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6. WEST BERLIN'S BACK!
Since the wall fell nearly 25 years ago, the buzz from Berlin has focused almost exclusively on the East's rise, with neighborhood after neighborhood reborn. But now the West strikes back, with top-end hotels opening here again, along with other exciting projects.
You'll find much of what's new in the Charlottenburg neighborhood and the adjacent areas of Wilmersdorf and Tiergarten. Use this carefully curated, style-centered overview to discover this ultrachic reboot.
Bikini Berlin: Come autumn, this multiuse mecca of entertainment, shopping, restaurant, and office space will give new life to an iconic postwar set of buildings, including the so-called Bikinihaus. A branch of the Hamburg-based, wallet-friendly 25hours Hotels (25hours-hotels.com) and a roof garden and bar overlooking Tiergarten will anchor the destination, along with outlets from such innovative fashion and design retailers as Andreas Murkudis (andreasmurkudis.com). Budapester Strasse 42; bikiniberlin.de
Das Stue: A member of Berlin-based Design Hotels, this 80-room, aesthetically minded spot in a 1939 neoclassical building once served as the Royal Danish Embassy. There's an Iberian accent, with Spanish architect Patricia Urquiola overseeing the public spaces, including the restaurant, where Michelin-starred Paco Pérez holds court in the kitchen. From $330. Drakestrasse 1; 800-337-4685; das-stue.com
Galerie Kornfeld: Set on the ground floor of a late-19th-century building with a courtyard sculpture garden, this exhibition space specializes in contemporary international artists. A second-floor space hosts occasional art and literature salons. Fasanenstrasse 26; 011-49-30-889-225-890; galeriekornfeld.com
Haus Cumberland: Built in 1913 as a boardinghouse, this grande dame has been emerging from a $160 million-plus restoration. It now contains apartments, offices, and a curated selection of shops, including Grosz, a vintage coffeehouse, Parisian patisserie, bar, and restaurant from beloved Berlin chef Roland Mary (his Borchardt, in the East, has been a haute spot for years); and a second branch of the men's and women's clothier 14 oz (011-49-30-8892-1814; 14oz-berlin.com), an East Berlin shop featuring a high-style (and high-priced) work-wear aesthetic. Kurfürstendamm 194; cumberlandberlin.de
The Kings of B: At this unconventional gallery, two Berlin-born 20-somethings show and curate work by their artist-friends. Recently, they've started venturing beyond their social network. Kantstrasse 125; 011-49-17-661-610-413; thekingsofb.com
Mathew: This contemporary gallery, founded by two friends who also run a trio of record labels, focuses on female artists. One recent solo show featured works by German sculptor and painter Michaela Eichwald, who won the Lafayette Prize at Paris' FIAC art fair last October. Schaperstrasse 12; 011-49-30-2102-1921; mathew-gal.de
Waldorf Astoria Berlin: This 232-room hotel, in a 31-story tower near Kurfürstendamm (West Berlin's answer to the Champs-Élysées), has a certain French flair, with a restaurant from envelope-pushing star chef Pierre Gagnaire and Germany's only Guerlain Spa. From $369. Hardenbergstrasse 28; 011-49-30-8140-000; waldorfastoriaberlin.com