Coconat Workation Retreat, how many ways do I love thee? The promise of getting shit done, with a breath of fresh country air – and sharing a bottle of wine around the firepit at the end of the day, after a hearty vegetarian meal. Sold!
What is a workation? Well, it’s a chance to get out of the city – perhaps to get away from your lonely desk at home (solidarity my fellow freelancers) or to gather your team for reflection time and planning. Located in the Brandenburg countryside – just enough outside of Berlin to make a difference, but not so far that it takes all day to get there – this is the place to come if you need a change of scenery to focus on your important projects.
Heck, maybe you just want to sleep in a tent at the indoor beach. Or have a meeting in the bathtub.
Dating back the 1870’s, this former villa has led several interesting past lives, including a period as a GDR Hotel. Lots of the furniture and light fixtures dotted around are original pieces from the era, a striking combination with the exposed brickwork and new pieces of handmade furniture: like the handmade table, made from a fallen tree on the grounds which was over 80 years old. Guests sit down to eat together at this table for set meal times throughout the day. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are vegetarian based, and strong coffee fuels your equally strong work ethic of course. Some of our meals included fresh-picked ingredients from the garden, like green beans and luscious pear and raspberries. Choices of beer include a local, organic brew of course.
There are spaces for meeting, winding down, and plenty of adventure activities once the important work stuff is out of the way. Reward hard work with canoe trips, swimming, hiking – all within easy reach of the villa. And of course there’s ping pong, and lots of cosy corners to curl up with a good book. The team are working on having a sauna ready for the new season in 2016, so there’s also that…
Speaking of the team: behind the Coconat Workation Retreat is a group of four welcoming and friendly people with a variety of backgrounds and skills that they bring to the handmade table: Christian Söder, a film editor; Janosch Dietrich who works on non-profit, sustainable and volunteer projects; Julianne Becker, a film director and project leader; and Michael Kloos, an architect involved in urban gardening and co-cooking projects. Their powers combined and welcoming natures have created an inspiring location – which I guarantee is a lot more inviting than your dreary ikea Linnmon.
Accommodation is quirky and cosy: from the “Beach House” – literally an indoor beach, with original tents from 1970’s GDR; to the “Cabin in the Woods”, where your dear author slept. Originally these cabins were built for kids – built in the period when the grounds were a holiday camp – so I did bang my head on the doorway a few times. Nonetheless I fell in love with the cabin, the peace and quiet, and I’m a sucker for GDR furniture. The beautiful touches of fresh flowers didn’t go unnoticed (during my stay Julianne popped in to bring me a vase of fresh lavender, swoon). Wire mesh has been thoughtfully attached to the windows at the cabin, so the only mosquito bites I got during my stay were on my walk from the train station.
The main hotel has great spaces for both solo- and team-working: like the conference room, decked out in the finest 70’s meeting room chic; the large co-working veranda with floor to ceiling windows offering a luscious green view to keep the workday inspired. Bonus points: excellent GDR paintings discovered in the basement now have pride of place on the wall of the co-working veranda. Step outside and the balcony offers further space – wifi works outside and the team is on hand to provide plugs to keep you powered up.
Did we mention the bathtub swing and disco ball yet? ‘Going for a bath’ takes on a new meaning at the Coconat Workation: their version of the porch swing is this surprisingly comfortable swinging bathtub – yes, you can recline – tried and tested! But also have like an important meeting there, or whatever.
Prices are set at €35 per night for this opening phase summer 2015 – the “Summer of Pioneers”. This included overnight accommodation and three meals a day. You can book for 2016 already via the website.
The Coconat is celebrating the end of summer this Saturday 19th September with a party: You can book a spot to sleep, so don’t worry about having to find your way back to Berlin. A fun-filled day is planned including jazz, readings, a tour of the display garden, a discussion on large scale sustainable food production, a children’s area with birdhouse making, weaving and sculpture; and a very Berlin evening program with DJs, open air film screening and live music.
Take your chance to stay at this wonderful location now – the team will close the villa to the public for the fall and winter season to continue with renovations: including the sauna, renovating the rooms inside the hotel building in time for the 2016 season, and there’s talk of fibre optic cable to boost the wifi availability on the premises as the grounds are very large.
The Coconat Workation Retreat is located in the Brandenburg countryside: normally there is a direct train from Alexanderplatz, however this is currently under construction. So the “Regional bahn” RE1 will get you there. Total journey time from Alexanderplatz is 1 hour, taking the S7 and RE1. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can walk the 5 kilometres from the Götz station to the Coconat Retreat, otherwise bring your bike, or organise a taxi (a day in advance with the help of the Coconat staff).
Disclaimer: Coconat Retreat offered a press rate for the purpose of this article. All opinions author’s own.
This is a guest post by Elizabeth Rushe.
Elizabeth is a writer and photographer in Berlin. Follow her food tales and podcast on berlinbelly.comTweet