25hours Hotel Bikini Berlin

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Urban jungle stylishness
Hotels don't get much more hip-casual and playful than this Berlin outlet of the 25hours chain, which opened in January 2014 and went straight into the city's buzz chart at number one. The ten-floor 149-room hotel was designed in the mid-1950s by architects Paul Schwebes (1902–78) and Hans Schoszberger (1907–97) as part of what became known as the Bikini-Haus complex, whose centrepiece is an elongated and distinctive six-floor structure which, like the hotel, also received a radical 21st-century makeover, reopening in April 2014 as an instantly trendy concept mall. Together, the mall and the hotel have injected new life into a Berlin corner already busy with the zoo, the Tiergarten, the Zoo Palast cinema and tourist spots such as the iconic Kaiser-Wilhelm-Gedächtniskirche (Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church). 25hours designers Christoph Hoffmann, Kai Hollmann, Ardi Goldman and Stephan Gerhard have created a hotel that refuses to be dull but which uses natural materials and pop-cultural symbols (a lot of them) in a post-hippy kind of way. Standard rooms, which are a bit short on floor space, have the feel of a high-quality and ultra-knowing student dorm room, while communal areas are busy with high-concept relaxation zones with varying success. However, it's not an über-pricey establishment, and its pièce de résistance — free to only hotel guests — is the airy, light and part-outdoor Monkey Bar up on the tenth floor, overlooking the zoo, the Tiergarten and much of the Berlin skyline. And the hotel is well within walking distance from all that is gay in Schöneberg, though it's a quicker journey with one of the hotel's clunky but free-of-charge bicycles.