Many people like the idea of camping but at the same time aren't prepared to sleep outdoors and forgo indoor plumbing. Enter Hüttenpalast Berlin – the urban glamping spot situated in central Berlin.
Just a five-minute walk from the nearest U-Bahn, Hermannplatz, the site is built on a former factory loading area, with indoor sleeping quarters on offer in the form of 1960s/70s caravans and stylised wood and hemp-based mountain huts.
And the ‘camping holidays of your youth’ nostalgia doesn’t end there: the toilets and washrooms are communal. Classic hotel-style rooms with their own private bathrooms are also available – but feel a little like spoiling the retro illusion.
From embellished caravans to kitsch picnic benches, Hüttenpalast offers all of the vintage aesthetic of a holiday from years gone by – with none of the admin of scraping mud from underneath your fingernails for weeks afterwards.
Hüttenpalast 's colourful caravan collective. Photo: Hüttenpalast
2. V8 Hotel, Stuttgart
For auto aficionados, the idea of a car-themed hotel may well rev your engine. And motor fans will be pleased to know that just such a hotel exists – fittingly, in the very town in which cars were invented.
Situated in Stuttgart, the hotel’s location boasts some serious car credentials, surrounded by industry giants Mercedes-Benz and Porsche’s head offices, as well as Motorworld, a hub for all things four-wheeled.
The hotel stays true to its roots throughout – classic cars are dotted around the building, with its 16 themed bedrooms offering different adding touches, from a bed made to look like a classic Jaguar, to a ‘Drive-in Cinema’ room with a converted Cadillac bed and a starry night ceiling. There are a further 130 rooms without out-and-out car props, but with automotive wall graphics, for those who want a slightly more toned-down experience.
The hotel offers a package for those wishing to visit the Mercedes and Porsche museums. With added extras like these, a racy stay is (almost) guaranteed.
The 'Drive in' room at V8, Photo: Frank Hoppe for V8 Hotel
3. Alcatraz Hotel, Rhineland-Palatinate
Previously, a stay in this building would be doled out as a punishment, but at prison-turned-hotel Alcatraz, willing ‘inmates’ check in with eagerness.
Built in the 19th century and transformed into a hotel in 2007, the residence retains much of the appearance of its former life as a place of detention through its design. It's decorated in the original style of red sandstone, stainless steel – and the obligatory prison bars.
The theme even spills into the sartorial, with guests invited to wear striped prison pyjamas upon arrival at their cells. Visitors can opt to stay in a ‘cell room’, with sparse decoration and a door hatch, or a ‘comfort room’, offering a more premium version of the locked-up life.
However, the similarities only go so far – with comfortable beds, flat screen TVs and a brand motto of “Your experience is our pleasure,” it’s clear that a stay at Alcatraz has come a long way over the past 100 years.
One of Alcatraz Hotel's 'cell rooms'. Photo: Alcatraz Hotel
4. Friend.ship Hausboot, Berlin
Become a sea-farer for a few days at Berlin's Friend.ship. But rest assured, you won't feel cast away when staying here – on the deck alone, this house boat features a sauna and a hot tub. And, with only two bedrooms, you can opt to have the run of the place.
If your feet are longing to reach terra firma, the boat is docked near popular attractions in Berlin, such as the Natural History Museum and the International Congress Centre.
All at sea on Berlin's Friend.ship. Photo: Hotel Friend.ship Hausboot
5. Burg Colmberg Hotel, Colmberg
If you've ever dreamt of being royalty, staying in this medieval castle could propel you towards realising your fantasy. Burg Colmberg is a family-run hotel set within a castle whose history goes back over 1,000 years.
And while staying there doesn't automatically entitle you to a crown or throne, the rooms' interiors have retained their original regal style, with everything from a banqueting hall to wooden four-poster beds inside the castle's walls. Combined with the hotel's location on the Frankenhöhe nature reserve, you're sure to enjoy a stay fit for a king/queen.
Burg Colmberg Hotel and its turret. Photo: Burg Colmberg Hotel
6. Wintertime Treehouse, Zentendorf
Hansel and Gretel fans, eat your heart out. This tree house in Saxony lets you get back to nature (within reason – there is WiFi in the wilderness). This hotel in eastern Germany also features an adventure park, complete with secret tunnels, museums and mazes.
As you might expect from a hotel so inextricably linked to the outdoors, intrepid explorers can get their kicks by hiking in the surrounding areas. And there's an on-site bowling alley for when the pull of nature subsides.
Get back to nature at the Wintertime Treehouse. Photo: Booking.com
7. BaseCamp Bonn, Bonn
At BaseCamp, 'transport' is the word of the day. Guests can choose to sleep in everything from old train carriages to camper vans masquerading as rocket shuttles.
With 13 vintage caravans, two sleeper trains, and four Airstreams, you'll be able to experience time spent on the road or rails – with no traffic or rattling to disturb you.
The hotel puts on a daily breakfast buffet and there's an indoor beer garden and barbecue area for spending some down time before climbing back into your vehicle for a good night's sleep.
Spend the night in a train at BaseCamp Bonn. Photo: BaseCamp Bonn
8. The QVEST Hideaway, Cologne
Is it an art gallery? Is it a hotel? It's both – and so much more. This boutique hotel takes inspiration from QVEST Magazin, a German fashion and lifestyle title, and describes itself as “a living showroom filled with designer touches and fashion sense.”
As well as featuring a private art gallery, the building itself cuts a cultural figure, having been built back in the 1800s and boasting a former life as Cologne's historic archive.
“A living showroom” – QVEST Hideaway. Photo: Booking.com
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