My first time in Berlin, I stayed at The Circus. Yes, it’s a real place, and it’s even better than it sounds. It started as a hostel – the kind of hostel with a sidewalk cafe with mirrors and wood paneling and where people who weren’t even staying there might come for a cappuccino or beer. The year before I stayed there, they’d opened a similarly affordable and stylish hotel across the street; both buildings are perched on Rosenthaler Platz, ideally located on the border between central Mitte and hip (in a vintage, tree-lined sort of way) Prenzlauer Berg. And then, last year, they opened serviced apartments around the corner. There’s a reason these properties are consistently considered the best lodging in Berlin. Affordable, stylish, ideally-located, friendly… you really can’t go wrong.
As I started planning my lodging for this return trip, I was determined to find the absolute best option for my budget in the city. I didn’t want to stay in a hostel again – I’m not a broke graduate anymore – and Berlin is known for its wealth of worthy options.
I had only a few parameters:
1. Reasonably priced (ideally less than 130 euros/night, if not less)
2. Hotel, or apartment serviced by a company (Traveling as a solo woman, I didn’t feel completely comfortable renting through AirBnB, where only that owner would know where I was. Also, places with common areas mean you can make friends.)
3. In Prenzlauer Berg, or very nearby in Mitte
Of course, all my research led me back to The Circus Hotel (not the hostel, this time), but there’s a downside to all this positive publicity: they were fully booked. So I had to get creative. Here are the options I came up with, should you find yourself in Berlin anytime soon:
Beautiful boutique property in my ideal location, on the southern side of Prenzlauer Berg. They only take cash, so it’s a bit harder to find online, but is worth it once you do. One TripAdvisor reviewer called it “living in Pinterest.” Above, you’ll find a picture of my room from my own stay; below, a shot of the grounds. I really enjoyed it, though I wish I’d realized that the rooms in Ackselhaus are more apartments and the ones in Blue Home are newer and more like regular rooms. I stayed in Ackselhaus.
Rooms from 130 euros/night, including a delicious breakfast at their café.
Serviced apartments in two buildings in southern Prenzlauer Berg. Owned by a family, beautifully decorated, and have a cafe downstairs for breakfast. The best of both worlds, so far as I can tell. In the high season, apartments from 120/night, before breakfast and fees.
Again, great location in P’Berg, with two lodging options: serviced apartments or a B&B (currently being finished, so it’s just bed at the moment, breakfast cafe to come soon). Each room/apartment is uniquely decorated, and well-priced (they offered me a two-bedroom for five nights for 455 euros), but until they get the cafe up and running, it’s just an apartment, which isn’t quite what I was looking for. A solo traveler needs a place to meet people.
Boutique hotel in Mitte, not too far from where I wanted to be. Rooftop bar, avant-garde decor, and not too expensive for the area. If I didn’t know I could get somewhere more suited to my needs for slightly less or around the same price, this would be a great option. Still, with the location not absolutely perfect, and the price working out to $847 for five nights, I can do without the rooftop bar.
Needless to say, there are plenty of other great places I came upon as well, so if none of these work for you, check out art’otel Berlin-Mitte, Cosmo Hotel, MiniLoft, Ostel, Old Town Apartments–Berlin, Arte Luise Kunsthotel, Be My Guest Berlin, and Hotel Amano, to name a few. It really depends upon what you’re looking for. All of these are relatively reasonably priced, but you can definitely get more or less expensive places, depending on your criteria.