Germany’s creative capital Berlin is one of Europe’s most exciting cities, offering cutting-edge art, bars, restaurants and clubs, backdropped by historic monuments and happening modern architecture.
Sleep: At Mitte’s coolest crossroads in the heart of former East Berlin, Soho House Berlin boutique hotel blends industrial and opulent design, with 40 inspiring rooms, a buzzy bistro, private cinema, spa and bar. For a refined retreat further from the centre, Schlosshotel im Grunewald is a Karl Lagerfeld-styled sanctuary near Grunewald forest, with 53 rooms, elegant dining and a chic spa.
Shop: Walk along Alte or Neue Schönhauser Strasse in Mitte, or nearby offshoots, and you’ll find all manner of striking, one-off designs. Browse the innovative fashion creations at Claudia Skoda (www.claudiaskoda.com) at Mulackstrasse 8, vintagewear at Sommerladen at Linienstrasse 153, or beautiful shoes at Calypso at Oderberger Strasse 14. The huge Sunday Mauerpark Fleamarket, in gentrified Prenzlauerberg, is a must-shop, too, with heaps of retro finds.
Snack: Neu café in the Heckmannhöfen, at Oranienburger Strasse 32, is great for a hearty seasonal brunch.
See: For jaw-dropping views of Berlin by day or night, ascend the famous Fernsehturm (TV Tower) in Alexanderplatz, topped by a handy bar (www.berlinerfernsehturm.de). If you’d prefer cultural highs, swing by the Bauhaus-Archiv Museum (www.bauhaus.de), at Klingelhöferstrasse 14, showcasing Germany’s Bauhaus art, design and graphics movement.
Stroll: For a taste of the city’s troubled history, stroll from main avenue Unter den Linden through the iconic Brandenburg Gate, once isolated beside the Berlin Wall. Nearby graves commemorate those killed trying to escape to the west. Close by, the bullet-pocked Reichstag parliament building was revamped by architect Norman Foster to incorporate a dramatic glass dome. Walk south to the breathtaking Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, at Cora-Berliner-Strasse 1, a field of stone slabs that feels like a ghost village.
Spa: At Soho House’s quirky basement Cowshed Spa, relax in a white leather mani-pedi chair, book a hot stone massage, or warm up in the hammam and sauna. Schlosshotel im Grunewald also offers a serene spa, plus cycling and jogging in the nearby forest. For alfresco swimming in summer, seek out the Badeschiff, a floating pool on the River Spree.
Savour: Soho House’s all-day bistro the House Kitchen dishes up well-curated classics, including local faves schnitzel and currywurst. Nearby, laid-back Monsieur Vuong (www.monsieurvuong.de), at 46 Alte Schönhauser Strasse, tempts with a fresh take on Vietnamese staples. At Schlosshotel, you can lunch in the pretty, lilac Alter Wintergarten or dine at gold and glossy Restaurant Vivaldi.
Sip: The eighth-floor terrace bar at Soho House is ideal for gazing over the city’s streets on balmy nights. Guests also access the stylish seventh-floor members’ club bar, where you can retreat to a dark, velvety corner, cocktail in hand. Bar Tausend is a super-glam secretive affair, hidden behind a non-descript door at Schiffbauerdamm 11 in Mitte; dress to impress.
To book any of Mr & Mrs Smith’s hand-picked boutique hotels, visit www.mrandmrssmith.com or call the expert Travel Team on 1300 896 627. Smith guests enjoy exclusive extras at all stays.