Tucked away on a relatively quiet part of Berlin's Mitte district, this well-run apartment hotel provides easy access to many of the city's signature attractions. The site of Checkpoint Charlie (the original road block no longer exists) is just 800 metres from the front door, while the Wall Museum, Potsdamer Platz and the Jewish Museum are all nearby. If you want to venture further afield hire one of the hotel's bicycles and head over to the Reichstag Building, Brandenburg Gate and much- feted Neues Museum.
Outwardly this compact apartment hotel does little to disturb the sober street scape of the historic Mitte district, but the interiors are modern, tasteful and cheery. The huge ceramic koala guarding its entrance sets the tone for what is to come. Apart from the reception desk, the ground floor offers a small reading room, conference facilities and the Alto restaurant and bar – glass doors open onto a charming private courtyard area. A small gym, 17-metre lap pool, Jacuzzi and steam room are located on the ground floor.
My one-bedroom king room overlooked Krausenstraße and was spacious and well-equipped – it even offered a small balcony. Studios come with kitchens, work desks, flat screen TVs and free Wi-Fi, but apartments (available in one- and two-bedrooms) also boast full size baths, laundries and separate lounge and dining areas. Having access to a washer and dryer is a real boon when travelling, but non-German speakers will struggle with the instructions.
After an exhausting day of sightseeing top up the batteries in the cosy Alto restaurant and bar. The menu is seasonal and eclectic, featuring stone-oven pizzas, waist-widening pastas and Aussie-style steaks. My veal schnitzel with wild mushrooms was excellent. The breakfast buffet is equally impressive, with a wide selection of pastries, yoghurts, fresh fruits and cold meats – you'll even find a jar of Vegemite. The bar carries a selection of German beers and well-priced wines, including some familiar Australian labels.
Berlin is great city for walking. Pack away your smartphone and just follow the nearby canal system until you reach the river Spree. After a few minutes you'll encounter canal-side eateries, artist studios and bohemian night clubs. Badeschiff floating swimming pool is a popular summer hang-out, so remember to take your bathers and a towel. On the return leg you can pick up supplies at the well-stocked Lidl supermarket on Leipziger Strasse.
Run with German efficiency but leavened with a dollop of Australian informality, the Adina makes the ideal base for exploring Berlin. While the spacious apartments are a little austere, the hotel more than compensates with its leisure facilities, convenient location and faultlessly polite service.
Catching sight of the giant ceramic koala outside the hotel.
Berlin is city of cranes – expect some construction activity.
Adina Hotel Checkpoint Charlie, Krausenstraße 35-36, 10117, Berlin, Germany. Phone: +49 30 2007670. From $250 a night, including free Wi-Fi. Buffet breakfast costs $23.80. See adinahotels.com
Mark Chipperfield stayed as a guest of TFE Hotels.