Street art is an integral part of Berlin. It can be found everywhere, on walls, doorways, little corners of houses and bridge piers. Berlin’s graffiti art became a canvas allowing artists to spread their message and express their true selves in a creative, yet unconventional way, which inspires both Berliners and all visitors. It simply makes the city landscape gaudy in an intriguing way. Being influenced by Berlin’s art I really wanted to explore hotels, which would capture the true essence of its culture, art and foremost people. Number one on my ‘to go’ list was Catalonia Berlin Mitte.
Köpenicker Str. 80-82, 10179 Berlin
300€ (a weekend for two)
Located in a bohemian neighborhood, hidden under the sober, grey facade of the historical building from 1991 used by Stasi, Catalonia Berlin Mitte reminded me of Pavillon De La Reine, one of my favorite hotels in Le Marais, Paris. The concept is quite similar, not many notice the hotel from the outside. It blends well with the surroundings, but once you stop and catch a glimpse of it, you will notice a beautiful hidden courtyard. I can remember very well watching many tourists, but also locals, stop, take a picture and wonder- what is that place?
From the moment you enter the courtyard one stands out- a colorful bear painted with graffiti. Well, we all know that Berlin’s bears have become its cheery ambassadors. A picture with a bear is certainly on the list of any bloody tourist visiting Berlin :). To be honest, I am not such a big fan of the ‘bear thing’, but similar to Bavarian Octoberfest and Lederhosen, Berlin’s bears are a part of its culture. In this case, I will give it a free pass as I really like the graffiti on the actual figure, it is a ‘pretty’ mess, and somehow fits well with the Catalonia’s concept. Similar motive is being used on the walls of the courtyard as it presents a provisional graffiti map of Berlin with its main spots such as TV tower, Brandenburger Gate etc., and of course Catalonia Berlin Mitte.
A warm welcome from Mr. Oscar made my laugh from the very beginning. For those of you who don’t know Hotels Catalonia is a family chain of hotels, which started in the 80’s in Barcelona, Spain. As for now the chain has over 50 establishments all over the Europe and is a leader on the Spanish market. I must admit that I really like that most of the staff working in Catalonia Berlin Mitte is of a Spanish origin. I truly believe that it gives this hotel an ‘Spanish soul’, meaning a genuine Spanish temperament.
Catalonia Berlin Mitte was designed by the famous interior designer from Barcelona – Denis Arend. Walls, beams and other building elements occur unexpectedly in the foreground and allow guests a fascinating insight into the history of the building. The hotel has a unique charm and gives a feeling of Berlin’s industrial style with bare walls. I completely felt in love with the walk-through white pure, raw and ‘factory style’ corridors with light pink rims. Stunning!
Coming back to the legitimate motive of the hotel- its famous graffiti. Created on each of the five floors by famous artists such as Dmark, it presents different visual elements vibes and emotion. Let me show you all of it, starting from the highest floor.
The fifth floor
The fourth floor
The third floor
The second floor
The first floor
The ground floor
Graffiti is also present in the tiny gym. I must say that I was a little bit disappointed by its size- it can literally fit max five people. However, the sport equipment is very modern. Yes, it’s one of these fancy fitness spaces, where you can check your Facebook, watch the news, check your emails or just surf on the internet while running on the treadmill or cycling.
It was a big surprise for me that on Saturday and Sunday morning they gym was empty. I am not sure if all the guests are getting up so early not to miss any minute of exploring Berlin or they are just too lazy. Anyway, I absolutely loved it. There is nothing better than to start your weekend with a morning workout session in a calm & empty gym. After burning some calories, a nutritious breakfast is definitely a must!
FOOD: Taking under the consideration the quality of the food served for breakfast, 16€ seems to be a fair price. You can start off your day with scrambled eggs, fresh juice, cottage cheese and delicious crunchy bread. Breakfast buffet also includes fresh salmon, different sorts of cheese, ham, and of course famous German sausages. For those who prefer a ‘sweet breakfast’ some croissants with chocolate, cakes, fruits and muesli can be found too. The stuff is very attentive and fast-they clean up all used dishes quickly and in general are really nice. It’s not the kind of staff that you could feel awkward asking for an additional sugar to your morning cup of coffee. I must admit that I am totally addicted to eating mushrooms for breakfast and they serve one of the best I have ever tried! Absolutely delicious, I literally couldn’t get enough of these! What is a big plus, they offer you some gluten-free and vegan options, so those of you who have specific diets need are not forgotten.
Having traveled quite frequently in the recent years there is one thing that I makes me really angry, namely breakfast hours. In many hotels, also the luxury ones you will only be served with a breakfast until 10 AM or 11 AM, which is a pure torture for those who just want to sleep a bit longer during their weekend hideaway trips. Luckily Catalonia Berlin Mitte understands it very well, giving you the chance of having your breakfast until midday on the weekends. As many say a sleepyhead and its bed are an endless love affairs. Indeed, in Catalonia Berlin Mitte that’s the case :). It’s a big plus! What is important to mention, is that the breakfast buffet spot transforms into the restaurant in the evening. As you have so many bars, restaurants and cafes just around the corner, Catalonia’s restaurant is rather a place to grab a small starter, a glass of wine with tapas before heading to the party or a bar.
I had a chance to meet Mr. Singer, a senior sales manager, who provided me with some juicy insights into Catalonia Berlin Mitte. My favourite were:
1) One of the artists, who created graffiti on the walls was a tattoo artist in his early career stages
2) Charles Bradely presented his new soul album in Catalonia’s conference room
3) Berlin Alternative Fashion Week organized their ‘Meet and Greet’ event here
In three words Catalonia Berlin Mitte is crazy, incomplete and l’ike Berlin’. It uses creative atmosphere and participates in the change and development of the neighborhood.
VIBE: URBAN. One thing is sure. Catalonia Berlin Mitte perfectly captures Berlin’s vibe. It’s cool, urban, international and ‘raw’ in its design. With 131 rooms, it’s a little bit too big to be called a boutique hotel, yet with an outstanding design, its rooms are spacious, functional, clear & bright. The rooms feature a flat-screen satellite TV and air conditioning. All bathrooms are equipped with free toiletries, a hairdryer, a desk, safe and minibar- pretty much a standard. What immediately caught my attention was the design of the room keys- reminding me of the colorful Missoni’s prints and patterns. A small thing, but adds up the the overall feeling and experience of the guest. I love these tiny things hotels do to make you smile.
Another surprise was that the design of double and superior rooms was pretty much the same. Of course, there were some additional furniture pieces, more space, but in general all the rooms followed the same style, decor and color patterns. All of them were kept in the whitish-greyish tones, which creates a complete and coherent whole. Another big plus for adding a tooth paste, tooth brush and a razor in the cosmetic set. It might sound crazy, but most of the hotels provide you only with body lotions, shampoos, creams and they forget these essentials! For scatterbrains that’s certainly a rescue. Moreover in the afternoon, I was lucky enough to see a beautiful sunset from my hotel room-truly magical!
Catalonia Berlin Mitte was exactly the way I expected it to be- international, cosmopolitan, alternative in a very positive sense, industrial in its design with a warm Spanish hint.
How to get there…
What endless explorers think about this spot…
It’s definitely a place you should stay once you are in Berlin. It truly captures the feeling and vibes of the city. Especially those, who appreciate urban art will be in a ‘graffiti heaven’ with a Spanish hint :).