If you are looking for a hotel that has a distinctive personality yet still offers great amenities that you need for a nice stay, Bikini Berlin certainly fits the bill.
This hotel which opened in 2013 is part of the 25 Hours hotel group, which has multiple distinctive properties spread across major German cities.
One specialty about 25 Hours is that each of their hotels feature a unique theme. They call it “You know one, you know none”, because each of them are so different yet individually charming in their own right.
And this one in Berlin certainly intrigued me to give the others a try.
The hotel is very conveniently located right next to the S+U Zoologischer Garten Bhf station at the edge of Charlottenburg. I collected my Berlin Welcome Card at the airport and took the S9 train right to the hotel area. No fuss, no hassle, no fumbling with payments.
You can take both the S-Bahn and U-Bahn trains from this station to get to different parts of Berlin. If you don’t want to have to deal with the cost and trouble of buying public transportation tickets every time you want to board a bus or train, definitely get the Berlin Welcome Card.
It is just one of the obvious perks in addition to discounts for certain key attractions and shops.
Bikini Berlin features an eco-friendly, nature theme that fits well with their strategic location overlooking the Berlin zoo. With some prior research, I was already eagerly looking forward to my stay there.
Overall Hotel Vibes
And I’ve got to say this hotel impresses at first sight. From the bicycles and vintage car setup at the entrance lobby to the cheery-singing lift, I was pleasantly surprised just making my way to the check in counter.
A clear standout point of the hotel is that it is photogenic all round with various areas artfully designed. Overall, the hotel has a relaxing and playful feel with a mixture of neon signs, hammocks and cushy furniture all round.
Whenever guests opt out of a daily cleaning service, they actually contribute the savings to planting a tree (you also get to pin a tree to their wooden board; it’s these seemingly little elements that add to the fun)
The walls of the hotel common areas and rooms are all hand painted/drawn by Japanese artist Yoshi Sislay.
One thing I noticed about the hotel is that they like to collaborate with local “makers” that create these amazing products. For example, the all-natural soap, shampoo and lotions in the room are sourced from a sustainable business run by a Swiss entrepreneurial couple.
You will find a bunch more products at the reception area, where you can even purchase them as souvenirs.
The Medium Jungle Room
I absolutely loved the jungle room I stayed in. In terms of design, the room continues on the whole nature theme with an open style shower featuring a rainfall faucet. This is one of my favorite features.
The plants and colorful shelves add to the playful vibes. They even provide a sling bag for you to use in the duration of your stay.
There is a huge comfy hammock right next to the full length window which overlooks the zoo. There’s not as many active animals during the cold winter, but still plenty of birds, sometimes flying in formations. Looking at the orange leaves on the tree that are baring for winter, I’m pretty sure that the room will have an amazing view of autumn foliage.
Another amazing thing is that there is a mini bar with complimentary goodies. Yes, you read that right. FREE! Seeing that we are all familiar with the ridiculously priced mini bar in hotels, this came as quite a surprise.
In addition, it’s not the usual boring bottled water or tea bags that you find in this mini bar. It’s stocked with interesting stuff like German beer, chocolate, fritz-cola (German coke), sparkling water. Things that give you some exposure to local brands and culture.
Overall, there’s a lot of small gestures from the hotel that shows you they care. It gives an inexplicable feeling that they will do their best to make you feel at home, and not try to just charge you for everything.
Remote Work Features
The hotel has a reliable WiFi that provides around 20+/10+ Mbps download/upload speed. Sure it’s not the fastest in the world, but it’s one of the better speeds I have seen in Berlin.
If you have never been to Germany, you might be surprised (like I did on my very first visit) that the country doesn’t really have blazing fast Internet speeds that you might expect from a highly developed nation.
This is due to some of the legacy infrastructure that is going to take time to replace. However, it is improving as I’m seeing better speeds compared to years ago.
In any case, the WiFi at Bikini Berlin was good for all my needs from uploading files to making calls.
The room has a whole bunch of power sockets all over the place. Specifically at the desk area, there are at least 3 of them in my room, which means charging multiple gadgets has not been a problem at all.
There’s also at least 2 next to the beds/hammock. I didn’t even take note of others, because there was never a need to fret about it.
They also provide a nice portable speaker if you like to work with music, or even just enjoy entertainment with better sound quality.
A slightly lacking “work” element in the Jungle Room is the seating, but that can be easily solved. The round stool in the Jungle room fits the design theme perfectly but is not the best seating option if you plan to work for hours on end. (Note that different themed rooms do feature differing furnishings.)
Regardless, you can easily ask the reception for another chair if you really need one. They have all sorts of options available throughout the hotel. A great customer service team just means you can always approach them with anything, and they will try their best to help.
I usually dangle on the hammock while working in the room; because come on, how many times do you get a private hammock right in your room!
But let me tell you, the room is unlikely to be the place you work at the most because Bikini Berlin has a whole workspace called the work labs!
Located right next to the reception and cafe on level 3, the work labs is essentially like a coworking space that anyone can use. It’s open 24/7, free to use and has a view of the main street.
Like a bee drawn to honey, I even woke up one day at 4am to get some deep work done here.
There are a variety of seating options here, from high chairs to sofas and couches. There’s even 3 iMacs which you can use for your work if needed. And of course, lots of power sockets around.
You can get a coffee (or wine, depending on your jam) from the aperitivo bar on the same level and dive into work mode here. They also rent the space out for business events.
Relaxation and Fitness
Saunas are not uncommon in a hotel, but you know how many saunas are just a secluded room facing nothing?
Well this one on level 9 actually overlooks the Berlin Zoo. This means you can enjoy your sauna while watching the animals or soaking in the city views. It doesn’t get any better than that!
Or does it? As if those aren’t enough, there is a relaxation area right outside the sauna, equipped with a mini bar storing beer, sparkling water, cola, tea and fruits that you can help yourself to after sweating it out. Yes, they are complimentary, these are the same things found in your room’s free mini bar.
So grab a sauna kit with bathrobes and slippers from the reception, then prepare to just chill.
Side note for the uninitiated: Germans enjoy their sauna fully naked. You don’t have to bare everything; just don’t be alarmed when others do.
There is no gym right in the hotel. However, Bikini Berlin has a partnership with the nearby McFit gym which allows you to pay just 10 euro for full day use of the facilities.
The Medium Jungle Room had sufficient space for my mobility stretches and yoga flow, so I stayed snug and cozy right in the room while getting my workout in.
Food And Drinks
Right within Bikini Berlin, you will find three other spots for food and drinks, each catering to a rather different need. All of them are open to public, but as a guest, you don’t have to queue to get into them.
Yes, the monkey bar is so popular that sometimes there is a queue to get in.
The Monkey Bar
Located on the top floor, the monkey bar is a cocktail bar that features live music, delicious cocktails, views of the zoo and the city, as well as a tasteful interior decoration.
Right when you enter, you will see a wall filled with photographs that used to be museum exhibits. There are seats behind the bar counter that gives you a view of the animals. If you prefer a nice city view, there is an outdoor terrace where you can catch a beautiful sunset.
They also have an interesting cocktail called “Bini’s Monkey Pokey” that is named after one of the Orang-Utans in the Berlin zoo. And for each sale, some of the profits are donated to Bini the Orang-Utan.
NENI Restaurant / Breakfast
Right next to the Monkey Bar, you will find the NENI Restaurant. This is also where you will indulge the delicious breakfast buffet if you have it included. Alternatively, you can also pay for it when you arrive.
Breakfast at the hotel includes a variety of pastries, cold and hot dishes. I’m particularly impressed by the amount of cold plate selections they have, from cured meat to cheeses. There is enough options for me to mix and match, and enjoy a differentiated breakfast during my stay.
The restaurant is very nicely decorated but my favorite are still the window seats, particularly the ones facing the zoo. So if your room doesn’t overlook the zoo, this is one of the several spots in the hotel where you can still enjoy that pleasure.
Side note, the restaurant is also a nice place to work at. I got a productive hour in during breakfast hour while the friendly staff helped refill my caffeine supply.
Outside of breakfast time, NENI serves Mediterranean cuisine at very affordable prices. You can even order it to your room.
This is an aperitivo bar right next to the reception on level 3. Here you can get a good selection of food and drinks for a nice snack. They have two special aperitivo drinks that are crafted in partnership with Nordcraft and Si Puo Fare Bio.
What’s most interesting here though is the ambience and variety of seatings they have.
You will find stuff like hammocks, big cushy chairs, a long desk, and a warm fireplace that’s simply cozy in the winter. This can be a good place for working as well depending on your mood for the day. Similarly, you can get views of both the zoo or the city depending on where you sit.
This is one of my only regrets – that I didn’t factor time to just cozy up here with a cup of hot joe while enjoying the snowfall.
Staying In Berlin
All in all, the Bikini Berlin felt like an oasis within the big city. I know that regardless if I’m looking to relax or get work done after a day out exploring the city, all the amenities are within grasp.
The unique design and hotel theme offers something different from your traditional business hotels. The accommodation becomes a whole experience by itself rather than just a place to stay.
A word of caution though, you might be tempted to just spend time in the comfy hotel rather than heading out to check out the city! This was especially so for me when the cold winter air was blowing.
This experience in Bikini Berlin certainly makes me want to check out the 25 hotel properties in other cities.
Disclaimer: Part of my trip was hosted by Visit Berlin. All opinions are my own.