Slip Into Something More Comfortable | 25hours Hotel Bikini Berlin, Budapester Strasse 40, 10787 Berlin
As is always the case when we travel, we turned up at our hotel exhausted, hungry, stressed and a little angry at each other. Getting from Schönefeld airport to the 25hours Bikini hotel would have been fairly easy, had we not been trying to juggle luggage, hauling it up and down countless flights of stairs (they’re not big on step-free access in Berlin).
Things got easier once we’d negotiated the ticket machine (top tip: at Schönefeld airport train station, beat the queues and use the machines on the actual platform not in the underpass). On the ride we even swapped travel stories with a couple we met who live near Ade’s parents. We have a knack of finding local people wherever we go, on our way to Vegas from LA, we met a couple at the bar at Peggy Sue’s diner who lived up the road from us.
It’s pretty impossible to stay moody in the brilliant 25 Hours Bikini hotel, it made us smile as soon as we walked in. We encountered an old Austin Mini Countryman and ‘flying’ bikes in the lobby whilst the lift resembled a digital fish tank. Our fraughtness eased, we knew we were on to a good thing.
Everything about the Bikini screamed fun, there were even swings and hammocks in the Woodfire Bakery. Why they don’t cook pizza in this oven is a mystery, a slice or two would have gone down a treat. Of course I had to have an obligiotory little swing, Ade didn’t want to risk bringing the ceiling down but did decide that it would be funny to push me on the hammock, knocking over my hot chocolate in the process. Nice one Ade.
Our medium Jungle room (€208/£152 per night including breakfast) had its very own hammock for us to lounge on with views of the zoo. If we put our glasses on (we’re at that age) we could just about make out the monkeys scampering around beneath us.
The quirky design was great, light, spacious and spotlessly clean. For me, there’s nothing worse than staying somewhere that has remnants of previous guests, yes we do realise we’re usually never going to be the first to sleep in a hotel room but we like to pretend we are. A fingerprint here and a smear there just totally wrecks it all for me, I don’t ask for much, do I?
They’ve outdone themselves with the do not disturb door sigh, I totally forgot to test out the aspirin one, probably because we were drunk every night when we hit the sack, we’d love to know if we’d have opened the door to some pain relief in the morning.
An amazing perk in this hotel is that, on a first come first served basis, you can hire a Mini – for free! Now this was really tempting but then we saw the road layout we decided against it. We’d only end up shouting at each other and getting freaked out. The Bikini also offer free bikes to nip around town in but the wet weather put us off that idea also. Public transport it was then. Still argued over that anyway.
The problem is with rooms like these are you don’t want to leave them. We’d given ourselves a ridiculous itinerary, time was of the essence but all we wanted to do was veg out in our room and hang around the hotel.
We didn’t make it to the Jungle Spa or use the super-cool work stations in ‘Bikini Island’ (we were trying to avoid our emails for a few days). Nor did we buy anything from the shop – booze and soap with brilliant packaging was calling our name and we wanted all of it, we’d come with hand luggage only so that scuppered those thoughts. Bloody 100ml rule!
After the necessary quick scouting mission of the local area (and taking advantage of the only good weather we had during our trip) we were back for yet another lay down on the bed. Snuggled up with a marshmallow-soft duvet and plump cushions before dragging ourselves into the rain shower and heading up for dinner upstairs at Neni. Most of the restaurants on our list were over the other side of town, so we decided to stay local for our first night, plus we’d only heard good things about the hotel’s offering.
We didn’t regret that decision, it’s a stunning space – a greenhouse built out of parts of old hothouses with great touches like the oversized lampshades made from gardening books and scientific equipment stored up on high shelves. Service was a tad slow, we hadn’t booked ahead so we’re lucky to get a table but we had to wait a while for our food… And our drinks… What was a surprise was how cheap they were, I had a glass of 2012 Merlot for just €4/£2.95 – albeit a small glass. Ade decided to quench his thirst in the way he likes best, with an Aperol Spritz (€9.50/£7),
Then just like buses, all or food came at once. We hadn’t long tucked into our starters – Three kinds of humus (€9/£6.60) – classic, beetroot with horseradish and curry and mango then our mains arrived, weird. Maybe that’s the way they do things there, we went with it, too tired to make a fuss.
I didn’t think Ade really liked hummus, shows what I know as the Hamshuka (€8/£5.90) was his favourite dish – minced beef and lamb with chilli, like a hummus shepherds pie, apparently. The not-at-all chewy 250g Hanger steak with tomato pips and fresh herbs (€18/£13.20) was big but too good not to finish.
I had the juicy Nuriels Arak-Maishähnchen (€22/£16) – tasty corn-fed chicken marinated for 48 hrs in Arak and herbs, cooked sous vide and completed on the grill. I did contemplate asking if I could take my leftovers back to our room, allowing me to eat without the restrictions of the buttons on my jeans compressing my stomach. Instead I did the sensible thing of popping open my jeans right there and then, there was nothing else for it.
We skipped dessert and headed for the Monkey Bar next door, but there was no room at the inn. We came along the following night instead and the service was swift and efficient and the cocktails great, most importantly, we got to sit down, albeit in a dark corner.
Breakfast in a hotel is one of our favourite things – the excitement of what’s on offer and the ability to go back for more is just the best. Loved the strawberry buttermilk drink, spicy tomato topped with fried eggs, bircher museli, and a deliciously naughty full-fat vanilla Quark. The Nespresso machine that makes lattes also was revisited several times, well, we had long days ahead of us.
I can’t tell you how sad we were to check out. We were in a hurry to get to yet another restaurant, yet we prolonged our departure with a coffee in the Woodfire Bakery, a swing on the hammock and the use of the free wifi (with no annoying login) to try and keep on top of our social media posts.
The only bad thing about this hotel is the location as we spent so much time in Mitte, but that’s just us. The transport links are great though (if a little confusing) and taxis are fairly reasonable priced.
Berlin is a big, big place, we barely scratched the surface in four days, it’s without a doubt one of the best cities we’ve visited and that’s despite the endless grey skies and rain. The weather pales into insignificance in the Bikini anyway, it just oozes happiness and personality, a trait so many hotels lack. Every city needs 25hours.
25hours Hotel Bikini Berlin
Budapester Strasse 40
Phone: +49 30 12 02 21 0
Room reservations: +49 30 12 02 21 25 5
Book a room online
Nearest station: Bahnhof Zoologischer Garten (5 mins walk)
A train ticket from the airport costs €2.70/£1.98
We stayed as guests of the 25hours Hotel Bikini, this does not affect our review in any way. We always write with complete honesty.