The last time when I was in a hostel was probably more than 15 years ago, when I was a king of backpacking in Eastern Europe. I do not like too much the crowded spaces and my observations in terms of cleanliness did not convince me that I should insist with such accommodation options.
This summer, I gave a new chance to the hostels, by visiting Circus Hostel and Hotel in Mitte Berlin.
The hostel was completely renovated 3 years ago, and is permanently in process of embellishment. The basement bar will be completely redesigned soon, for instance, and the hotel, on the other end of the street went through some refurbishing too. During the summer time, the hostel was fully booked with visitors from all over the world, especially from UK, US, Australia, but also South America.
The hostel was opened in 2001, and the hotel in 2008. The apartments, situated on Choriner str. are the newest addition to the portfolio, from 2011.
The entire complex - hostel, hotel plus apartments - has the benefits of an in situ team of interior designers and architects. Each of the room I've visited in the hostel and hotel looked different, inviting and moderately colourful. Thus, most of the visitors are attracted no only by the great location - Rosenthaler Platz, the meeting point between East and West- and the great tours offered regularly - in English, about the history of Berlin, but in an alternative way - but also by the inviting rooms. Even though Berlin is the last city on earth where you can go for spending time in a hotel room!
For the hotel and hostels, the maximum stay is of 10 days. The prices differ from a season to another, the highest season being, obviously, the summer. Who does not want to discover by him or herself the unique German summer? As both the hostel, hotel and apartments can be full booked from May to September, a reservation at least one month in advance is highly recommended. The Fashion Week or Berlin Film Festival are another high season moments for the Circus, as for the hotel and tourism industry of Berlin in general.
The studio offers a generous space for families, with a clean kitchen and a fridge. The rooms in theb hotel do not have a minibar as the Circus is committed to support sustainable development and thus, tries to avoid as much as possible any waste of energy. The breakfast is not included in the price of the room, and free room service is available for the residents. The reception is available 24/7 so you will find at any time anyone interested to answer your questions or requests. The reception is also the place where one can find adapters, irons, handryers, kettles or babyphones. No worries, you will have everything you need for an adventure-less stay and even more. As usual, it is important to know when and where to ask the right person!
Are you a little workoholic and you cannot live without at least one hour of work the day? You will have free wifi not only in the room, but also in the lobby or in the restaurant. For those travelling by car, a secure underground park is provided, otherwise, you will be helped to find your own transportation: a bike or a Segway, for instance.
The only disadvantage of this beautiful room is that the restroom is outside. Otherwise, it is a very welcoming design choice in a colourful ambiance. At least at the level of Berlin, I can say that it is the best looking hostel in town.
The severe metal bed - which I usually associate either with a hospital room or with a prison cell - is sweetly domesticated by the colours of the curtain. It reflects the conception of the chief interior designer Sandra Ernst, according to which: 'I wanted something beyond the ordinary, bright and cheerful, with individual pieces and elements that are house-crafted and individually selected'.
On the top of the building, the visitor can have a gorgeous panoramic view of the entire Berlin: East and West meeting together graciously. A map in English is providing explanations about what can be seen. If during your stay you want to improve your knowledge about Berlin and even about the local music, ask at the reception about the available titles in the Berlin film library or what are the newest downloads in the iPods with Berlin music.
The next stop of my tour of the Circus was at the hotel, five minutes across the street. The restaurant and bar serve exclusively German products, with vegetarian and vegan options included. Here are hosted regularly various literary and historical discussions. Especially during the long winter, it is a good destination not only for the visitors in Berlin, but also for the exasperated expats. Check, for instance, the monthly discussions about eyewitness history.
Compared to the hostel, there are here are more colours and glamour, but the same personalized pattern is maintained for every room. Except the price, what the hotel offers more than the hostel is a certain ambiance and more quietness. The hostel is full of life and action all round the day, while the hotel is more intimate and silent. If you are into yoga, you will find a nice corner too for exercising.
A little table for catching up with the latest news. The hostel and the hotel also provide daily delivery of local and international news so you will not feel disconnected while on the road. An in house publication, C-Magazine, is available for the guests.
All the rooms of Circus are non-smoking and strict smoking policies are enforced. Another aspects of the sustainable policy followed by the Circus is that 100% of the paper used is recyclable and the energy is generated from 100% CO2 free sources. The roof top solar plant provides energy necessary for the basic demands.
The rooms are daily cleaned and inviting you to stay and, eventually, to return. This feeling of familiarity is predominant all over the Circus. An open hand on the wall, but not Adams Family style.
The Fabisch restaurant, very often used by the Berliners for their daily lunches and long coffees, is designed in a simple, but chic way, without too much furniture sophistication. The menus are prepared by a team coordinated by chef Roman Bigalski has a predominant German cuisine.
During the summer, the interior yard is the best place where one can enjoy eating. At least me, I did not find any other better place. It is isolated from the busy streets of Mitte and offers a oasis of calm and privacy. You can plan your trip, check your e-mails or chit-chat with the others Berlin visitors.
Do you like to sleep late in the morning? You can enjoy your breakfast till later in the day. Without rush, you will have your coffee and your healthy morning meal and you can start to explore the city. For directions, the reception team is ready to help you not only with a map or some basic information, but with alternative insights and tips for what is the best to do in town in that specific day.
Life in the Circus is good!