MANI – Design-conscious yet economic boutique hotel with slimline, comfortable rooms in a buzzing part of town.
The AMANO Group’s hotels are all about providing guests with maximum style for the smallest price tag, and the MANI is no exception. Its clever design manages to make what would otherwise be simple rooms into luxurious boutique abodes, thanks to high-end fittings and unique artwork. The Israeli food at its restaurant is excellent and this, combined with the quirky and seductive decor, draws in locals in a way that other hotels do not manage. Then there’s the hotel’s location: on the border between the gentrified Prenzlauer Berg and the funky Scheunenviertel. Many of the major sights, as well as the Hauptbahnhof (Central Station), are within walking distance of the hotel.
MANI – Location
- Address: Torstrasse 136, Berlin.
- Nearest Metro/Subway: Rosenthaler Platz is a handy 100m from the hotel.
- Area: The hotel is in Mitte, more specifically, in the trendy Scheunenviertel, often referred to as the Hackescher Markt. To the north is Prenzlauer Berg, one of the city’s coolest neighborhoods. While both Mitte and Prenzlauer Berg have been heavily gentrified since the city’s reunification, there are still hints of Soviet shabbiness, and the Gedenkstätte Berliner Mauer (Berlin Wall Memorial) is a must-see.
- How to Get There: From Berlin Central Station, it’s 10-15 minutes (1.5 miles) via either taxi or public transport. From Brandenburg Airport, it’s 45 minutes (16 miles) by taxi or public transport.
- Private Transfer: We use and recommend Welcome Pickups car service. Booking through a private car service will cost only a bit more than a taxi – about €49 from Brandenburg Airport – but can be worth it to avoid the long taxi queue and for the convenience of paying ahead.
- Handy To: Hackescher Markt, Gedenkstätte Berliner Mauer, Neue Synagogue.
MANI – The Basics
- Ages: While MANI is not adults-only, the majority of guests tend to be travelers or couples on a city break.
- View: Upper floors have panoramic city views and those on the south side take in the Fernsehturm (TV Tower) and the spires of the Dom.
- Private Pools/Jacuzzis: No private pools or jacuzzis.
- Laundry: Laundry services available (additional charge).
- Parking: Some spaces available for €15/day.
- Extras: Vending machines in lobby with cool gizmos, gadgets, and snacks; e-scooters, laptops, ipads, and bicycles for hire at reception; slippers in the room.
- When to Book: As far ahead as possible to secure the best rates. Last-minute bookings soar in price.
- How to Book: Booking.com will have the best rates.
- Phone: +49 30 5302 8080
- Email: [email protected]
- Website: amanogroup.de
MANI – Amenities
- Pool: No pool.
- Spa: No spa.
- Fitness Center: No fitness center. Guests may use the fitness facilities at other AMANO Group hotels if required.
- For Disabled Guests: The whole hotel is accessible by elevator and there’s a wheelchair-friendly room on each floor.
- For Families: There is space in the rooms for a crib but not an extra bed. There is also a reduced-price kids’ breakfast menu, however, and the helpful staff can help arrange services like babysitting.
MANI – Food and Drink
- Restaurant: The sultry MANI Restaurant on the ground floor of the hotel has a small bar area and indoor and outdoor dining tables. Open to the public for lunch (with a good value set menu) and dinner serving modern Israeli small plates. Open Monday-Friday 12pm-2:30pm and 7pm-midnight, Saturday dinner only. $-$$$.
- Lounge/Bar: There’s no separate bar but there is a separate sitting area in the restaurant and comfy sofas in the lobby and on the street outside the hotel. The bar is run by restaurant staff during restaurant hours though drinks are available for guests 24/7. The hotel keenly points out that its sister hotel, AMANO, has a fabulous rooftop bar with views spanning Scheunenviertel (0.2 mile).
- Breakfast: An excellent buffet breakfast is served 8am-midday in the restaurant for €15, or €12.50, if booked in advance when booking the room via the hotel’s website.
- Room Service: No room service but there are vending machines in the lobby (including useful travel necessities and beauty products), and a minibar and snacks available in the rooms. There are 24-hour stores and snack bars nearby.
MANI – Rooms
- Room Types: Standard • List of all Rooms
- Smoking Rooms: Smoking is permitted on the terraces. The hotel’s staircase cleverly goes outside the building and offers guests on each floor with a small terrace with ashtray.
- Best Room: The 3 north-facing rooms on the top floor also have private terraces. South-facing rooms on higher floors are quieter and have views of the Fernsehturm and the Dom. All rooms have rainfall showers, climate control, TVs, toiletries, safes, slippers, and minibars.
- Family Rooms: No family rooms per se.
MANI – Local Transport
- Walking: Many of the big sights, including the Gedenkstätte Berliner Mauer, Museumsinsel, and Alexanderplatz are within a 15-minute walk of the hotel.
- Tram/Bus: The useful M1 tram route, which goes directly into the center of Mitte, can be caught right by Rosenthaler Platz U-Bahn, a 1-minute walk (100m).
- Subway: Rosenthaler Platz U-Bahn is a 1-minute walk (100m).
- Taxis, Uber, Lyft: All taxis charge the same amount in Berlin, even Uber, but the company’s growth has been limited by local taxi firms, which have rallied to compete with apps of their own: TaxiApp and taxi.eu app represent a large number of local companies, including Taxi Berlin (+49 30 202020) and FunkTaxi Berlin (+49 30 261026).
MANI – What’s Nearby?
Recommended Nearby Tours
- Secret Food Tours – With specialist tours about craft beer, street food, German food, and vegan cuisine, these tours, led by locals, are always illuminating. They start at different places, depending on the tour.
- Insider Tour – This company offers a wide range of extremely well-reviewed tours (including Jewish Berlin, Third Reich Berlin, Cold War Berlin, and more) and their meeting point in East Berlin is conveniently located by Hackescher Markt station, a 13-minute walk (0.6 mile) or 4-minute tram ride south of the hotel.
- Berlin on Bike – The meeting point for this tour company, which offers a diverse range of cycling city tours, is a tourist site in itself, Prenzlauer Berg’s Kulturbrauerei, a 20-minute walk (1 mile) or 10-minute tram ride from the hotel.
- Trabi Safari – One of the quirkier options and a must for any motorheads is to drive around the city in a Trabant, the car of the Soviet Union. You’ll see the multicolored little vehicles around and about, and navigating Berlin’s streets in one will give you more of a sense of real life in the GDR than just about anything else. Tour starts from Zimmerstrasse (opposite the Topographie des Terrors), 25 minutes via public transport.
Best Nearby Restaurants
- Kopps – Vegan, seasonal, organic, and beautifully presented, altogether excellent. $$. (0.1 mile).
- PeterPaul – Sharing plates of German classics with a twist in a refined restaurant on Torstrasse. $$-$$$. (0.2 mile).
- Simela – Excellent pizzeria with a great selection for those with special diets or allergies. $. (0.2 mile).
- Yumcha Heroes – A modern take on the traditional Chinese tea-and-dumpling house. They make some of the best dim sum in the city. $-$$. (0.2 mile).
- Sisal – Cozy local Italian serving unfussy pizzas and pastas at great prices. $. (0.2 mile).
- Đistrict Một – The closest you’ll get to Saigon in Europe. Kitsch and colorful diner with convivial outside seating. Pho, dim sum, hot pot, and more. $. (0.2 mile).
- ‘Chén Chè Teehaus – Asian tea house serving freshly-baked sweet treats and Vietnamese mains in a magical bamboo-filled courtyard. $-$$. (0.2 mile).
- KWA – Kebap with Attitude – Hipster kebabs with a wide range of sauces, chutneys, and inventive fillings, including lots for veggies. $. (0.3 mile).
- Kuchi – Great Japanese food with a focus on curries and noodles, great for those not so into sushi. Sleek interiors and cool garden. $-$$. (0.3 mile).
- Nola’s – From Bircher Müsli to Röschti and Fondue, this place does Swiss food all day every day with a cool terrace overlooking the Volkspark am Weinberg. $-$$. (0.3 mile).
- Piccolo Giardino – Whether you go for a great Italian meal, an aperitivo, or homemade dessert, this hidden gem in the Rosenhöfe is sure to delight. $-$$. (0.4 mile).
- YOSOY – Lively Spanish tapas joint attracting a mix of tourists and locals right by the Hackesche Höfe. (0.5 mile).
Best Nearby Cafes
- Pastelaria A Galão – Hot drinks, smoothies, panini, and, of course, Pastel de nata at this Portuguese cafe with great outdoor seating almost opposite the Volkspark am Weinberg. (0.2 mile).
- The BARN – Simply one of the best coffee shops in the city. Renowned internationally for its roastery (0.5 mile). The closest cafe is a 5-minute walk (0.2 mile) away.
- Barcomi’s – Delectable bagels, pies, cakes, coffee, and more from this local favorite (they can also prepare fully stocked picnic baskets for day-trips). The deli is off Sophienstrasse in a picturesque courtyard. (0.4 mile).
Best Nearby Bars and Breweries
- MuschiObermaier – Rock n’ roll bar with retro music and a punky dive-bar atmosphere. Wednesday-Saturday from 8/9pm. Cash only. (150m).
- Mein Haus am See – A 24/7 cafe-bar-club, “My House on the Lake” has cool seating and welcomes everyone. (0.1 mile).
- Clärchens Ballhaus – Drinking, dining, dancing, guided tours, and more at this faded but splendid ballroom that’s been going since 1913. (0.3 mile).
- Betty F*** – Trashy late-night LGBTQ space in what must be one of the tiniest bars in the city. (0.3 mile).
- Dal Contadino – Pleasant Italian trattoria and wine bar. (0.3 mile).
- Gaststätte W. Prassnik – Bar that serves its own brew, which evokes GDR-era simplicity: “You come when we open. No reservations. No social media.” Smoking allowed in the bar. (0.4 mile).
- Max Fish – Alternative bar in the ACUD culture center with live music, open mic nights, and DJs. (0.4 mile).
- Weinerei Forum – By day, a pleasant cafe (try the baked cheesecake). By night, it’s a pay-what-you-think-it’s-worth wine tasting bar. (0.4 mile).
- Kaschk – Ever yearned for craft beer and shuffleboard? Then this place is for you. (0.5 mile).
Nearby Shopping & Cool Shops
- FUNDAMENTAL.BERLIN – Homeware and more, inspired by the “mathematics of nature” and made from natural materials. (0.1 mile).
- Dr Bronner’s – For green points, head to this, the flagship store of the cult Californian brand. (0.1 mile).
- Rotation Boutique – Record store and unisex fashion, with an emphasis on sustainable streetwear. (0.2 mile).
- do you read me?! – You’ll see people carrying this store’s canvas bags all over the city. It’s the hippest magazine store, with a small selection of classic books, many in English. (0.3 mile).
- Schönhauser Design – The best and most classic contemporary design house, specializing in German and Danish labels as well as Berlin-based manufacturers. (0.3 mile).
- Grober Unfug – Cool comic book store with a good selection in English. (0.3 mile).
- Freshlabels – Like a shoe store for bags, the coolest new backpacks are available to feel, try on, and admire. (0.4 mile).
- Tukadu – For lovers of kitsch, colorful, and playful jewelry, come to this heaven, where you can buy handmade designs or choose elements to design your own. (0.4 mile).
- Hackescher Markt – The term refers to the shopping area encompassing the eponymous S-Bahn station, Dircksenstraße in the south, Torstrasse in the north, Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz in the east, and Oranienburger Strasse in the west. It’s most famous for its concentration of independent stores scattered in various courtyards, or Höfe. The most famous of these being the Hackesche Höfe, which has a warren of yards and Jugendstil architecture. (0.5 mile).
- South Embassy – High-quality Latin American products, from clothes and shoes to wines and chocolate. (0.5 mile).
- Kurfürstendamm – For luxury stores and international chains, bypass hip Mitte and head straight to “Ku’damm”, as it’s known by locals, and hit all the world’s major brands at once. 30 minutes via public transport.
- Alexanderplatz, Fernsehturm, & Karl Marx Allee – Alexanderplatz is the busiest place in Berlin and a great landmark to help orientate yourself to the city. Don’t miss the retrofuturistic World Clock, often surrounded by street performers, and make sure to walk east up the bombastic Karl Marx Allee, a perfect example of large-scale Soviet architecture. Another unmissable example of Soviet pretension towers over Alexanderplatz: the Fernsehturm (TV Tower), which was designed to show off the might of the new regime to the West. Now you can ascend for food or drink, or just to look around. It’s open most days until midnight. All can be reached within a 15 to 20-minute walk (0.8 mile) or in 7-10 minutes via public transport.
- Museums – There can be few cities as great for museum-goers as Berlin, mostly because they’re all packed into a compact area, the so-called Museumsinsel, a 25-minute walk (1.2 miles) from the hotel. The island in the Spree features some of the nation’s finest museums: the Alte Nationalgalerie (19th-century art), the Altes Museum (Greeks, Etruscans, Romans), the Bode-Museum (sculpture, coins, medals, and Byzantine art), the Neues Museum (Ancient Egyptians and prehistory), and the Pergamonmuseum (Islamic and Roman architectural set pieces). There are far too many treasures to note, but needless to say, you should plan your time (or go with a guided tour) and buy tickets in advance, especially for the world-famous Pergamon. General opening hours are 10am-6pm (Thursdays until 8pm) and several of the museums are closed on Monday. Also on the island are the Berliner Dom (cathedral) and the Humboldt Forum (opening in 2020), which is being built in the former Berlin Palace. Just off the island are the wonderful Deutsches Historisches Museum, which traces German history from the Middle Ages to the fall of the Wall, and the wacky and interactive DDR Museum (see below under Cold War).
- Unter den Linden – West of Museumsinsel is this enormous boulevard that leads past the Staatsoper (National Operahouse) and Humboldt University, via many of the flagship stores for international brands, all the way to the Brandenburger Tor (Brandenburg Gate) and beyond to the Tiergarten and its dramatic Siegessäule (Victory Monument). Just north of the Brandenburg Gate is the Bundestag (aka Reichstag), with its inspiring rotunda where the public can overlook the politicians at work in the main parliament chamber below. It’s free to visit, but book well ahead or risk hours in line. 20 minutes by public transport.
- Nazi and WWII history – A good place to start is the Topographie des Terrors (Topography of Terror, 20-25 minutes via public transport), a center dedicated to understanding how the Nazis came to cause such destruction, and built on the former site of the Gestapo, SS, and security headquarters. There are 2 worthwhile memorials to visit that warn of the horrors of war: the Kaiser-Wilhelm-Gedächtnis-Kirche (Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church, 25-30 minutes via public transport) has been purposefully left in its bombed state, while Käthe Kollwitz’s devastating ‘Mother with her Dead Son’ sculpture at the Neue Wache (New Guardshouse, opposite the Staatsoper) is a national monument for all the victims of war and dictatorship. During the air raids that destroyed some 80% of the city center, much of Berlin’s life happened underground. Two ways to get insight into this are: visit the site of the Führerbunker, where information boards explain what cannot be seen below – Hitler’s series of underground rooms and tunnels where he spent his final days, or visit Berliner Unterwelten (8 minutes via public transport), whose tours allow you to explore air raid shelters, and the Myth of Germania exhibition which examines Hitler’s extensive plans for a modernized, Aryan Berlin (and how it would be achieved with widespread forced labor).
- Jewish Berlin – Wandering through the large uneven slabs of the Holocaust Memorial, just south of the Brandenburg Gate (20-25 minutes via public transport), is a deeply moving experience, as is the Jewish Museum (in Kreuzberg, also 20-25 minutes via public transport), which dives deep into German-Jewish history and culture. The Neue Synagoge in Scheunenviertel (0.6 mile) provides tangible evidence of just how important the pre-war Jewish population was to Berlin’s growth and industry in the second half of the 19th century. It now features a permanent exhibition about Berlin Jewry.
- Cold War – As you walk around the city, look out for the double row of cobblestones, laid as a reminder of the enormous footprint of the Berliner Mauer (Berlin Wall). There are several segments of the original wall that have been preserved: a section at the Topographie des Terrors (see above); the famous painted section, the East Side Gallery (in Friedrichshein, 20-30 minutes via public transport); and the Gedenkstätte Berliner Mauer (Berlin Wall Memorial), which spans a few blocks of Bernauer Strasse, between the Nordbahnhof and Mauerpark (0.6 mile). It’s an outdoor museum telling the story of the wall and its repercussions, with a full-scale reproduction of the double-walled barrier the Soviets created (viewing platform at the corner with Ackerstrasse). The reconstructed Checkpoint Charlie (in Mitte, a block from the Topographie des Terrors), a gateway between the East and West from the American Sector, is an evocative tourist favorite, while the Stasi Museum and Archives (in Friedrichshain, 30 minutes via public transport), housed in the real Stasi headquarters, show the depths the secret police of the German Democratic Republic went to for spying on its citizens. For a social history perspective, the DDR Museum (1 mile) is a wonderfully interactive glimpse into what life was like behind the iron curtain in the Deutsche Demokratische Republik, or German Democratic Republic (GDR).
- Other sights in Mitte – The oldest part of the city can be seen in Nikolaiviertel, whose tiny alleys and reconstructed medieval church seem a million miles away from the big city, and the heavy-handed GDR-era restoration gives the whole area a sense of Berlin’s layered history. Worth a visit, especially for the open air concerts in summer and the Christmas markets in winter, is the Gendarmenmarkt (20 minutes by public transport), a square often dubbed the most beautiful in Berlin thanks to its perfectly symmetrical neoclassical buildings. The heavily regenerated Potsdamer Platz neighborhood now has much to recommend it, including the inspiring architecture of the Sony Center (20 minutes by public transport), a walk of stars, and the Kulturforum (0.4 mile from Potsdamer Platz). Designed in the 1960s to show those in the East what they were missing out on in the cultured West, the Kulturforum’s large plaza features the glimmering Philharmonie concert hall, the Gemäldegalerie (13th to 18th-century European paintings), and the soon-to-be-reopened Neue Nationalgalerie (20th-century art), among other cultural hotspots.
- Schloss Charlottenburg – There are many sights worthy of a trip outside central Berlin, but Charlottenburg Palace might be one of the best. It was the plush Prussian dream of Queen Sophie Charlotte, whose golden Rococo ballroom and Porcelain Cabinet are jaw-droppingly lavish. It has beautiful gardens for strolling or picnicking, and opposite are 3 excellent museums, the Bröhan-Museum (arts and crafts), Museum Berggruen (a modern art collection featuring Picasso, Klee, Braque, Cézanne, and Giacometti, among others), and the Sammlung Scharf-Gerstenberg (French Impressionists, the complete print works of Toulouse Lautrec, Dalí, Magritte, Ernst, and Klee, among others). 35-40 minutes via public transport.
- Alternative Lifestyles – The Acker Stadt Palast (0.1 mile), Haus Schwarzenberg (0.5 mile), and ACUD (0.4 mile) are all examples of the progressive cultural centers that burgeoned in the aftermath of reunification, when artists took over crumbling buildings in former East Berlin and lived and worked together. It’s places like these that gave Berlin its edgy reputation and have survived the onslaught of gentrification. If you’re into alternative Berlin and especially street art, make sure to check out Friedrichshain’s RAW-Gelände, a hive of various hip activities and businesses run out of renovated train warehouses covered in graffiti. It takes about 25 minutes via public transport to reach.
Nearby Markets or Grocery Stores
- The Market – Opposite the hotel, this good minimart is open 24 hours most days.
- Mauerpark Flea Market – For a real Berlin experience, head to Prenzlauer Berg’s Mauerpark on a Sunday for the massive flea market and karaoke in the amphitheater in the afternoons. (0.9 mile).