The more upscale sister establishment to the renowned Circus Hostel across the street, the Circus Hotel combines this bustling location with a style and service that gently impress rather than being in-your-face. The 64 colorful rooms—the color palettes include sky blues and lime greens—have vintage décor, dark oak floors, and quirky touches like mismatched photos on the walls. Following a comprehensive sustainability policy, the hotel eschews minibars (to save energy) and does not provide toiletries in the rooms. Shampoo and shower gel miniatures by a local, organic manufacturer are available free of charge at reception, if necessary (the idea is to discourage wasteful use). Reception can also provide iPods loaded with Berlin music, and arrange bike and Segway rentals. There’s a very good restaurant, Fabisch, that serves traditional German cuisine, and an associated bar. Guests need only step out the front door to be right in the thick of the city; those who wish to escape and relax can check out the charming garden courtyard.
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Situated on busy Rosenthaler Platz, where several roads come together in a constant rumble of trams, cars, U-Bahns, and people, Circus Hotel is right in the middle of the action. Torstrasse is especially renowned for its shopping, restaurant, and nightlife scene: Muschi Obermaier is a good bet for low-key beers and Neue Odessa Bar for upscale cocktails. Nearby Brunnenstrasse, which leads up towards Wedding, has also developed a gallery and club scene, while laid-back, family-friendly Prenzlauer Berg can be reached via a 20-minute stroll past the trendy bars and shops of Kastanienallee. The rest of the city is easily accessible via the U-Bahn station, tram stops, and taxi ranks right outside the hotel.
Need to Know
Rooms: 64 rooms; from $115. Check-in: 2 p.m.; check-out: noon. Dining options: Restaurant Bar Fabisch—whose previous incarnation as a men’s tailor shop is reflected in Eliza Strozyk’s photo-wallpaper—places an emphasis on locally sourced ingredients and serves classic fare such as schnitzel and currywurst. The adjacent bar serves German beers and wines as well as superbly mixed cocktails. Spa and gym details: Circus doesn’t have its own spa or gym but has connections with local yoga instructors and fitness studios where guests can take classes at a discount.
Who's it for: Families, business travelers, and anyone looking for a centrally located stay with professional service and an easygoing charm. Our favorite rooms: Rooms overlooking the courtyard offer the most peace and quiet; the hotel’s four apartments come with separate kitchens and lounge areas. (And for guests who really want to absorb the thrum of trams and cars from the street, some Junior Suites—such as 401—have balconies.) Get active: As well as help with bike and Segway rentals, reception can provide guests with the hotel’s custom Berlin jogging routes. (They also have lots of Berlin-themed DVDs in stock, for those who'd rather relax.)