The DNA: If you listened to the naysayers, you’d believe that Berlin was rather boring these days. “Berghain is so vanilla,” they say. “All the artists are moving out.” Well, here’s a hotel that proves otherwise. Several of the city’s artists hang out within these walls – one or two, perhaps, sitting with an Oyster Eau Martini to hand at the bar – and many more have been involved in designing bedrooms or displaying pieces up the stairs and down the corridors. A bronze self-portrait by Alicja Kwade stands outside, Karl Holmqvist’s neon piece signposts the kitchen, and a bold pink painting by Simon Fujiwara in the lobby picks up the colour of the Persian carpet below. While other so-called art hotels are little more than blank canvases, Château Royal walks the walk: Owner Stephan Landwehr’s connection to Berlin’s contemporary scene goes back to the 1980s when he started out as a picture framer; later, as a restaurateur, he opened Grill Royal, which became popular artists’ haunt. His partner, Kirsten, co-curated the spaces, which flow from the bar through a darkened fireplace room to the restaurant, Dóttir, where Icelandic chef Victoria Eliasdóttir plates up buttermilk-steeped artichokes and linseed meringue. Artists were given free rein in the bedrooms, with results that are occasionally challenging but often surprisingly restrained. With Berlin currently rebalancing itself – the west is regaining its confidence, while Kreuzkölln in the east picks up hipster points – this arty but not too-cool-for-school hotel in central Mitte is a fine place from which to reframe the city.
Accolades: Condé Nast Traveller Hot List 2023
✅ free Wi-Fi • size matters: 93 rooms, including 26 suites and 1 apartment (20-50m2) (215-538 sq ft) • hotel opened: September 2022 • architecture: David Chipperfield Architects • interior design: Irina Kromayer ❌ no parking available • pets allowed • 24-hour front desk • wheelchair accessible