May 07, 2009

What was once a bland concrete office building on the Kurfürstendamm, West Berlin's main shopping avenue, has been transformed into the Ku'Damm 101 hotel, a haven of spare and whimsical design. Fifties-style chairs reminiscent of tongues and tulips outfit sitting areas, where amoeba-shaped rugs are thrown over industrial rubber floors. Mod benches in the lobby snake between floor-to-ceiling lights, which glow like luminescent trees (on Thursdays, DJ's spin house music until 2 a.m.). The 171 guest rooms are splashed in shades of cucumber green or creamy pink, and functional objects, such as TV sets, are discreetly camouflaged inside smooth cabinets of zebrawood. But who wants to watch television when you can spy on the neighbors?A pair of binoculars is on hand in the top-floor breakfast area, which has unobstructed views over red-tile-roofed apartments and the Wilhelmian-era buildings beyond. Ku'Damm 101, 101 Kurfürstendamm, Berlin; 49-30/520-0550; www.kudamm101.com; doubles from $200.
—Toby Axelrod

Ku'Damm 101

A mix of business travelers and design-savvy hipsters appreciate the Ku’Damm’s sleek, clean-lined aesthetic. Set right on the Kurfürstendamm, West Berlin’s main shopping drag, the hotel has a futuristic lobby with curvy benches and floor-to-ceiling light fixtures; the space segues into a round bar and outdoor patio, where both guests and chic after-work types gather for drinks. Upstairs, the 170 guest rooms are starkly spare-looking, with boldly shaped furnishings (Arne Jacobsen chairs, movable striped-wood TV consoles, platform beds with spotlighted headboards) placed like gallery exhibits amid otherwise unadorned space. Allergy sufferers and the disabled are specially cared for here; most rooms are carpeted in natural rubber, and “barrier-free” options are available.

Room to Book: On Friday nights the hotel hosts DJ-spun lounge events; if you’re sensitive to noise, book a room facing the courtyard.

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