Berlin is a laid back, creative city, rich in culture and thought provoking history. The wide streets, filled with cyclists and non aggressive drivers, huge apartments and green spaces, made me question how impossible London has become, as ridiculous property prices mean even the most remote parts of the city have been ‘discovered.’
While I probably won’t be moving any time soon as London is now part of my DNA, I am going to try and seek out more cities like Berlin in the future. So here is the first of my list of top five things to do in interesting places
For a treat stay at Soho House. The grade II-listed building was designed in the Neue Sachlichkeit (New Objectivity) style by architects Georg Bauer and Siegfried Friedlander began life in the late 1920s as Jonass & Co, a seven-storey department store with a rooftop restaurant. When the National Socialist Party came to power in January 1933, the department store’s Jewish owners were pushed out by shareholders. The the vacant building was sold to the Reich Youth Leadership, and served as the organisation’s headquarters during the Second World War.
Now a stylish and luxurious hotel, with the most comfortable beds (always important), I was tempted to stay in the room and use all the Cowshed products on offer. But there is also a rooftop pool and bar to hang out in – although the ‘beautiful people’ hanging out round the pool, can be slightly intimidating! It does frustrate me that all too often cool (expensive) places seem to be geared towards the young – or is that just me?
The Store on the ground floor, combines art, culture, lifestyle, fashion and food and is rather fabulous. A London branch at 180 The Strand is opening this month, which will host the The Infinite Mix exhibition curated by the Hayward Gallery and includes an organic restaurant, retail and creative space featuring exclusive collaborations with the artists in the show.
The Boros Collection is a private collection of contemporary art, located in a converted bunker. This is worth a visit for the building alone, which was used as an air raid shelter in the war, a banana warehouse in the 50s and a fetish club in the 90s. It is now owned by private collectors Christian and Karen Boros, who live in a penthouse on the top of the building.
Only accessible by booking a guided tour, they have a no photo policy – it’s a must see. Book well in advance.
SUPER concept space offers interiors, fashion and cuisine all under one stylish roof. Located in Bikini Berlin, right in the heart of Berlin City West, this urban design space offer a unique and and good selection of high-quality brands and great food. Good for lunch or dinner.
Clärchens Ballhaus (see last weeks post) – is a ballroom founded in 1913 by husband and wife Fritz and Clara Bühler. Unlike the trendy shops, cafes and galleries in this area, this interior of this building has remained mostly unchanged since it was built over 100 years ago. Apart from being used as a restaurant, Clärchens Ballhaus is regularly used as a concert hall, as well as hosting nightly dance sessions.
The Jüdishe Mädchenschule built in Mitte in 1835, was Berlin’s first school for jewish girls. It was closed by Hitler in 1942 when it was used as a military hospital. These days, to honour the past, the refurbished building is open to the public.
There are galleries a restaurant, and a jewish deli – where we had the best pastrami sandwich I have ever eaten.
The area around the school is great for cafes, shops and galleries.