Dienstag, 28. Mai 2013

A new adventure: discovering BoeseBubenBar

The reading corner for writers
Summer is always my best time of the year for social life in Berlin, as friends from all over the world are visiting the city (and me) and there are plenty of outdoor places to try. Till I will start my long session of travels, somewhere in July, I have a serious plans of places I want to see and write about, but some diversions are always welcomed. Today, one of my busiest day in weeks, I went on the Eastern side of Spree, in the so-called 'Regierungsviertel' to a place called Boesenbubenbar. If not the rain that was playing with everyone's nerves every 20 minutes, I would have like a different place with more attractive outdoor opportunities, but as it is hard to call this weather summer-wise, the indoor option sounded safe. 

I only had a coffee but spotted some cakes, just in case
Read, play and have your looong breakfast

In winter and autumn is a great place to kill some hours especially if you love (German) books as the walls are stuffed with a variety of books in German, from biographies to sophisticated philosophy reviews and children books. If you are visiting the place with a group of friends and you are not too much into discussion about big things, grab one of the society games and play. It could be a good idea for the tourists waiting the rain to go, and go and go as far away as possible. Another good news for the tourists, many of them hosted in many hotels from the streets around: breakfast can be tasted till 4pm and with around 5-7 Euro you can have a good coffee with some cakes or even some specialities, like Soljanka, quiches (with or without meat) or Omas Kartoffelsuppe. The food is presented on nice plates. The menu we had at our table, looked a bit creepy, with the list scattered in the pages of a book written in Gottisch. A kind of 'catch me if you know where' game. 

The ambiance is pleasant (except a lady waitress who was not in a lilly fee mood today), with a lot of vintage corners and objects, not all of them of the perfect taste and the first impression could be that you entered an Antique shop. Lectures are held regularly, probably not from the books on the shelves (many of them old). 

A historical moment: in this picture you have 5 seconds of sun  in between 50 minutes of rain
I am not sure that I will come back any time soon (fingers crossed that today is the last rainy day of the next 7 days), but at least once in a while a tourist detective as me should enter such places. Some little cute diamonds might be hidden in a little cup of coffee.

Freitag, 24. Mai 2013

What about a Tajik tea?

My Thursday cup of tea
I tried to have a tea at the Tajik teahouse at least twice: once it was too early and once it was too crowded, on an Sunday early winter afternoon. All I saw then were some blonde kids running around in socks, around the long line of people waiting. I don't like to wait for food/drinks so I went away. The Tajik teahouse was mentioned several times in the conversations with my friends when thinking about a place to meet, but I was able to really make the 'adventure' of visiting the place and tasting the tea only yesterday afternoon.
It reminded me of an old book about Marco Polo
Meanwhile, the teahouse moved from the old location, near the Humbold University, at the Festungsgraben Palais, to the Kulturhof, a hidden interior place at Oranienburgerstrasse, where there are many galeries and even a cookies machine (out-of-order at the time of my visit).
Compared with my earlier memories about the place, it looked to quiet so before pushing the knob to enter I asked some people building up some tent if it is open and entered only when I received 2 serious nods that it is.
The attractions of the place
The first thing you should do by entering is to leave your shoes. The next is wait to be guided for a place to stay: either normal tables with chairs or cushions near the low tables. I tried the second exotic variant but as in the case of my experiences in Japan, after 20 minutes your may feel your feet a bit tensed. There were not too many people and there were at least 2 free cushions' spots. 
On the cusion or on the chair, you decide
The place was looking like in the pictures illustrating the articles about it. Colourful cushions, wooden columns, traditional paintings on the wall. The interior was presented at a trade fair in the 1970s in Leipzig - at the time GDR - and offered as a present from the Soviet Republic of Tajikistan - member of the Soviet Union - to the brothers in arms from Berlin. I don't know too much about Tajik teas, but I did not see anything that may remind it on the menu. The offer starts with several Russian teas, including a Russian tea ceremony, where you are offered for around 8.50 some cookies and a pint of Moskovskaya. Lommonossow tea looks like a sweet memory from the time of the Soviet, introduced as 'light and smoth tea from the Eastern banks of the Black Sea', and including jam and rum raisins. I also found tempting the Beduinen Tee, that offers for 4.90 Euro: Assam tea and peppermint tea with peppermint liqueur. 
A reminded that I should buy a samovar one day
If you decide to take your children with at the tea, be sure that you buy them a herbal mix with fennel that will make them sleepy soon. Each cup of tea is served with some small cookies, but if you want more pastry, there are many variants of Russian cuisine, among others piroggen, bliny, pelmen. 
As for me, I preferred to take a cherry blossom Japanese tea, light and delicious also because of the candy black sugar. For almost 2 hours I enjoyed a nice conversation while smelling the flavour of the teacup. I would like to come back from some more tea testing and cozy chatting with my girlfriends. 

Mittwoch, 22. Mai 2013

Luxury for fashion

I feel like it is autumn again, and soon it will start snowing (again), but I recently read that even things are getting bad one should always keep smiling and it is what I am trying to do without looking out of the window. In order to reward my very productive day of writing today, I offered myself a bus trip to Kulturforum for an exhibition about luxury and fashion and fine jewellery. I had to walk around 5-7 minutes through the rain and I did not like it but it was enough time to meditate about maybe moving in a tropical country where I will be always happy with the weather (and not only).

If the weather is fine one can wear gorgeous jewellery, at least as good looking as the pieces I've seen at the exhibition. Produced by artisans from US, France, Canada or Germany (for instance Henkel and Grosse were Dior jewellery man in Germany), the pieces of fashion art are part of the Fior Collection London. Till 2001, Fior was one of the provider of costume jewellery for many European royal families as well as for great actresses like Ava Gartner or Liz Taylor.

The exhibition can be seen in maximum one hour, if you resist leaving so fast such a wonderful collection of beautiful things. In my case, I did not have any option, as I arrived only 60 minutes before the closing time (6pm). On the walls, images were presenting the different stages of the history of fashion, illustrated with photographies from the Fashion Imagery Collection, apparently one of the biggest of this kind. The explanations help to fix in history various stages, from the creation of the 1947 New Look woman by Dior (interesting that after the war people still had some time for lust), to the hippie ladies and the beginning of the working women, many introduced to the public through the American TV series 'Dallas' and 'Dynasty'. 

Beautiful things make anyone feel good and even I did not like all the pieces of the exhibition, there are enough brooches and necklaces that I would love to wear. I counted only 2 models of rings, but I forgot that you need any, give the creative models of brooches - many bearing the signature of Marcel Boucher - that are real pieces of art. 
At least the bracelet is closely to my style. The blue stones are beautiful.

Some of the finest pieces

One of the most creative brooches I've seen

Montag, 20. Mai 2013

Sunday at the museums

When everyone was very busy watching the street parades at the Festival of Cultures, I decided (again) to be against the mainstream and see some exhibitions that I had on my list since a long time. Even though a small Turkish gathering with a lot of good food and colourful scarfs reminded that even in Charlottenburg there is time for celebration, I was not impressed and switched the U-Bahn for going to Kreuzberg. I continued my schedule and spent some pleasant hours at the museums around the Charlottenburg Schlosss.

Discovering the genius of Picasso

Out of the three museums I visited, the collection hosted by the Berggruen Museum was completely new for me. The collection was created by Heinz Berggruen, a friend of Picasso who dedicated at least one work to him. He had left Germany during the dictatorship and got back to Berlin only in the 1990s after a brilliant career in the world of arts from Paris and London. After his death, his family is continuing his legacy, taking care of an impressive collection of modern art, mostly comprised by the works of Picasso, Braque, Matisse and Cezanne, as well as Klee (with paintings of a higher quality compared to what I saw recently at Martin-Gropius-Bau) as well as beautiful sculptures by Giacometti. I do not appreciate all Picasso's works, but I cannot ignore his genius explained by many of the early drawings and paintings included in the collection. Someone with such a genuine talent and inspiration cannot do anything but paint all the time, trying different styles and ending up by decomposing the human figure into small little pieces, because the classical techniques are not enough. A highly spiritual experience that can be continued in the garden at the shadow of some grotesque creatures.

A drop of history in the cup of tea

The orange cup, by Marguerite Friedlander-Wildenhain
The garden is shared with a museum that I've visited before, Brohan Museum. This time, I was interested in the temporary exhibition that ended up today dedicated to the Avantgarde of Jewish Women in Ceramics (1919-1933) featuring interesting and very interesting personalities of their time: Marguerite Friedlaender-Wildenhain, Margarete Heymann-Marks and Eva Stricker-Zeisel. All of them had the chance to escape Germany in time after formative years spent in the ceramic factories or around the Bauhaus movement. Stricker-Zeisel had an astonishing life, with 16 months spent in the Soviet prisons and a lot of historical adventures in a crazy century
 I was lucky to see the exhibition, because there were many attractive and colourful models that brought a lot of pleasure to my eyes.

La plus belle, by Max Ernst

Back to Surrealism

My last cultural stop of the day was at the Collection Scharf-Gerstenberg, reuniting several surrealist works, by more or less famous artists, such as Odilon Redon, Oscar Dominguez, Victor Brauner, Francis Picabia, Miro, Yves Tanguy, Goya and Alfred Kubin, among others. The first room, was a bit disappointing, but later on I felt brought back into the usual surrealist ambiance of artists that I love. The creator of the collection, Otto Gerstenberg was the president of Victoria Versicherung and a passionate admirer of arts. During the war, his collection was hidden in the bunkers and partially seized by the Red Army in 1945, many works being brought to St. Petersburg and Moscow. Since 1995, the works were returned and are on public display at the museum. 

Going Indie: 100 Places to See in Germany

What you can do early in the morning when you wake up smelling the summer in Berlin?
You plan some more travels and think about the projects that you always wanted to do.
For instance, since I moved in Germany, I always wanted to see as much as possible from the country in order to understand more about the culture and the history. A couple of hours later I launched on Indiegogo 100 Places to See in Germany (and write about them). It lasts 44 days and I am really determined to get the funding and sponsorships and finish it till the end of the year. And, just in case that will not get the funding, I still want to do it, because it is worth the words and the efforts! Before the project is starting officially, I plan to see at least 2-3 places using my own resources and time!
I count on the support of my readers and followers and friends and future friends! I promise you a good book with many pictures and many surprises for all those taking their time and some money to help me go forward!
See you soon and keep in touch!

Montag, 13. Mai 2013

Chez le Hamam, in Kreuzberg

Since 1988, women in Berlin have the option of their own Turkish bath. Situated in the building of the former Schokoladenfabrik (confused by the name I was almost sure that I can also pay a visit to a chocolate factory..), the hamam - or the Turkish bath - is a place where only women are allowed. The first of this kind in Germany, one day the week, on Thursday it opens the door to children.

It is a non-pretentious place, with a small interior garden where to relax in the sun, a colourful corner where to wait to enter the massage or the sauna while listening to some music (Oriental tunes are always available). Before and after the hamam, you can taste some of the salads or sweets available, whose recipes are included in a cookbook supported by the Berliner Buechertisch. From there were also offered a couple of books that those unable to resist without reading can use for filling their time. 

The busiest season is on winter, when you beg for a drop of sun and hot everything. Many visitors are tourists, but the majority are local women interested to spend some relaxing time in privacy. The prices are more than acceptable, with around 40 Euro for 3 hours during the winter and 60 Euro in the summer (when the overall energy costs are significantly higher). 

The place looks friendly, welcoming, with many furniture or wall decorations in oriental style, but also with colourful paintings made by local artists. Nothing sophisticated or complicated, just a good place for a friendly women gathering. Everyone is welcomed. If you plan to go in July, you need to change your mind, as the hamam will be closed for the vacation. However, now it is open so you should give a try. 

Friday visit at Waldorf Astoria Berlin

An invitation to chess, at the library
Since the beginning of the year, the market of luxury hotels in Berlin has a new competitor: Waldorf Astoria, the first hotel of the chain inaugurated in Germany. The hotel, official partner of the Fashion Week, is designed in the Art Deco style and targets mostly the high-end business sector. The majority of guests till now are Americans on the road in Europe, German businessmen, Israelis, Russians and UAE citizens. 
Would you dream about a high-end treatment?

Berlin is never keen to appreciate the business style and mentality and I felt a certain reticence to behave in the usual American business-oriented way while touring the hotel as well. However, at least the prices and the room interiors remind clearly that the guests usually belong to the middle and upper class. The services are fast and if you want to visit the hotel for a morning coffee you may be ready to pay at least 10 Euro for the service.

Waldorf Astoria is one of the tallest buildings in town, and from the top you can admire the green West side of Berlin. There are 232 guest rooms and suites provided with TV and elegant furniture. However, following the bad example of the London high-end hotels, the wifi is not for free. The bathroom products are signed by Salvatore Ferragamo. The meeting between metal and mirrors and lights made the place more welcoming and amplifies the space. At almost each store there are special corners where you can read a book, the schedule for the next day or have a preliminary business meeting. As any serious business enterprise, American style, the owners of the hotels invested in a considerable art collection of around 900 works, mostly signed by current and former students of the Academy of Fine Arts. In the restaurant Les Solistes, the photos are signed by Pierre Gagnaire, the careful eye in charge with the French eclectic menu.
The standard room has everything you need to feel pampered

An interesting place to explore is the library, a close space for the guests of the hotel, provided with around 800 books, mostly in English and German and focused on art and design. Some of the books can be consulted during the breakfast in the morning at the Romanisches Cafe, a space that try to recreate the ambiance of the beginning of the 20th century where the cafe used to be a meeting point for intellectuals and artists. Both here and in the library are organized periodically cultural events and readings. 

One of the most elegant spaces of the hotel is the Guerlain Spa which is glamorous, rich and princess style. It is situated at the fifth floor and offers a variety of high-end services: massage, Vichy showers, Hydrotheraphy, sauna, steam room, ice fountains. I am not very well aware what all those services are about but promise to be back one day as the spa is open to anyone interested to use the services. A previous reservation is needed though. 

For more photo stories about Waldorf Astoria Berlin, check my Pinterest board!

Freitag, 10. Mai 2013

Guided tours for art lovers in Berlin

When you don't have too much time to spend in Berlin, you need guidance. Especially if you are an art lover, you may want to see the best and as a creative person, from a different perspective. Leslie Vettermann from Kustwege offers a different category of tours for the tourists interested in the classy Berlin. 

- What kind of tours do you offer? What does it mean an art tour in Berlin? Do you also include galleries?

Kunstwege Berlin offers different kind of tours – tours through museums like the Brücke-Museum Berlin - where you can discover the German Expressionism - the ÄgyptischesMuseum – so many things from the ancient Egyptian time are exhibited there - or the Gemäldegalerie – where you can get to know artworks made by artists like Rembrandt or Rubens.
Guided tours through the Pergamon-Museum are planned. But I also offer tours through the city- always with a focus on art and culture! For example I created a city tour about the famous Prussian architect Karl Friedrich Schinkel, where a walk over the Museumsinsel is included.
The art tours of Kunstwege Berlin are suitable for kids, school classes or travel groups. On my homepage www.kunstwege-berlin.de it´s possible to book a “turnkey” tour or - when there are special whishes – to make an individual tour.
At the moment I don´t offer tours through galleries, I want to extend my program of art tours through the city.

- What are the languages of the tours?

The guided tours are bookable in German and in English language.
Leslie at Gemaeldegalerie 
Personal collection Leslie Vettermann

- When is the highest season?

I would say the highest season is spring and summer - then a lot of people are visiting our beautiful capital city and you can spend a lot of time outside and discover Berlin. That is why I´m very happy to be able to offer now guided tours through the city to show visitors the cultural beauties and artworks in the city.
Autumn and winter are good seasons to make a tour through the museums and to get to know another side of Berlin’s culture.

- What is your guided tour offers to someone visiting a museum compared with the usual audio and printed guides offered usually?

My tours are always very vivid and true to life, I can respond to questions and bring people in a closer contact to the artworks they see – a printed or an audio guide can´t answer special questions or create the walk through the museum or city in a colorful way. That´s my big advantage and I love it to explain the visitors the cultural treasures of the different museums and exhibitions.

- What are your recommendations for someone visiting Berlin for the summer?

At the moment there´s a great exhibition in the Stiftung Brandenburger Tor – located at the Pariser Platz  - which is called “Daumier is ungeheuer!”. Honoré Daumier was a famous French artist of the 19. Century and he made a lot of ironical-satiric and political lithographic prints for newspapers. It´s worth seeing it! I´m also offering guided tours through this exciting exhibition!
But besides I would recommend going outside to enjoy the summer in Berlin, to sit in a café and perhaps to visit one of the museums- there are really a plenty of fantastic exhibitions!

Another day at a museum - Kaethe Kollwitz Museum

Maybe I should rename my blog: a museum each day, as I try at least once the week to visit 2-3 museums and a gallery, and for the next weeks and days I have a full list of exhibitions that wait to be discovered. For the moment, I cope with a list of museums that I always wanted to visit in the last 4 years, but whose visit was delayed because always know that the museums will always be there for me. 

One example is Kaethe-Kollwitz-Museum, door-to-door to Literaturhaus, on Fasanenstrasse 24. I've been in the museum's garden at least once, and admired the sculptures spread between trees and flowers, but the idea of entering the building as well never tempted me enough. Two days ago, I checked my priority writing list and decided to go.

I was welcomed by a nice lady, that offered me information in English - the leaflets are available in German and French too. The only warning was to do not use my camera and thus, I only have pictures from the yard and the entrance. As in the case of Kaethe Kollwitz herself, the museum is not a place to go when you are looking for some entertainment. Her works are the dark reflection of the difficult years of the first half of the 20st century: the first World War where her son was killed in the battles, the social unrest when she was on behalf of the poor and naked and the terror of the WWII. She was the first woman member of the Prussian Academy of Arts, and during the war she retired to Nordhausen. A long-time activist on behalf of the German socialists and communists, she visited Moscow in 1927 and dies at 77, in 1945, before the end of the war. The Cold War history in Germany associated her with the leftists ideals of the time, and there are pictures at the exhibition with Soviet soldiers pictures in the front of Kaethe Kollwitz's statue in Prenzlauer Berg, where she lived most of her time.

The exhibition is expanded on three flours. Most part is represented by graphics and lithographies, but also a couple of sculptures. Her figure appear repeatedly either as a self-portrait or as a representation of the figures of women, especially mothers. It is only one self-portrait when she is laughing. Except with the figures of children, very expressive and full of life, her women are deeply sad, fighting with sorrow, poverty and loss. The works are in black and white, structured around themes such as: Germany's children are starving (1923), Weavers' Revolt, Soldiers' wives waiving good bye etc. Beyond the history of art, there is a lot of history that can be learned through her works. 

It is an useful exhibition for anyone interested in the history of Germany and in meeting the work of a German artist from the 20th century. I must confess that since I live here, I enjoy a lot visiting exhibitions of international artists but somehow the local artists are not too familiar to me and in the next weeks and months my plan is to find out more about them in a very systematic and scholarly way.

Dienstag, 7. Mai 2013

The lost Itten Schule in Berlin. Finding the traces of Bauhaus on Kostanzerstrasse

I am for a long time admirer of the colourful works of Paul Klee and I am very interested in the Bauhaus movement so it was only a matter of time till I would visit the new exhibition from Martin Gropius Bau. The event took place yesterday and I was really happy to enjoy the colours, the maze of colours and the long journeys that Johannes Itten and Paul Klee went through in a crazy century. I am not extremely happy of the comparative type of exhibitions when you are like forced to find out the similarities between two or more works, but in this case the similarities were quite natural. Even though I loved the games of colours with the complication geometry and calculations, I preferred the figurative works and those telling me a story. 

After the exhibition, I got a new journalistic assignment: Itten Schule in Berlin, created in 1926 was hosted from 1929 till 1939 (when it was closed by the dictatorship) on Konstanzerstrasse 14, an area where I go quite often but where I did not remember any memorial mention about it. On my way back home, I paid a visit to the place and I had the confirmation that the place is only in the memory of history books. Most probably, the place was destroyed during the war. Now, there you can find a colourful blue building, hosting a dentist cabinet. 

George Grosz has his square in Berlin

Summer is a great occasion to discover new places and spots in the city. As someone who does not like winter, cold and rain at all, I prefer to use the short summer time in Berlin to walk around as much as possible and get the best view of every old and new corner. 

The official opening took place on 6 July 2010
For a couple of weeks already I want to focus on George Grosz Square on Ku'damm. Grosz was the Toulouse Lautrec of a city going through crazy times. The irony of his drawings put him on the black list of the terror times of the 30s. Influenced by Dadaism, but also by Cubism and Expressionism, he moved to the States where he lived till 1959 when he moved back to Berlin and died shortly after in the house of his parents-in-law in Savigny Platz.

The Square is situated on Ku'damm, opposite Haus Cumberland. It is an open space with banks, green trees and at least one coffee where you can spend time reading the latest news after intensive shopping on Ku'damm. 

Grosz's signature, on mosaik

A visit at the Apple store

A powerful location for a strong brand
I am not such a big user of Apple brands, except the iPad from time to time. However, in a city that included the 'hipster' descriptions as part of its identity, the absence of an Apple store was outrageous. Two years ago, when I was writing a guidebook about Berlin, I was told a gossip about such a store on Ku'damm, but after going around for a while I checked three times that it was not such a store in Berlin and went back home deeply disappointed. 

The location that was decided in 2011 and was relatively kept secret for a while. It is hosted in 'Haus Wien' designed in the style of Wilhelmian classicism, that till 2000 used to be either a home theater, a general store or where from time to time art exhibitions were hosted. 

The kids' corner 
The official opening of the store took place the last Friday and hours before the event, while I was having my coffee at the Starbucks opposite Kempinski, I saw a high concentration of media making interviews and getting ready for the show. As usual, there were people in the front of the store waiting as well and proudly checking their Apple devices, but compared to Japan or NYC, the street was still free and as far as I know from the media, there were not special health problems or accidents during the proceedings. 

Hard work and lots of gadgets 
The store in Berlin is the biggest in Germany - and in Europe, according to some evaluations in terms of customer service - , where there are other 10 shops, in Munich and Hamburg too, among others. Around 200 people are ready to serve their customers, in around 18 languages. A couple of seconds after I entered the shop yesterday, a nice smiling young man approached me asked me how he can help me and showed me a leaflet with the main events and workshops expected in the next days. At the first floor, a special office room is scheduled for businesses and various special encounters. Compared with other shops in Berlin, no one will ask you why do you take pictures. Dressed in blue T-shirts, the employees are running around like bees, helping, advising or testing the packages of products before the payment is made. Another good point is that you can pay by card (news, given some reticence for doing it in one of the biggest shops in the city). Near each category of products - all the famous types+accessories are here - among them iBooks, iPads, iPhones, Macintosh, Power Books and various models of iPods - the technical description and prices can be checked on an iPad. It's easy and you do not need to be a super specialized nerd to do it. 

Montag, 6. Mai 2013

A walk in the Tiergarten

To be honest, I did not appreciate too much the advantage of living quite close from the lovely Tiergarten area. It is a gorgeous natural spot in the middle of the busy city, where you can spend hours walking, jogging or biking. During the weekend it may be crowded, especially during the summer when many are picknicking or reading on the grass or sunbathing - some of them exposing various degrees of nakedness - but during the morning, all you can find are tourists, busy people commuting at work Berlin-style and homeless people sleeping around. 

One of the main reasons why I love Berlin is the high concentration of parks and green areas. The air is fresh most part of the time and every time you need some retreat you don't need to travel for hours. It may be less than one hour away from home.
 The construction of the Tierpark started at the end of the 19th century, but was finalized around 1920. It looks very well organized, with a lot of walking areas, but also dead-ends where you can go, rest on a bank and admire the nature.

Tiergarten is situated in the middle of the embassies' quarter, close to the Ku'damm and the Zoologische Garten, Postdamer Platz, the Reichstag and the museum area. There are regular buses coming and going, but if you want to walk, you will discover that all those top-notch objectives are within one hour of reach. 

In the park you can also see a collection of street chandeliers, brought from all over Germany, but also from the Netherlands. I've been once on an organized tour and learned a lot about the history of public lightning in Germany and the beginning of the street design.

If you are around Tiergarten and you have some minutes free, don't hesitate to take a short walk. A full tour of the park can last for one hour, and if you are tired, hungry and thirsty, you can easily find a beergarten or two and even some restaurants that may help feel you happy. 

Das Stue: Hotel Life in the Livingroom

It is nothing new if I say that I went all over the world and saw many hotels and nice places and I even spent a good slice of my life in hotels of various stars and budgets. And continuing by saying that Das Stue is one of the best I've seen in years, is stereotypical again. Instead, I will say that during the nearly 60 minutes I've spent touring the hotel I felt at home. A big, elegant and welcoming home, where I will recommend to stay to all my friends visiting Berlin. The name of the hotel - 'living room', in Danish - makes a lot of sense. 

A bit of history and a little bit more

Das Stue is situated in a green and convenient location: you can go jogging through the Tierpark and take long walks around, visit the Zoo and even admire some of its residents from the window of your hotel room. In case that you have some olfactory sensitivities because of the usual smell of a Zoo, you need to mention it and your room will have a different view. From the hotel you can walk or take the bus to Postdamer Platz, Friedrichstrasse and do a serious shopping on Ku'damm. Almost all the important tourist benchmarks are within 30 minutes of reach. The architect of the building - former location of the Danish legation during the war, was the architect of the famous KaDeWe, Johann Emil Schmidt, who is situated less than 15 minutes away and thus, you will feel at home when shopping too. 
The building is classified as part of the patrimony a status that limited considerably the choices of the architects. But, as it often happens, instead of affecting the overall aesthetic outlook, the limitations encouraged a lot of bold and creative approaches, trademarked by the multi-awarded architect and interior designer Patricia Urquiola.

Lucky and free

The hotel is privately owned which means also that there is a considerable freedom when it comes to various events organized here. Do you have enough guests for renting the entire hotel and bring them all in the 80 rooms? No problem, you can do it and even you will get some discounts. Since January, the hotel was already full booked for one customer at least three times. The busiest season for such an elegant boutique hotel is during the Fashion week and the week-end of the galleries, and obviously, during the ITB. Gala considered Das Stue as the best location for at least one of their parties and regularly special private events, including wine tasting or other tasty gatherings, are organized here very often. 
Most residents are from Germany and Spain - also due to the special Spanish/Mediterranean food served at the restaurant shepherded by Paco Perez, travelling for pleasure or for various business purposes. The busy businessmen and women are offered not only free wifi, but also rooms with special desks where the work is made easy, but also with facilities for conference rooms enjoying perfect privacy and comfort.  
At the bar, designed by Till Harter the same author of the iconic Bar Tausend in Berlin, besides drinks, one may have some special jazz concerts or other cultural events, such as book readings. 

Let's start the tour

This is one of the wonderful results of the limitations of the building: the architects and designers decided to add new blocks that compliment the existing structure. Each room has its own specificities, facilities and setting and each guest will feel happy to share a special personalized space.

A short view from the balcony: the walls are shaped following an unique technique and the result is a fine pattern that made me think of an exquisite wallpaper. Each corner receive some special personalized and intimate touch: a simple yet elegant lamp here, some flowers there, some colourful chairs in the other corner. Don't forget about the old photographs spread in the rooms, lobby and in other spaces that tries to bring back the short period of Berlin's glamour before the storm.

A small conference room that was ready for a tasty wine tasting. The rooms can be fit for more visitors and for various settings. A mini bar can be arranged and various facilities for presentations and other technical requirements are possible. 

A view from the restaurant. A distinctive feature of many rooms is the copper that adds a lot of warm and light into the space. The restaurants has around 25 courses. The fresh fish is brought from Spain. When I visited, it was still time for breakfast and I spotted many fresh colourful fruits and other tasty meals. For the wine lovers, a special collection of Spanish wines and quality white German wines is ready to be discovered.

From the top of the hotel, the world looks green and extremely pleasant.

Each of the 80 rooms is unique: there are rooms with connecting doors, tailored for families with children, with  different design patterns. If you can't leave without your pet/dog, you may be allowed to bring your little furry friend as well, just have to ask about it. Besides the free Internet, any normal double room has TV Apple connections. The storing space is tailored to offer enough space to arrange your clothes and shopping bags in the most practical way without stealing time from your room. In the double room, a discrete corner allows the elegant ladies to set up their own make-up parlour. 

Another surprise: the mini-bar has a lot of handmade products, most of them unique, such as  the Danish Mama Vodka and the sweet Spanish Happy Pills.  

A relaxing corner where you can go out of the room,  refresh your sight and ideas while going through some design books.

The historical stairway is part of the original building and kept unchanged. Because of the patrimony restrictions it was not possible to build an underground parking space but those travelling by car can use the parking lots of the hotel. 

The conference room where the cooper added an elegant and friendly touch. All the facilities are provided.

For those important persons that need more space, they can take the Bel Etage suite that  has access to a bigger living room, direct access to the conference room, a big desk and a relaxing bedroom area, colourful and suited for the special needs of busy people.

For instance, the bathtub is very inviting.

And the bed from the Bel Etage looks perfect for a lazy morning.

A rain of light is welcoming the guests in the lobby. 

At the end of the day, don't miss to visit the organic spa, using Susanne Kaufmann treatments. In case that you want to keep yourself fit but don't fancy the idea of a jogging through the Tierpark, there is possible to use the fitness facilities from the hotel. 
Life is short, so why not spending time in a beautiful ambiance, and enjoying the pleasure of a home when away from home?