Linnen

Prenzlauer Berg, Berlin, Germany Book from

Reviewed by Jenny Piening
A stylish B&B with vintage touches, a laid-back café and a self-catering apartment for 6, set in trendy Prenzlauer Berg
Those seeking a home-from-home in the heart of Berlin will love Linnen, a relaxed yet stylish retreat in a classic residential Altbau. Founders Bodo and Antonio are passionate about interior design and compulsive collectors of 20th-century vintage furniture. They have created a space that is quirky yet chic, and which - probably due to its eclecticism - feels quintessentially Berlin. The street-level café (which doubles up as the reception) is more like a private living room and kitchen, where you can hang out at the counter drinking organic coffee, or lounge on reclaimed chairs leafing through design magazines.

In the first-floor guest rooms, reached by a spiral wooden staircase, a careful balance has been struck between old and new. A sense of the building’s history remains - in the honeyed tones of the stripped doors and floorboards, and in the intricately restored ceiling stuccos - but eye-catching pieces and vibrant colours add a fresh, designery vibe. There are 4 romantic rooms and a 2-bedroom suite, plus a self-catering apartment for 6. All are gorgeous.

Highs

  • An excellent location in a buzzing neighbourhood, close to public transport, bars and restaurants, and practically backing onto the former no-man’s land of the Wall
  • Beautifully renovated interiors, with funky retro furnishings
  • Great value, especially if you book the non-refundable rates
  • It feels like a private pad with the bonus of a downstairs café (which also acts as a lounge and evening honesty bar)
  • Friendly, helpful owners with lots of insider knowledge on where to eat, shop and explore

Lows

  • Most rooms face the street and trams rumble past every few minutes from early until late, though double glazing reduces noise
  • Not a full-service hotel, though Bodo and Antonio are usually around in the morning (or reachable on their mobiles) if you need help
  • Rates don't include breakfast
  • Not ideal for children, and no twin rooms; it's best-suited to couples
  • Ongoing roof works create a bit of noise, but only during the daytime

Best time to go

Berlin is a year-round destination. Summers are similar to the UK, perhaps a little warmer and more humid. Winters can be bitingly cold, but as long as you're wrapped up well, a crisp January day would be perfect for exploring without the crowds. The city can get busy during fairs (such as ITB in March) and the Christmas markets (late November to late December).

Our top tips

Berlin is great to explore by bike, as it's fairly flat with numerous cycle paths. There are at least 3 cycle shops close to Linnen where you can rent a bike for the day, or you can do a guided cycle tour with Berlin on Bike. Tours set off from just around the corner at the Kulturbrauerei on Schonhauser Allee.

Great for...

Cheap & Chic
City Style
Eco
  • = Recommended
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Boutique B&B
  • 5 rooms + 1 apartment for 6
  • Café open daily; restaurants nearby
  • Best for older children
  • Open all year
  • Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Daily Maid Service
  • Towels & Bedlinen
Room: Room 1

Rooms

All rooms have restored wooden floors and a stylish yet quirky mix of vintage furniture. The ceilings are particularly beautiful, with faded frescoes and ornate plasterwork, while the ensuites (with a walk-in shower or tub and handheld shower) are clad in Turkish limestone tiles.

Room 4 is the smallest, and the only one facing the rear. Its walls are panelled in reclaimed wood complete with quirky bird sculptures; it sounds cheesy, but it’s surprisingly charming. Note that the shower is integrated into the bedroom, though the loo is separate.

The other 3 rooms are larger and face the street. Room 2 has an industrial-chic vibe, with a leather Pierre Cardin sofa set in a bay window, a long desk, and a huge light fitting that looks like something from an operating theatre. Room 3 is painted in a deep peacock-blue, with oriental artwork and paper lampshades. We stayed in calming, minimalist Room 1, which is dominated by a vast and blissfully comfy four-poster bed set on a raised platform, and has a small balcony.

There’s also a 2-bedroom suite, decked out in rich purples and elegant velvet chairs; and an apartment, Cuba, which has 3 double bedrooms plus an open-plan living, dining and cooking space. They, too, have balconies.

Features include:

  • Central heating
  • Hairdryer
  • Kettle
  • Shared iron and board
  • Toiletries
  • WiFi

Eating

The downstairs café is a lovely place to linger, with mismatched tables and chairs, stacks of magazines to browse, and a wall covered with 50s-style pink display cases. It serves a range of tasty breakfasts - everything from banana and almond morning cookies (low in sugar, high in energy and flavour) to delicious baked eggs with chorizo - as well as organic coffee, smoothies, pastries and cakes. There’s also a selection of light lunchtime meals: chilled gazpacho, cheese platters, sandwiches.

The café closes at 6pm, but guests are welcome to use it as a lounge after hours, and in the evening there’s an honesty bar where you can help yourself to beer and wine.

Prenzlauer Berg is packed with restaurants, and Bodo and Antonio will happily recommend their favourites. Just next door is Kochu Karu, which serves Spanish-Korean fusion food; it sounds odd, but the menu of oriental-inspired tapas really does work. Also within an easy stroll are the Italian Cotto e Crudo and the French Les Valseuses (both are very popular with locals, so you may need to book), and lively beer garden Prater. If you want to splash out on something special, jump on the tram and head a couple of stops to Mitte, where you’ll find Michelin-starred Pauly Saal, set in the gymnasium of a former Jewish school.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Breakfast
  • Café
  • Organic produce
  • Restaurants nearby
  • Vegetarian menu
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • Explore Prenzlauer Berg with its leafy squares and independent shops and cafés. The best areas for browsing are the streets around Kollwitzplatz and Helmholzplatz
  • Head to the huge Sunday flea market in nearby Mauerpark. In summer the atmosphere is almost carnivalesque, with street artists, open-air karaoke and locals gathering for impromptu picnics. There's also a smaller and less hectic flea market on Sundays around the corner from Mauerpark on Arkonaplatz
  • Linnen is almost right beside where the Berlin Wall used to divide East from West, and the interesting Berlin Wall Memorial and Documentation Centre are just a 15-minute walk (or 2 tram stops) away on Bernauer Strasse
  • Four stops on the M1 tram takes you to Hackescher Markt, the heart of hip and trendy Mitte. The warren of little streets off Rosenthaler Strasse is packed with galleries and boutiques
  • From Hackescher Markt, you're also within walking distance of Museum Island (whose highlights include the Pergamon Museum and the Neues Museum), Friedrichstrasse, the Brandenburger Tor, the Reichstag and the Holocaust Memorial
  • Check out Berlin’s nightlife - take the M10 tram (referred to by locals as the 'party train') east to the final stop, Warschauer Strasse, where you'll be within walking distance of famous clubs such as Berghain

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Cycling
  • Historical sites
  • Museums / galleries
  • Nightlife
  • Plantlife / flora
  • Private guided tours
  • Shopping / markets

Kids

Linnen is an intimate space and sound carries, so it's not ideal for children. The suite and Cuba apartment have 2 and 3 bedrooms respectively, but all are doubles (no twins), and there are no baby cots or rollaway beds.

Best for:

Children (4-12 years), Teens (over 12)

Kid Friendly: Room 2

Our guests' ratings...

9/
Rooms
10/
Food
9/
Service
10/
Value
9/
Overall

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