Where Med design, a new way to dine, and bold bloodlines put you on cloud nine
Top floor lounge, breakfast, bar and tentempié space, with views over Mitte skyline.
Yes, the cultish Spanish shoe company does hotels too. And like their funky, functional footwear, Casa Camper Berlin essentially follows the same, innovative design cues. Its location is perfect; on the northern edge of Mitte, which translates as ‘middle’ or centre, where history and hipsters fit, well, like a comfy pair of boots.
Casa Camper houses 51 apartments and suites across eight floors, including a basement gym + Finnish sauna, meeting area, and a top floor, glass-wrapped lounge/bar/breakfast and business centre.
Design duo Fernando Amat and Jordi Tio, the team behind the group’s only other hotel in Barcelona, continue the minimalist but bold colours (red rules the palette roost here) and quirky design touches that distinguish the brand; at least on the interiors.
Outside is a different story. Sections of floor-to-ceiling glass, grey stone and cement panels form the facade. Down on street level, the nondescript entrance is flanked by two vintage push bikes displayed in shop windows, as if museum pieces. Step through, past the glass-incased shoe display (Campers of course) and Vinçon furnishings to the modest reception. That discreet hallway veering off the lobby is the guest-only access to the adjacent pop-up fashion store, boutique Spanish retailer Med winds.
Upon checking in, you’ll find luggage trolleys and getting to your room very much self serve, which is intentional. This ‘help yourself’ ethos also extends to the top-floor tentempié concept. More on that in the food section.
Click any image to open picture gallery (courtesy Casa Camper and Grant Doyle)
There are several configurations, but all share quirky (read clever) yet minimalist design touches. Basic rooms are all white, while hallways, larger rooms and suites run very, very red.
Along one entire wall of the large sleeping and lounge area is a row of hooks; perfect for coats, scarves, bags, lights, camera, and the like. The hotel’s information pack is folded over a coat hanger strung from one of the hooks, as is a frosted pendant spotlight. There’s little in the way of artwork or framed prints. Apart from the wall-mounted slimline TV, a massive map of the local Mitte area hangs proudly on another wall; perfect for getting your bearings and planning adventures.
Across warm oak floors and past the sumptuous bed is a curtain that separates the sleeping area’s moody hues from the bright natural light of the bathroom. Its full length vanity – complete with sweeping city vistas – extends the width of the suite, then turns 90 degrees to function as a desk. If the notion of cleaning out your inbox and cleaning your teeth from essentially the same bench bothers you, fear not. There’s plenty of space for both.
Privacy is covered with another sheer window curtain – a huge room number is emblazoned on it – screening Berlin from peering in. There’s no bath and the high-tech shower, unlike much designer tapware, is a breeze to operate. The separate toilet has a subtle automatic night light at floor level. And Camper slippers are naturally included.
What sets the hotel apart is tentempié, which you can enjoy from the sumptuous, cosy and light filled top floor. Not exactly tapas, tentempié is an in-between snack, drink or quick bite to eat (think pastry, sandwich, salad, fruit, cheese, charcuterie, juice, coffee/teas, mineral waters and the like). There’s no opening or closing hours. There’s no bills. No, seriously. It’s available 24/7 and completely free.
The gourmet buffet breakfast happens here as part of tentempié too. A resident chef between 6 and 10am will cook to order from a seasonal, market-driven menu. Eat in, take to your room, or take away.
At any given time of day there can be creative or techie guests sipping organic juices and tapping on keyboards; a young family eating snacks gathered around a board game, while our group of four often sipped wine and grazed from a cheese board.
Fancy a glass of French fizz or German riesling with your tentempié? Not a problem. Again, it’s help yourself, honesty-style, from the well-stocked bar. Just record the details on the supplied docket, which is added to your bill on checking out.
The Weinmeisterstraße U-Bahn is literally on the hotel’s doorstep. Bus and tram stops are right around the corner. But given this part of the city is so flat, consider walking because Mitte is arguably more populated with historic hot spots than just about any other precinct in the capital.
Immediately south is the Hackescher Markt with its collection of courtyards brimming with eateries and galleries. Alexanderplatz is a further 10 minutes away on foot. Heading there you’ll pass local designer fashion stores, a bevy of hips bars and buzzing cafes.
West from Alexanderplatz, there’s Museum Island (which could take a full day to tour), Unter den Linden and the Brandenburg Gate, as well as the stately surrounds of Gendarmenmarket to explore. Complete the Mitte loop by swinging south to check out Checkpoint Charlie. From there, the Reichstag is on your way home. Naturally all this convenience and proximity can make you thirsty. Fear not; an absinthe bar with more brands than a green fairy could ever conjure, is just 50 metres from Casa Camper.
Just like their shoes, Casa Camper is a great fit if a fun and funky designer hotel in one of the world’s great capitals that doesn’t break the budget is your preference.
Weinmeisterstraße 1, Mitte, 10178, Berlin
tel: +49 30 2000 34 10
Rooms from AU$273 – breakfast, tentempié and Wi-Fi included.
Be warned; you can easily get used to tentempié. It’s such a civilised way to stay.
If blood-red decor is not your thing, or you can’t live without a minibar or kettle in your room, then best you book elsewhere.
Grant Doyle, who owns two pairs of Campers, paid his own way.