History and creativity are twin forces that run through Berlin, and the hotels in the capital of Germany reflect this. The mix makes for an interesting lineup of choices.
Berlin is in constant transition, so choosing a place to stay can sometimes be a bit intimidating. Here's a small sampling of hotels you may wish to consider -- from the gloriously grand to the popularly priced -- to help get you started when you travel here:
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This privately owned five-star hotel is at Potsdamer Platz -- so that puts visitors oh-so-close to the Brandenburg Gate, Checkpoint Charlie and other tourist sights.
A definite highlight of the hotel is its restaurant FACIL, which has two Michelin stars. The fifth-floor dining is light and airy, and you can indulge with dishes such as terrine of duck foie gras or a gazpacho of rhubarb and tomato with Bayonne bacon and asparagus.
Its 158 rooms and suites are light-filled in classic, neutral tones of creams and browns, and feature beds with Egyptian cotton sheets. Room sizes go from studios to sprawling penthouses.
Mandala Hotel: Potsdamer Strasse 3, 10785 Berlin, Germany; +49 30 590050000
Hotel de Rome
Just off Berlin's grand Unter den Linden, the imposing Hotel de Rome is popular with visiting diplomats and politicians. Like seemingly everything in the German capital, it has an unexpected backstory: It was the former headquarters of the Dresdner Bank.
In the mid-2000s, the elegant neoclassical building was converted by British hotelier Sir Rocco Forte, a one-time playboy who decked out the former bank in imperial reds and blues, installing flat-screens and black marble and filling the old jewel vault with a swimming pool and spa.
Its 108 rooms start off at the "classic" size -- and look decidedly classy -- and go up 37 suites in a wide variety of styles. You can enjoy afternoon tea at the hotel's Opera Court, and the rooftop terrace has good views of nearby classical buildings.
Hotel de Rome: Behrenstrasse 37, 10117 Berlin Germany; +49 30 460 6090
Berlin Das Stue Hotel
The building the hotel now occupies was constructed in the late 1930s and housed Denmark's embassy. Today, the hotel still evokes that 1930s atmosphere with its grand stone exterior and impressive lobby.
But in the rooms, you'll feel the presence of the 21st century with contemporary furnishings, pops of color and rain showers in the bathrooms.
As for the location, Das Stue has pleasing views of Tiergarten park and is just a short walk from its attractions.
Berlin Das Stue Hotel: Drakestraße 1, 10787 Berlin, Germany; +49 30 3117220
Hotel am Steinplatz
This striking example of art nouveau architecture was first opened as a hotel in 1913. A hundred years later, it was reopened after a massive overhaul, which seamlessly blended its older elements with modern introductions.
Hotel am Steinplatz promises an atmosphere of the 1920s, but a quiet one.
In its 87 rooms (no two alike), you'll find natural materials, clean lines and calming shades of taupe, gray and ivory that evoke the art deco era. For the ultimate experience, you can pony up for the spa suite, which includes a sauna, freestanding tub and rain shower.
Hotel am Steinplatz, Autograph Collection: Steinpl. 4, 10623 Berlin, Germany; +49 030 55 4444 0
Patrick Hellmann Schlosshotel
For those looking to enjoy Berlin from a less urban home base, the Schlosshotel im Grunewald, in the upscale and leafy Charlottenburg neighborhood, offers bucolic surroundings and luxury.
Located in a 19th century palace that once belonged to an acolyte of Kaiser Wilhelm II, it has been a favorite of the visiting elite for more than a century (guests have included Robert Kennedy, Konrad Adenauer and, during the World Soccer Championships, the German national soccer team).
Schlosshotel's rooms are outfitted with gorgeous antiques (Karl Lagerfeld was involved in a 1990s redesign) and its common areas and elegant balconies testify to the hotel's glorious past. It's a 15 to 20 minute walk from the S-Bahn and U-Bahn system.
Patrick Hellmann Schlosshotel: Brahmsstrasse 10 Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf, 14193 Berlin Germany; +49 30 895 84 30
Casa Camper Berlin
The second outpost of a boutique hotel mini-chain started by Spain's Camper shoe company, this 51-room hotel is in the heart of Berlin's Mitte shopping and sightseeing district, a short walk from Museum Island and the Mulackstrasse boutiques.
Like the shoe brand behind it, the hotel is stylish but understated, offering stunning views over the rooftops of central Berlin.
The rooms are awash in both Camper's rich trademark red and bright Berlin sunlight. Amenities include a 24-hour snack and drink bar, spacious glass showers and Camper slippers.
Casa Camper Berlin: Weinmeisterstrasse 1, 10178 Berlin Germany; +49 30 2000 3410
Hotel nhow Berlin
If you've got the music in you, then you may want to be in the Hotel nhow Berlin.
MTV Berlin and Universal Music are a short walk away, but you don't even need to leave the hotel to get your jam on. It has iPod docking and 24-hour room service for keyboards and guitars. It even has two recording studios (those are booked separately).
The color scheme of the more than 300 rooms is a riot of futuristic pink, and the hotel says many of the rooms overlook the Spree.
And should you overindulge in Berlin's infamous nightlife scene, nhow offers a free late checkout on Sundays up to 5 p.m.
Hotel nhow Berlin: Stralauer Allee 3, 10245 Berlin, Germany; +49 30 290 2990
Soho House Berlin
In 2010, the Soho House Berlin, a hotel and private club aimed at the city's upwardly mobile "creative" class, became the newest tenant on Torstrasse, a street in central Berlin once peppered with squats and illegal art spaces.
The late Bauhaus structure opened as a department store in 1928. It was later seized by the Nazis and its Jewish owners forced out. After World War II, it was put to use by the communists. After a major renovation, Soho House includes a spa, a library with cinema, state-of-the-art gym and heated rooftop pool.
Rooms are a beguiling mix of industrial and chic. They include heated floors, fresh-baked cookies and, in true bohemian-bourgeois fashion, an old time gramophone and selection of vinyl LPs. You can also ask about apartment and lofts for rent.
Soho House Berlin: Torstrasse 1, 10119 Berlin Germany; +49 30 405 0440
This small, very informal operation offers a very interesting mix of rooming options.
At its main location on Eberswalder Strasse in Prenzlauer Berg, you can choose from six rooms, a separate three-room apartment or a street-level studio that can also host small presentations or meetings. You can also inquire about three separate apartments in the Mitte neighborhood.
In the main location, you'll find a fascinating mix of random decors. One room has a cozy feel with recycled wood while another appeals to the metallic-minded industrialist.
There's not a 24-hour reception area, so you'll need to make arrangements with the owners if you plan to keep odd hours.
Linnen: Eberswalder Str. 35, 10437 Berlin, Germany; +49 30 47 37 24 40
Grimm's Hotel am Potsdamer Platz
As the name implies, the atmosphere here is totally "Grimm" with the decor taking a cue from the famed fairytale writers. There are 110 rooms (six are "royal suites"), and you might drift off to sleep with a motif of Snow White or Hansel and Gretel guiding your dreams. You may even find excerpts from Grimm stories on your room's walls.
Beyond the nods to fairy tales, the rooms are streamlined and modern. For an extra fee, you can enjoy the Finnish sauna on the hotel's eighth floor.
The hotel offers a cultural package to set you up with some discounted entertainment, and the hotel itself is set along the Landwehr Canal, a favorite strolling area for locals.
Grimm's Hotel am Potsdamer Platz: Flottwellstraße 45, 10785 Berlin, Germany; +49 30 2580080