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nhow berlin

nhow berlin entrance

On my first visit to Berlin four years ago past events were my focus, but Berlin is forging ahead full of creative energy.  Time to look forward and what better place to start than with a stay at the recently opened Nhow music and lifestyle hotel boasting its own recording studios.  Designed by architect Sergei Tichoban it is a striking industrial looking brick building on the banks of the River Spree.

I‘m still waiting for the day my husband thinks we might at arrive at a hotel in a taxi so I checked out the directions Nhow Berlin site for coming by train.  Warschauer Straße, the nearest station on the S Bahn didn’t look too promising on Google Earth, multiple railway tracks with possibly dubious surroundings, but as it turns out on the night a short gently, downhill sloping walk towards the Spree brings us onto multi lane Strauser Strasse and shortly after the welcoming sight of a neon pink n .

Inside it’s bright, open and rather playful looking.  I am momentarily taken aback by the front desk, a vivid magenta curvy stucture that undulates along one side of the lobby like a kind of fantastic marine creature; there’s a sea of white floor lights against a boldly painted wall  and overlooking the river terrace a circular seating area scattered with with colourful, pebble shaped seats.  We’re checked in smoothly by the receptionist who is sporting a hat piece designed by Berlin based milliner Fiona Bennet. I wonder how she keeps it in place, it can be a little tricky she says.  Good news, our room is on the top floor with a river view.

nhow liftsThe lifts are framed by dark walls overlaid with pink and yellow line patterns; sound waves, pond ripples and those Spirograph patterns we used to make as children are the closest images I can conjour up to describe the effect.  Our porter presses the up button, a few moments wait and then one of the lift doors opens to reveal a pink lift -  we  need to hold the door open to capture this cameo.  Looking down on us from the roof ceiling are Nhow designer, Karin Rashid and his wife  wearing pink (hers) and white (his) sun glasses.  Dressed in red, beige and brown I’m clearly out of tune with the colour palette -  you could have some fun shopping for a wardrobe to stay here.   The staff are mainly in black with pink and magenta accessories ranging from buttons to lipstick.

Apart from the purple tones of the carpet we’re following the look of the corridor is industrial, white walls, white doors relieved only by a small sideways placed red number.  Our end room has windows on three sides and incorporates a cleverly designed, central ensuite with a curved shower wall.  Full length muted gold, black out curtains have a flowing pink and purple pattern to match those printed on the wooden floor, the TV is in the mirror which merges into a glass table, behind the bed more wavy lines create a 3D canopy effect.  For someone who has never had anything to do with pink I feel strangely pleased to have a pink hued room instead of a blue one. It is practical too, underfloor heating, tubular bedside lights that turn off when pushed flush and easy to clean, moulded fittings like the pink inset bedside cubby holes.

Armed with the remote control we amuse ourselves bringing forth music, news, films and hotel information  from the mirror before returning to the ground floor to sample the ambience of the bar. Lobby, bar, breakfast area and restaurant all flow on from each other, colour, furniture and fittings (these all rounded forms)  giving each area its own identity.  Gold and black join pink and white around the bar, the background music is upbeat, and gone eleven on a Monday evening there are still groups of people enjoying the surroundings.nhow collage

This is the point we should ask for a Gibson to be sent to our room, strum away and perhaps compose a piece inspired by the surroundings.  I’m almost tempted but it’s been a long day and a very comfortable looking, 30cm deep matress beckons.

Next morning the view over the River Spree is revealed: to the west turreted Oberbaum bridge links the creative districts of  Friedrichshain and Kreuzberg while away to the east we can see the giant form of Molecule Man standing in the river.  We make a  cup of herbal tea and explore the digital world in the mirror some more.  One negative, the design of the flip up socket panel is great for the streamlined look but too narrow to fit our travel convertors.  The other shadow, a lack of free wi-fi in the room, it’s only available in the lobby.

The buffet breakfast laid out in pink counters that form the centre piece of the breakfast area doesn’t disappoint though.  Cool white furniture and the urban setting seem to dictate healthy choices. I can recommend the berry fruit juice,  bluberry yogurt and tasty organic honey.  Our fellow guests include families, business men and couples, there are papers on hand and a relaxed, positive start to the day feel.

After breakfast we have a tour around the rest of the hotel.  It is well set up for conferences with 7 rooms, the largest holding 600 people opens out onto the terrace overlooking the River Spree, but it’s the recording studios on the top floor of the metalic Kranhaus balanced seemingly precariously atop the hotel I’m eager to see . We ride up in an orange lift, we’ve been in a lime green one too this morning.  On one side inter-connected digital and audio studios and opposite the nhow music lounge. Fancy recording your own company song? This is the place to come guitars and stylish headphones are waiting. And the view hanging out in space – fantastic.

We finish our tour in the Gallery, a bare space you could mistake as unfinished, that shows constantly changing exhibitions from Berlin studios.  Like Berlin itself nothing stays still here.

My verdict after an all too short a visit: a stimulating and fun stay against a backdrop of relaxed efficiency.  You may not think it’s for you but try it and be taken out of yourself.

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