Berlin's Quirky (and Affordable) Huettenpalast Hotel
Sometimes when you live checking in and out of hotel rooms, it can all become a blur, so when you stumble upon one that not only offers something innovative and fun, but also stays with you long after you leave, you take note. During a recent backpacking trip through Europe I checked into a quirky Berlin stay called Huettenpalast Hotel (Hobrechtstrasse 66; 49-030/3730-5806; from $59 per night). Those looking for something completely different and charming will definitely find it here as the place can only be described as an indoor campsite. Six wooden cabins and vintage caravans just large enough to fit a double bed are scattered inside an old vacuum cleaner factory for a "room within a room" experience. The sunny campsite contains various seating options, shared bathrooms and showers (don't worry, they're incredibly clean), and a center dining area where little baggies of croissants, apples, and drinks are hung on a painted tree for breakfast each morning.
It can get a bit stuffy inside the rooms and it's so quiet you're sure the other guests can hear your every word, but just outside the warehouse glass doors is a garden patio where guests can get some fresh air, lounge on the hammock, and mingle with a warm staff that'll be happy to point you to their favorite eateries in the area despite having their own café on the premises. If you don't get to chat with the other guests, head to the bar a few doors down the block. It's a cool locals joint with a friendly vibe and chatty patrons.
Although Huettenpalast is a bit far from the city action, Berlin's public transportation makes it easy to travel into the center for some exploring and then head away from it all to crawl into your adult-sized playhouse for the night. But if someone in your party prefers more traditional accommodations that won't trigger their claustrophobia, book them into one of Huettenpalast's single, double, 3-bed, and 4-bed hotel rooms (from $85 per night) with en-suite bathrooms located in another part of the factory. They'll sleep more comfortably, but won't come home with as cool a story.
New York City-based guestblogger Dorkys Ramos is a regular contributor to TravelandLeisure.com.