Do not be fooled by the tranquil view of the River Spree offered by the lobby's floor-to-ceiling windows: this is not the place for those seeking a quiet life. That drum kit and electric guitar elsewhere in the lobby are not for show: guests are invited to try their hand at a solo turn, if they are in the mood. Aimed firmly at the rock'n'roll crowd - Sony and MTV have their offices nearby - Nhow not only has a recording studio upstairs, but regularly has bands playing in the lobby, and a Friday-night DJ. Rooms from €100 a night.
ARTE LUISE ARTHOTEL
The bedrooms at the Luise come in three shades: conceptual, political, or just artistic. Each of the hotel's 50 rooms is decorated by a different artist, with very different styles. Some are strewn with graffiti and found objects; one has the front half of a red horse jutting out from a cloud-spattered sky. Most of the rooms are redone every few years, but some, such as the glamorous Elvira Bach room, look likely to stay. If you are a light sleeper, ask for a room in the new building - it has what might be the world's best soundproofing. En suite rooms from €72 ($105) a night.
At the newly opened Das Stue, housed in the former Danish embassy, it is about the subtle details, such as the gorgeous pattern sandblasted into the concrete, inspired by an 18th-century English wallpaper, or the classic fashion photography that hangs on the walls. There are also flashes of whimsy: the wire silhouettes of animals are a nod to the Stue's setting, backing on to the Berlin zoo. The downside of the leafy location is that you will need to grab a taxi every time you want to head out, but the friendly staff can whistle one up in minutes. Rooms from €200 a night.
If you want just three things from your hotel - location, location, location - do not look any further. Lux 11 is positioned in the hip heart of the Mitte district, an easy stroll from must-sees, including Museum Island and the Hackesche Hofe, as well as the public transport hub at Alexanderplatz. The real joy of staying here, however, is simply to wander the surrounding streets, checking out the hip galleries, shops and restaurants. We also love the kitchenettes in every room and the building's intriguing history: it once housed the Russian secret service. Rooms from €119 a night.
HOTEL Q! - KUDAMM
They don't do corners at the Hotel Q! The design by cool local architects Graft is all about curves - from the walls that curve up into the ceiling and the baths that curve down into the floor, to the organic curves of the sexy red bar downstairs. The Q! has its own niche in Berlin: east-side cool in a west Berlin location (just off the Kurfurstendamm), contemporary design in an intimate setting. The quirkiest feature might be the spa in the basement, which features a heated sand room - think an indoor beach without the water. Rooms from €200 a night.
PROPELLER ISLAND CITY LODGE
If you are here to explore the more off-beat side of Berlin, Propeller Island is the place to stay. Artist Lars Stroschen has created 30 rooms that offer extreme experiences - from the room with the flying bed to the self-explanatory Upside Down Room. There are no five-star frills on offer and not every room will suit every guest - some of the beds are accessed by ladders, and others, such as the Coffin Room, are what might be described as specialised tastes - but a stay here scores big in the Instagram stakes. Rooms from €69 a night.