“When you travel you’ll always find extraordinary things. But this one is unique”. Philippe smiles. His buddy Alexander nods. The two Belgians are sitting in “their” caravan inside an old vacuum-cleaner factory. Yes, that’s correct. At the “Hüttenpalast” (German for Palace of Huts), the new star on Berlin’s budget-hotel skies, combining a perfect marriage of camping and bohemian loftstyle living.

in for the experience – hotel guests Philippe and Alexander

Despite appearances, the hotel in Berlin’s now hip and former working quarter of Neukölln was not initially intended to be about indoor-camping. This happened rather coincidentally, when event manager Silke and fashion designer Sarah thought about a way to use the factory hall as a hotel as well as an event location. They thought about huts on wheels as a way to open space when needed for an event. Huts on wheels? Uhm, yes. Take that, plus 2 and minus 500 and eventually you’ll get it – CARAVANS.

Needless to say that it’s almost impossible not to get this cozy camping feeling when sitting outside your caravan chatting with your neighbors or enjoying the sun in the garden. Before you know it, you are likely to feel a lot like staying at a friend’s place, not least down to your hosts Silke and Sarah who go out of their way to make you feel comfortable and welcome.

hut royals – Sarah and Silke, the owners of Hüttenpalast

Our green hearts are beating for the garden, located in the backyard. It’s been created almost entirely out of recycled products like old bathtubs, winecases or wooden barrels with the sole real investment having been fresh soil. Flowers, wine and herbs are growing here, making it a magical retreat in the moddle of the city. And in true Berlin spirit, everyone is invited to contribute ideas towards the beautification of the garden – art on the walls, san boxes, installations. If you have an idea, here you’ll find people who will want to hear about it.

The big picture is great, but it’s also the small things that catch your eye, around here. There are a bunch of handpicked books, some great pieces of vintage furniture, fresh flowers at all times, a more than inviting hammock and the porch swing in the garden guaranteeing you will have the odd night at the backyard chatting to other guests. Yes, one could say that this place really is a hybrid of a hotel and a hostel, since all the open space around you makes it almost impossible not to meet everyone else staying here.

The “Hüttenpalast” is more than just a hotel, it’s a place to meet, eat and chill sleep. And you get all this for a rather reasonable price. One night at one of the caravans or  huts will set you back by 40€ if you’re alone and 30€ if it’s you and someone else. For those looking for a little bit more private sphere there are also some “normal” hotel rooms available. Other yeah’s include free wi-fi and a delectable OJ & croissants breakfast for just 5€ a person.

reminiscent of a strawberry  cream cake is the exterior of Hüttenpalast

As cool as the hotel itself is its location. In the very heart of Neukölln, in dangerous proximity to some of Berlin’s best bars such as Raumfahrer, Fuchs und Elster or Tier. If you’re feeling sporty, go for a jog along nearby Maibachufer, where pretty trees cast shadows along the riverside walkway, before resting your tired bones for a coffee at one of the many cafes and restaurants in the neighborhood, or Hüttenpalast’s very own cafe, featuring lovely homemade cakes with mostly vegetarian cooking.

Yes, staying here is more than resting your head at some comfortable hotel bed pillow. It’s all about that feeling, when you wake up in the morning. To put it in the words of Alexander and Philippe: “Yeah, I’m sleeping in a caravan!”.

Located at Hobrechtstraße 65/66, 12047 Berlin.