The nhow Berlin is the polar opposite of anything you’d have seen in East Germany before the Wall fell. It’s a cotton-candy-colored manifestation of just how much East Berlin has changed in the last two decades and the extent to which it has embraced the freedom of creative expression of art, music, and design. Despite its futuristic style the 304-room hotel on the banks of the River Spree still mixes the old with the new; the East and West Towers are built from remaining sections of an old brick factory and the metallic Upper Tower juts out over the water like a crane, symbolizing the area’s redevelopment.
Berlin was once called “poor but sexy,” and the nhow Hotel certainly helps it earn the “sexy” part of that reputation
Not Your Ordinary Hotel
The bright and airy reception area was my first indication that this was not a typical hotel. A purple egg-shaped pod contains the front desk and its staff, who wear purple flower-shaped fascinators and stylish black dresses. The bright pink kiosk opposite the desk holds a rack of white Gibson guitars and Casio keyboards which guests can order to their rooms for private jam sessions.
The lobby is a riot of color – purple, gold, and pink – with floor-to-ceiling windows that let in the sun and show off views of the River. The Spree is a focal point both here and throughout the hotel. 60% of the rooms have River views, as does the conference center, which is the only one in Berlin to do so.
Even the elevators contain a surprise. The ceiling in each features a work of art, often a photo of the hotel’s designer, NYC-based Karim Rashid, and his girlfriend.
Berlin’s Music Hotel
Just past the reception desk the wall is a mass of scribbles – autographs of the musicians who have stayed at the hotel or used one of the two recording studios onsite (I kept my eyes open for celebrities, but I never saw any). The nhow claims to be the only music hotel in Europe, and it couldn’t be in a better spot. There are reportedly more than 700 music companies in Berlin, the MTV Berlin offices are right down the street and 02 World, a massive arena and concert hall, is just a short walk from the hotel.
The rooms are also kitted out with state-of-the-art sound systems and iPod docks.
Guestrooms and Amenities
Rooms come in standard, superior, and junior suites, plus one sprawling Vegas-caliber nhow suite usually booked by visiting musicians. Guests have a choice of color palate: pastel pink, blue and pink, or the more masculine blue and black.
All rooms feature minibars and safes, wi-fi, flat screen TVs, hardwood floors, heated bathroom floors, and office desks.
The more spacious junior suites also offer giant soaking tubs and sofas and the TVs swivel on the dividing wall so you can watch from either side of the room.
The hotel has an onsite restaurant, bar (try the Aurum, a bubbly mix of tanqueray, elderflower, peach bitters and cider), a business center, fitness center and spa, and it offers 24-hour room service, bike rentals, parking, and free wi-fi in common areas. There are two recording studios and seven conference rooms available for events.
If You Go:
The nhow is located in East Berlin, about five minutes on foot from the Eastside Gallery (a remaining section of the Berlin Wall) and from both U- and S-Bahn stations so it’s easy to get to most areas of the city.
Light sleepers should be aware that the club space often hosts special events. I was moved to a different room upon check-in as there was such an event scheduled for that night; even though I was in a different section of the hotel, I could still faintly here the thumping bass if I listened for it.
I was a guest of the nhow Berlin but opinions are my own.