From a distance, near Alexanderplatz, a church steeple finds itself in the shadow of the famous radio tower often referred to as ‘the disco ball’.
The brick church stands there, resting on a foundation that has held it up through devastating wars, multiple bombings, political turmoil, and religious unrest. As a passerby it is impossible not to wonder just how this church has survived. How in the world is it still standing?
But then you look closer.
The bright red brick changes at the seams; where the vibrant brick ends, a sepia-toned brick takes over. Your eyes are now searching for these inconsistencies, evidence of abnormality and incontinuity. They begin to appear everywhere; filling and expanding before your very eyes. Bits of brick here, stone there, vivid reds colliding with ashen greys. New clashing with the old. It’s a patchwork of brick, stone, and cement holding this church together.
This is Berlin. The cracks are visible (and sometimes too painful a reminder of the past), but the foundation is solid. The various pieces all fit together to create a fervent city—a city full of art, music, life and vigor! One that makes you feel that somehow you could be a piece in this beautiful story, this beautiful city.
We won’t even try to pretend to be experts when it comes to Berlin; a city with endless possibilities regarding nightlife, restaurants, bars, museums, and shopping. We will, however, lend our expertise on one thing: The Circus Hotel. If you’re looking for an affordable but comfortable (in terms of the bed, but also the people and location) place to stay, look no further than The Circus Hotel. Started by four friends whose love for Berlin and love for people fueled this endeavor, the Circus Hotel is a perfect ‘home base’ when away from home.
With rooms starting at 80 euros, fully equipped with new appliances, an I-pod docking station with speakers, flat-screen TV, and a granite/tile bathroom, the hotel proves to give you a lot of bang for your buck. Each room is decorated differently, with quirky but personal touches.
The hotel staff are incredibly friendly, offering everything from advice to stories to personal football tickets that would’ve gone unused. Each morning the Circus offers an organic and locally sourced breakfast buffet, and every night the restaurant transforms into a swanky alternative bar hosting live music and cinematic spectacles. The crowds are warm, unpretentious, and hip. The food is creative, eccletic, and cheap. And if you ever venture outside of the hotel doors (yes, it’s really that great), the Circus staff will lead you in the right direction…regardless of what your tastes, budget, or energy level may be. Everything from walking tours (which the guide will pick you up from the hotel), to museum passes, to bicycles (yes! the hotel has bikes), to laptops and DVD players for your room (complete with a library of movies inspired by Berlin), the Circus will make it happen for you. You’re the reason they are there afterall.
A few travel tips:
Use the Circus Cwiki interactive guide. It’s basically all of the best of Berlin selected by those who work (and created) the Circus Hotel. We ate and visited several suggested sites from this guide and were never disappointed.
Eat at Monsier Wong’s. A Thai/Vietnamese Asian fusion restaurant. We ate there twice on a weekend trip and wished we could have gone once more.Try to reserve or get there 20-45 minutes early. There will be a wait and it will be worth it.
Take advantage of the hotel’s transport cards. They will lend you cards to use the local transportation at a fraction of the cost you would pay on your own. Just remember to give it back when you leave!
Hit up the night scene. Berlin is most famous for its nightclub and disco scene. Even if you’re not a night person, it’s a cultural experience everyone should try out at least once. The best clubs? Panorama and Watergate. Be warned: things don’t start heating up until 2am, and locals will tell you to ‘dress down’.
Hotel booked up? The Circus team also own a hostel and apartments right across the street. Just consult the website for more details.
The Circus Hotel
Rosenthaler Strasse 1
10119 Berlin / Germany
Phone +49 (0)30 2000 39 39