherent taste of local and regional produce, and on the guest. Everyone should feel welcome, be able to forget about their daily routine and feel the value of craftsmanship.” The degustation is a journey with flavours that are surprising and a little unusual.
From the leek ash char with salt, and fennel and carrot reduction, to the dessert which is compiled at the table, the chef using brilliant textures and flavours – think three-day cooked beetroot, rose jelly and caramel dust.
The carefully selected wine pairings complete the experience. Einsunternull is the place you go to have your thoughts challenged, not to simply be ‘fed’. It’s sustainable food, carefully considered and wonderfully prepared.
On the bottom floor of the exclusive members-only enclave of SOHO House is the equally cool, The Store. Part boutique shopfront, part kitchen, and totally hipster, this concept store is not your everyday interpretation of retail.
This is an ever-evolving creative space with concrete features, lots of greenery and a stunning retro-cool interior style. With big tables for sharing and comfy lounges for sinking into, this is a good daytime spot for relaxing, for perusing its wares – furniture, art, books and fashion – and for delicious, pared-back, modern food with a healthy focus.
Must see: History & Art
East side gallery
For tangible history, visit East Side Gallery to see the famous artwork of the Berlin Wall, the Topography of Terror, and nearby Checkpoint Charlie.
Helmut Newton Museum
Appreciate the works of the iconic Berlin-born photographer, Helmut Newton, at the Helmut Newton Museum, which is located near Zoologischer Garten. The permanent collection includes Helmut’s personal items including cameras, film and his famous customised Jeep – dubbed the Newton-Mobile.
The museum isn’t only a showcase for Helmut, however. Until November, visitors can also experience an exhibition of three top photographers featuring Mario Testino’s ‘Undressed’, Helmut Newton’s ‘Unseen’, and Jean Pigozzi’s ‘Pool Party’.
The Feuerle Collection
Berlin is brimming with incredible showcases of art of all kinds. For an unforgettable and truly unique experience, visit The Feuerle Collection. Housed in an ex-WW2 bunker and renovated by minimalist British architect John Pawson, the visit is curated from the moment you arrive.
From the pitch-black darkness of the Sound Room that forces quiet reflection, to the soundtrack of a John Cage track, to the careful play of shadows and light that create the feeling of floating through a dream sequence.
This private art collection is displayed with intentional juxtaposition and is made up of Imperial Chinese, ancient South East Asian and contemporary pieces from the private collection of Désiré Feuerle. The journey through the cavernous, multi-level space is as much a part of the experience as the art pieces themselves.
Exclusive: Désiré Feuerle’s love of collecting scented woods will be shared with others as of late 2017 when the museum will become the first in the world to host a traditional Imperial Chinese incense ceremony.
Visitors can experience this fascinating tradition from 2,000 years ago, one of the essential experiences of emperors. The incense ceremony will be presented as a form of art itself, for a master and one guest, and set to last between 30 and 170 minutes for each session.