Tag Archives | Berlin

UNUSUAL AND UNIQUE HOTELS OF THE WORLD

If there’s one hotel booking website the adventurous travelers need to have at their fingertips, it’s www.uhotw.com, Unusual and Unique Hotels of the World. And I take my hotels seriously.

UNUSUAL AND UNIQUE HOTELS OF THE WORLD WEBSITE

Unusual and Unique Hotels of the World is the best of the unique/boutique hotel booking websites. It’s always the first resource I consult after narrowing down my upcoming trip by countries I intend to visit. The guide classifies properties by 21 different types (from “underground” to “underwater” to “treehouse” and beyond) and rates them on its Wowmeter. You can also sort by destination, view the properties on a map and sort by price. I love this site because it’s so damn fun and user-friendly. Everything a traveler needs to know on a potential destination is presented intuitively and booking a reservation is easy.

When I win the lottery I will be off on a round-the-world tour of Unusual and Unique Hotels of the World places. In the meantime, I’ll have to make do with my memories of the places where I’ve already stayed. Three of my favorite properties that I found from the website are hotels with spaces that have been turned into habitable works of art: the Hotel Silken Puerta America, the ART Hotel Atelier sul Mare and the Propeller Isand City Lodge.

HOTEL SILKEN PUERTA AMERICA, MADRID

Hotel Puerta America

The Hotel Silken Puerta America is a must-stay for architecture and design afficionados. Located near the Madrid Airport, it’s a difficult building to miss, what with 14 storeys painted in a rainbow of colors. It gets better. Inside, each floor is wildly different from the next, transformed by a different, famous architect/designer into their futuresque vision. Staying here is a big vertical party at which everyone rides the elevator and trades floor access with their fellow hip guests. Choose your floor in advance of your visit (depending upon availability, obviously).

ART HOTEL ATELIER SUL MARE, SICILY

ART Hotel Atelier sul Mare a unique hotel

Many of the Atelier sul Mare rooms have been designed by a different artist and no two are alike. Most of the rooms are minimal and incorporate a water theme (which makes sense: the property overlooks the sea). Picking your room in advance is almost as much fun as staying here.

PROPELLER ISLAND CITY LODGE, BERLIN

Propeller Island City Lodge

One artist, the owner of the Propeller Island City Lodge, designed each of the hotel’s rooms, which run the gamut from the spiritual to the sexual (if you find coffins, cages and mirrored ceilings sexy). I wasted hours online selecting my room, and finally booked the more tame Tempel Room when I visited Berlin.

Why just visit museums when you travel when you can stay in one? Or maybe I’m preaching to the choir. What’s your favorite Unusual and Unique Hotels of the World property?

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WHAT TO DO IN BERLIN FOR FUN (part two)

What to do in Berlin, you ask? Have fun, and don’t get caught! There’s visiting the Reichstag (and take some golf balls: I’ve got a dare for you), sneaking into an unassuming bank building that belies a suprise interior, a picnic in the Lustgarten and then some cathedral crashing.

The Reichstag

Home to Germany’s parliament, the Reichstag was opened in 1894, suffered damage and destruction for decades and was rebuilt in the 1990′s. Go early (it opens at 8:00 daily) to avoid the worst lines.

Once inside, you’ll walk a spiraled ramp hugging the perimeter of a glass dome (representing transparency in government) to be treated to an unparalleled 360-degree view of Berlin at the top.

Now here’s your mission, if you choose to accept it. GOLF BALLS! Oh, how I yearned to have a handful of golf balls to toss down the ramp to see if they’d roll all the way to the bottom. I asked one of the INFORMATION guys if anyone had ever attempted.

“Never,” he replied stoically, revealing all the gaity and sense of humor for which Germans are famous.

Reichstag Berlin

DZ BANK BUILDING

Once you’ve completed your Reichstag mission, head to Brandenburg Gate (an easy walk), check it out for a minute, then walk through to the Pariser Platz square, which usually teems with people, but no one pays attention to the innocuous DZ Bank building, number 3, rectangular and staid, blending innocently enough into the surroundings, easily overlooked. Act like you know what you’re doing and that you belong there, and sneak past the guards for a quick look inside.

Your reward: a towering, curvaceous carp formed from titanium and glass as only Frank O. Gehry can design. Now take you picture (mine below) and get the hell out!

Gehry Building Berlin

Lustgarten

You packed a gourmet lunch with your purchases from the KDW food hall yesterday, right? Well, walk to Museum Island and enjoy a picnic in the Lustgarten (Pleasure Garden). Nosh, watch Berliners at rest and play, and get in some good lusting.

BERLINER DOM

The Berliner Dom Cathedral is right there (I love its proximity to the Lustgarten’s LUST signs). The domed ceiling is stunning.

Viewing is allowed during scheduled hours, but not during services. But in the spirit of today’s adventures, why let that stop you?

Berliner Dom Berlin

Berliner Dom Berlin Ceiling

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SONY CENTER BERLIN: THE CITY’S CENTERFOLD

Who knew Berlin was so photogenic? And that the Sony Center Berlin makes for such an attractive centerfold.

After a couple big ‘ol frosty steins of hefeweizen at a random restaurant in the centrally-located Potsdamer Platz neighborhood, I weave over to the Sony Center and take the best photos of the trip. I’ve found that a few drinks actually improves my:

  • Speaking in public,
  • Golfing,
  • Sex,
  • Taking photos and
  • Telephone interviewing for a job

Although there’s definitely a point of diminishing returns. Also worth noting, a cocktail or two tends to have a deleterious effect upon:

  • Driving,
  • Taking the SATs,
  • Scrapbooking,
  • Painting my nails and
  • In-person interviewing for a job

The Sony Center Berlin is a futuristic building containing a mix of shops, restaurants, a conference centre, hotel rooms, rented suites and condominiums (I could see myself living here), offices, art and film museums, cinemas, an IMAX theater, a small version of Legoland, and a “Sony Style” store. If you’re sightseeing in Berlin and it’s a rainy day, this is the place to go.

 

SONY CENTER BERLIN MONEY SHOTS

1) View across the street from Sony Center Berlin:

View from Sony Center Berlin

 

2) Inside Sony Center Berlin.

Sony Center Berlin

 

3) Berlin Film and Television Museum (Deutsch Kinemathek Museum fur Film and Fernsehen). I didn’t really enjoy this museum all that much, but then I’m not a film buff. By the way, The Germans love their Marlene Dietrich.

Berlin Film and Television Museum

 

4) Building next to Sony Center

Building Next to Sony Center Berlin

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