This is a sleek, all-white, 60-square-metre apartment with an open-plan kitchen, ﬁreplace and minimalist bedroom ﬂooded with light. It also ﬂoats on water. Docked in a small bay on the Spree River surrounded by reeds and ducks, it’s about 25 minutes’ bike ride from the city centre, and just 15 minutes from the famous club Berghain.
This one’s for design-savvy travellers bored with formulaic boutique-hotel rooms, couples looking for a quirky romantic getaway, or urban adventurers in need of a private pocket of serenity to retire to during a weekend of clubbing. Owned by the two brothers behind Welcome Beyond – a more upmarket version of Airbnb – the boat comes equipped with two sturdy hipster bicycles and a city map.
If you tire of cooking, the neighbouring Hafenküche café is a terriﬁc spot for a long, lazy weekend brunch. Although that ﬁreplace keeps temperatures toasty in winter, life on the river is certainly more appealing in summer, when there are boats to rent for further exploration and the more daring may be tempted to dive off the terrace straight into the Spree.
Walk into the St Oberholz café, furnished with a homely mix of mismatched tables, and you’ll ﬁnd it packed with students and young professionals behind Apple laptops, fuelled by cappuccinos and homemade cakes.
Owner Ansgar Oberholz opened the café on busy Rosenthaler Platz in the heart of Mitte in 2005. ‘We knew we wanted to revive the energy of the space – in the 1920s it was a famous beer hall popular with artists and writers – but we never guessed that we’d end up attracting such a hi-tech crowd and becoming one of the city’s most popular IT and creative hubs.’ The trick was to provide free Wi-Fi and allow the use of laptops, which even now is uncommon in Berlin.
In 2007, Oberholz opened two big, light-ﬁlled apartments above the café, each with three bedrooms and a kitchen. The interiors feel both classic and contemporary, with high ceilings and original wooden ﬂoors, sleek white tables and funky blackand-white murals by local artists. A work space was recently added on one ﬂoor, and early next year Oberholz will open up a whole new building right around the corner. Also to be called St Oberholz, it will be a similar mix of café, work space and three modern, two-storey apartments. www.sanktoberholz.de.
These smart, year-old apartments are full of dramatic little details, starting with the subtle signage above the front door and ﬁctitious names – such as Clara Ludwig – in an old-fashioned font next to the 35 buzzers. So it’s hardly surprising to discover that Gorki’s affable general manager, Peter Ehrlich, one of the driving forces behind the property, is a former actor.
Together with architect Kim Wang and interior designer Sandra Pauquet, he has worked hard to inject real character into these comfortable, chic suites. Even in Lotte, one of the smallest, there’s a wall of metallic tiles in the tiny kitchen and a variety of surfaces – reclaimed wood for the sliding bathroom door, light parquet ﬂoors, funky black-and-white octagonal tiles in the bathroom – creating a cool-looking space with a touch of edgy glamour.
Most of the other apartments are much bigger, with a bedroom and separate living space generous enough to entertain, and all are different: a rustic wooden dining table might be surrounded by a mix of chairs found at a ﬂea market; in the corner could be a piece from Dixon or Knoll. But what really makes the apartments stand out is the fact that, although they are in a very central location on the border of the buzzy Mitte and Prenzlauer Berg neighbourhoods, most of them are set around a quiet courtyard at the back, so you can actually get a good night’s sleep. www.gorkiapartments.de.