B Hotel, Barcelona
Elegant and modern, this three-star hotel has a fabulous panoramic terrace, with a bar serving snacks, as well as a long and narrow infinity pool and a view of the Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya up to the wooded hill of Montjuïc. Room decor is minimal and there is plenty of light from the floor to ceiling windows. There is no restaurant, although there is a chain of coffee shops in the lobby and many restaurants nearby.
• Double from € 8Only 0 rooms, Gran Via de les Corts Catalanes 389-391, b-hotel.com
Be Manos Hotel, Brussels
A renovated townhouse from the 1920s, this boutique hotel attracts an artistic crowd and is a welcome arrival in the surroundings of the Gare du Midi, which has many chain hotels. The rooms are decorated in black, white, metal, glass and stone – without compromising on comfort – and the restaurant and bar are worth a visit in all respects. It is less than 10 minutes walk from the station but the hotel offers a free shuttle service for guests in a hurry.
• Double from € 119 B&B, Square de l’Aviation 23, bemanos.com
Miss Sophie’s Downtown, Prague
Next to the park of the railway station nicknamed Sherwood, due to its reputation as a refuge for thieves, this new boutique hotel is part of a small chain (four in Prague, one in Olomouc). The design theme is retro chic – with rooms equipped with custom-made furniture, a series of mirrors, lights and small red curtains – and evokes the atmosphere of a theatrical dressing room. It does not yet have its breakfast bar, but organic tea and cakes on arrival give it a welcoming touch. Miss Sophie is an economic and comfortable stop.
• Double from £ 38 overnight stay only, Opletalova 39, miss-sophies.com
Hotel Hor, Paris
On the one hand its rather peculiar name, this 47-room hotel has a large lounge in the lobby and a garden terrace – and an excellent location just minutes from the Gare du Nord. It is a good value property and comes with a dose of style and also a visual sense of humor. For example, the ironic re-editions of the brutally ugly type of wallpaper, once common in small French hotels, are used as decorative accents in well-lit rooms with oak parquet floors, desks and bathrooms with rain showers. Breakfast is served until noon.
• Double from € 115 only room, 160 rue la Fayette, 75010, hotel-hor.com
Polonia Palace Hotel, Warsaw
An eight-minute walk from the station, Poland, built in 1913, is full of ancient charm. It is one of the few properties in the capital that survived the Second World War during which it was used as a field hospital by the Polish resistance in the midst of the Warsaw uprising, after a period in which it hosted Nazi officers. It was reopened after a major renovation in 2004.
• Doubles from £ 57 room only, Aleje Jerozolimskie 45, poloniapalace
They love Grand Central, Berlin
Much of the commercial development around the Hauptbahnhof has favored large business hotels, but opposite the Europaplatz entrance to the station there is this medium-sized option with boutique interiors full of fashion portraits and designer furnishings. The Hamburger Bahnhof contemporary art museum and the Natural History Museum are just down the road, and it’s a 20-minute walk to the Brandenburg Gate and Reichstag. Rooms have minimal dark brown and white palettes, plenty of natural light, and extra rooms and Nespresso coffee machines in the superior rooms.
• Double from € 57 overnight stay only, Heidestrasse 62, amanogroup.de
Fifteen minutes walk from Centraal Station or five minutes by subway, Ecomama is a 19-room hostel, whose relaxing areas and cheerful staff live giving the place a welcoming and community atmosphere despite the industrial style. Recycled accessories, such as lamps made with cheese graters, reinforce Ecomama’s message of sustainability, as well as timed showers and lighting of motion sensors. Accommodation options range from the 12-bed dormitory “el cheapo” (from € 18), to a superior private double, with private bathroom (from € 99). Have breakfast in the shared kitchen or grab a croissant and coffee for less than € 5 at the bar, The Fix.
• Valkenburgerstraat 124, ecomamahotel.com
Hotel Daniel, Vienna
It is not difficult to locate the Hotel Daniel: just look for the boat that hangs on the roof of the building. The roof also houses beehives and apple trees that provide on-site bakery products, open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, while vegetables are grown in the hotel garden, where an Airstream trailer has been turned into a bedroom. Other rooms in the main building are peaceful havens with white walls, green tiled bathrooms and, in some rooms, hammocks. Explore the city on an E-vespa or pushbike (rent from € 35 and € 10 per day respectively). An on-site shop also acts as a reception and sells both practical things (forgot your toothbrush?) And nice things. Next to the park of the baroque palace of the Belvedere, it is a 15 minute walk from the train station.
• Double from € 98 just the room, Landstrasser Gürtel 5, hoteldaniel.com
The Beehive, Rome
The Beehive is a mix of hostel and hotel and is led by American expats Steve Brenner and Linda Martinez. Their welcoming and ecological structure is a mixture of dormitories (including only for women) and private rooms, as well as a courtyard full of plants. The vegetarian breakfast includes homemade sourdough bread, donuts, cakes and pies, accompanied by fair trade coffee. Expect a sense of community as well: The Beehive organizes family-style dinners and cooking lessons for guests, making it an intriguing option for solo travelers. € 20-90 in low season to € 35-120 in high season.
• Dormitories from € 15, rooms from € 65, Via Marghera, 8, the-beehive.com
Generator Hostel, London
The King’s Cross branch of the Generator group, driven by urban design, is less than 10 minutes walk from the station and offers convenient beds, late night bars and fun interiors. The common areas are colorful and industrial, with recycled wood, exposed pipes and bricks. There are leather armchairs, a graffiti printed piano, checkerboard printed tables, a slice of the Routemaster bus that serves as a DJ booth in the bar and a cafe offering burgers and light snacks. The dormitories sleep 4-13, with shared bathrooms, or there are private rooms, some with private bathrooms. It is within walking distance of the Coal Drops Yard shopping and restaurant complex, as well as Regent’s Park and Camden.
• Dorms from £ 9, private rooms from £ 44, staygenerator.com
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