Budget boutique bliss at Circus Hotel in Berlin
Circus Hotel where we stayed in Berlin was a real find for me and I’d recommend it to anyone. It’s full of contemporary charm, with warm and friendly staff, plenty of personal little touches and best of all it won’t break the bank.
I was looking for an apartment within a hostel or hotel for the five of us and contacted the sister Circus Hostel just across the road, but as their apartment was already booked they referred me to the newly opened Circus Hotel. In the end I booked a 4 person apartment for the teen princesses and a twin room for myself and second mum, Wendy.
After an easy train journey direct from Schonefeld airport, we took 45 minutes to arrive at the hotel, following the directions on their website. It’s situated on the busy intersection of Rosenthalerplatz and first sight is of the takeaway bar on the ground floor, but just around the corner is the hotel entrance and fabulous Fabish restaurant. We were warmly greeted by one of the staff who walked us through the internal courtyard to our rooms, explaining that the hotel had originally been a group of shops and warehouses before it was renovated to make the hotel which opened in October 2008.
The teen princesses couldn’t believe their luck with their apartment – with well equiped kitchen (for making hot chocolate with marshmallows of course) with i-pod home to create the musical ambiance. Then there were two well-sized bedrooms which they quickly converted to a sleep-over den and not one but two stylish shower rooms between the three of them. The decor was upmarket Ikea with some quirky pictures and accessories to give it a slightly kitch feel. Best of all the mums were banished to the other side of the interior courtyard with no-one to nag them to turn off the lights and stop talking.
Our room was a little more sophisticated in neutral shades of taupe and marine blue with accents of turquoise, leather and bamboo furniture and some slightly strange but not displeasing picures with a Polish Olympic theme. The room was on the small side and if I went again, I might ask if they had one overlooking the courtyard rather than the street, but the double glazing kept the street-noise to a minimum. Anyhow, there’s something atmospheric about hearing a tram rattle beneath your window in the morning.
The shower room was the same modern neutral style with a walk-in shower big enough for two and large, powerful shower jet. The hotel operates an eco-friendly policy of not putting toiletries in the room, but a selection of Weleda miniatures is freely available on reception as you need them, and very nice they were too. There was also a handy safe in the room which was big enough for a laptop and if you’re having withdrawal syptoms at the lack of a minibar, then stock up on miniatures of local liqueurs at the shop across the road.
The first night we were too tired to explore the surrounding area so we ate in the Fabisch restaurant which serves German favourites with a modern twist, sourcing ingredients as locally as possible. Wendy and I both had the 2 course daily special for €11 which was a delicious stuffed chicken leg followed by Tiramasu, washed down by the local wheat beer.
The breakfasts were also delicious with either the ‘Berlin’ platter of cold meats and cheeses with crusty brown bread, croissants with jam, or the ‘Vitality’ breakfast of fruit salad, yoghurt and meusli. I tried a different one each day and enjoyed them all. Only one morning when the hotel was full did we have to remind the staff several times before our coffee arrived. The restaurant had a relaxed feel, with a colourful bar where we could have sat and sipped Mojito cocktails all night had we not been slumped in the squashy leather chairs after a hard day’s sightseeing.
What particularly impressed me were the little personal touches that the hotel had thought of to enhance our visit to Berlin such as the DVDs of Berlin films you could borrow, the i-pods charged with Berlin music or the yoga equipment to borow. The staff were all particularly charming and falling over themselves to give help and recommendations in flawless English.
I was puzzled by the fact that I rarely saw the same face twice, and when I quizzed them I found out that many are students, who were selected for their customer care skills and informal but professional attitude. I found them all so helpful that the little devil in me was tempted to test their patience by asking several of them in turn for restaurant recommendations in the area, and they all came up with plenty of excellent suggestions. The hotel has Wifi throughout, although unfortunately their whole internet connection went down while I was there, so I had to sit in the restaurant using the Wifi of the cafe across the road.
If you can get an apartment, I thoroughly recommend them as excellent value – they have two for four people and two for two people. The price of the 4 person apartment at €160 was cheaper than the price of two double rooms which cost from €88, and with the extra living space. If you’re travelling alone on a tight budget then they also have cheaper single rooms, but if you’re not in the not really in the market for hotel prices, then I’d go to the sister Circus Hostel across the road where they also have apartments and en suite rooms as well as dorms.
After three nights in Berlin I felt that we’d hardly scratched the surface of things to see and do and If I return some time in the future, you can be sure that I’ll be checking into the Circus Hotel again. I left feeling that I’d come from the cosy home of a most stylish new best friend who’d welcome me back warmly any time.
Circus Hotel, Rosenthaler Strasse 1, 10119, Berlin