Let's introduce a new concept to you – urban glamping. No? How about if we told you your downtown dwelling lies in one of the world's most vibrant cities, within easy walking distance of such iconic sites as the Brandenburg Gate and Checkpoint Charlie? Still not convinced? What if we told you you'd be staying in some of the quirkiest glamping accommodation this side of the River Spree? "Mmmm...Tell me more", you say? Don't mind if we do.
When events manager Silke and interior designer Sarah first laid eyes on this former vacuum cleaner factory in Berlin's south-eastern Neukölln district, they could immediately see the potential that others could not. Combining the knowledge of their respective fields with a scavenger's resourceful eye and a whole bunch of passion, Hüttenpalast was born. Now in its fourth year, this most unique of places makes a strong case as one of the hippest holiday experiences in one of this über-cool city's hippest corners.
For those whose GCSE German was nicht sehr gut, Hüttenpalast's rather audacious moniker means 'hut palace' and is 100% justified. If you're picturing stark factory walls and bleak utilitarian decor, prepare to be pleasantly surprised. Amidst the kitsch fake grass and real, fairylit silver birch trees, Hüttenpalast boasts a collection of awesomely refurbished vintage campervan/caravans-cum-rooms, wooden cabins, and even an antique wood-panelled reception room ("with roof terrace!"). Take the 'Little Sister' – a cosy cocoon finished with intricate white stone wall mosaic and crisp cotton bed sheets. Or the 'Nomad', whose elegant wooden interior belies a crazy day-glo paint job redolent of Berlin's own ubiquitous street art. Whichever madcap mobile you opt for, you'll have the run of Hüttenpalast's enormous communal living space, excellent café/restaurant, or chill on the hammock amongst the abundant greenery and vegetables of the yard – a true urban oasis.
Emerging from Hüttenpalast's distinctive candy-striped frontage, you'll be struck by just how much Neukölln has to offer. It's boho-central so expect a whole host of hipster hangouts and artsy vibes. What's more, as one of Berlin's most ethnically diverse neighbourhoods, you're spoilt for choice with places to eat – head down Karl Marx Strasse for the pick of the Turkish eateries. On a summer's day, the locals congregate in the famous former airfield Tempelhofer, now one of the city's loveliest parks. And if it rains... well, one thing's for sure; you needn't worry about your accommodation getting waterlogged.
Shared bathrooms with separate men's & woman's facilities; 2 showers each (the hotel rooms have en suite facilities). Cafe/Restaurant onsite. Spacious (150m2) living room. Bike rental (€10/24hours). Free wi-fi throughout.
Large groups, families – yes. Tent camping – no. Dogs are not allowed in the the caravans and cabins but they are ok in the hotel rooms.
Have a stroll, kick a ball, or a chill out with a picnic at the famous former Templhofer Airfield, now one of the city's loveliest parks. Haggle to your heart's content at Neukölln's Turkish market every Tuesdays and Fridays in the Maybachufer. You'll find everything from olives and baklava to knitwear in Berlin's second biggest market. Boho Kreuzberg is where the cool kids hang out with plenty of louche coffee lounges and art galleries, including the open-air East Side Gallery daubed over the Berlin Wall. See the city's sites with a blast from Berlin's Cold War past with Trabi Safari (0049 34 922 66507). Rent the iconic Eastern Bloc standard issue cars from just €55.00.
Food & Drink
The onsite café and restaurant serves up delicious regional/seasonal dishes such as Zurich-style seitan stew. There's plenty of healthy, vegetarian options and most dishes are reasonable at under €8. Guests of the caravans and cabins are given complimentary coffee, croissant, and fruit, while there's a decent daily breakfast menu as extra. For the carnivore's, Berlin Burger International (0049 17 854 07409) is fast becoming a Neukölln institution. Be warned though, these tasty towering buns might just defeat you. The more health-conscious should head to Sauvage (0049 30 531 67547), Berlin's premier paleo-dining experience. You'll not find a sugar, starch, or processed vital in sight. Hipsters should head to the über-trendy Das Gift (0049 30 123 456) for some post dinner libations, with late-night DJs and live music a regular fixture.
Easily reachable from both Schönefeld and Tegel airports via BVG and undergound. If you arriving by car, be aware Hüttenpalast is situated within Berlin's Environmental Zone and you will need a special sticker for your car which can be acquired from reception. There's also a free car park around the corner or, if you do not want to park in the street, the parking deck at Hermannplatz in the Karstadt building which is open 24 hours and costs €5 per day.
Nearest underground station is Hermannplatz which is on both the U8 and U7 lines.
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