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The Circus Apartments

Mitte, Berlin, Germany

The upper-middle-range Circus Apartments are nestled within one of East Berlin's top tourist neighborhoods, Mitte. Part of Berlin's Circus group, this boutique property consists of 22 apartments in a modern brick-and-glass building that's completely separate from their nearby hostel and hotel rooms. Recently renovated, the units are furnished in a trendy style and have full kitchens and washer/dryers. High-end touches like stainless steel appliances, iPads loaded up with kid- and tourist-friendly apps, balconies, and organic bathroom products come standard. A ground-floor cafe serves light snacks and breakfast for a fee. The Circus Apartments has agreements with nearby gyms, but travelers in search of spa amenities might prefer the nearby Adina Apartment Hotel.


Casa Camper Berlin

Berlin, Germany

In a location convenient to accessing restaurants, night clubs, and transportation, the modern Casa Camper Berlin is an upper-mid-range, boutique property. Its 51 rooms offer trendy, industrial features like work table lamps on nightstands and steel pegs for hanging clothes. The hotel has a 24-hour lounge with free fruit, snacks, and non-alcoholic drinks as well as a bar working on the honor system. There’s also a modern restaurant serving Asian cuisine. Guests looking for a creative vibe may also want to consider PLUS Berlin, a hotel and hostel with an art garden.


Bed and Breakfast Zeevat

Munich, Upper Bavaria, Bavaria, Germany

This four-room bed and breakfast on the outskirts of Munich has an intimate, friendly ambience and attractive if basic rooms, which share bathrooms. The hosts serve a good, hearty breakfast, and are on hand to help guests. The rooms, which range from Doubles to Triples to a Family Room and come with flat-screen TVs and microwaves, are simple but homey if a bit institutional. Although the rooms might not have the soundproofing found in large hotels, guests seem won over by the pure charm of the place, which includes a house dog. 


Pension Galerie

Kreuzberg, Berlin, Germany

Pension Galerie is a dated but beloved mid-range bed-and-breakfast near the center of Berlin. It's on a residential street, but that helps keep the noise down in the building, which is home to drafty old windows. The large, clean, and individually decorated rooms feature flat-screen TVs. They're more affordable than other hotel rooms in the area, but their furnishings are dated. The included breakfast is served in a charming little room where the owner is known to chat with her guests as she helps serve coffee and tea. Wi-Fi is free throughout the hotel. 


Hotel Kriemhild

Munich, Upper Bavaria, Bavaria, Germany

The 18-room, family-run Hotel Kriemhild is located in a somewhat sleepy residential neighborhood near Nymphenburg Palace, and is six blocks northwest of Munich's main train station -- it's about a 15-minute train ride to the city center. The Kriemhild's rooms include suites with separate living and sleeping areas and air-conditioning (not a given in Munich), but aside from a computer station, the hotel has no business center, no fitness center, no common meeting areas, and the cold  breakfast buffet comes with a fee. But the hotel is clean, friendly, and accommodating, and has free Wi-Fi. Travelers might also want to  check out the nearby Nymphenburg Palace and the Hirschgarten. 


The Circus Hotel

Berlin, Germany

Overlooking Rosenthaler Platz, The Circus Hotel sits across the busy intersection from its older sibling, The Circus Hostel. The latter's success as a backpacker's destination lead to the opening of this 65-room boutique property catering to a hip crowd with a little more disposable income, but the rates are still less than at other mid-range properties in Berlin. Late breakfasts, bike rentals, and free walking tours led by knowledgeable staff all make this eclectic hotel stand out from the crowd, but the laudable eco-friendly and sustainable policies come with a downside -- no air-conditioning, which can be a deal breaker on hot summer nights. Travelers seeking more creature comforts in the city center can check the Adina Apartment Hotel Berlin Hauptbahnhof to the west, which also has a pool for only slightly higher rates.


Hotel Johann

Kreuzberg, Berlin, Germany

Hotel Johann is a mid-range property offering few frills but pleasant and comfortable rooms at a reasonable price. The hotel’s 33 rooms are clean and contemporary with rich wood floors, high ceilings, and, sometimes, original exposed brick ceilings or accent walls. There are two Family Rooms for up to four, while the other rooms are split between nicely sized Doubles and snug Singles (which can actually accommodate two for the budget-minded). The hotel has a lobby bar, a nice breakfast room, and an outdoor patio. Breakfast and honesty-bar snacks in the lobby are pretty reasonably priced, too. The hip Kreuzberg location is convenient to Berlin attractions in all directions, though it’s a 10-minute walk to the U-Bahn. Travelers preferring to be in Mitte might consider Calma Berlin Mitte, which has similar property features. 


Hotel Metropol

Munich, Upper Bavaria, Bavaria, Germany

This 74-room, lower-middle-range boutique hotel is a solid choice for budget-conscious travelers. A free daily breakfast is included in the rate as is Wi-Fi, and the location is convenient for those exploring the city without a car, as it's a short stroll to the city's main squares and a few blocks from Munich's largest train station, Hauptbahnhof. Rooms have a bold, contemporary design and all the expected amenities, including flat-screen TVs, minibars, and work desks. But there's no on-site restaurant, gym, or business center. Budget travelers that would rather go the B&B route could try Bed and Breakfast Zeevat.


The Mandala Suites

Mitte, Berlin, Germany

The upper-middle-range Mandala Suites is a great apartment-style option thanks to its second-to-none location in central Mitte and quality amenities. Its 81 rooms are suitable for those whose work calls them to Berlin, as well as tourists attracted by relatively low room rates and self-catering facilities. Top attractions and restaurants are a short walk away, and access to two subway lines make exploring farther-flung neighborhoods easy. Rooms are large and spacious, decorated in classic furnishings, and many offer balconies with excellent views of the streets below. Those looking for a more boutique feel might do well to look into Leonardo Hotel Berlin Mitte, which is in the same neighborhood. 


The Circus Hostel

Berlin, Germany

The 80-room, two-pearl Circus Hostel has bright and hip decor, a sociable atmosphere, and a young clientele. The property is conveniently close to public transportation and restaurants and is within walking distance to the Berlin Wall Memorial. Rooms range from dorms with lockers and shared bathrooms to private rooms with en-suite bathrooms and even studios and private rooms with kitchens and balconies. A lack of air-conditioning may be a drawback for some, but it’s just a part of the hostel’s green practices. Features include a trendy cafe and bar, a microbrewery, and free Wi-Fi. Unfortunately, the buffet breakfast (served until late) costs extra and there's no communal kitchen -- unusually for a hostel. PLUS Berlin is a good alternative with a restaurant and barbecue area, indoor pool, and game room. 


NH Collection Berlin Mitte Friedrichstrasse

Mitte, Berlin, Germany

This 268-room NH property is located on the pedestrian-friendly Friedrichstrasse near the train station of the same name, within a short walk of the tree-lined Under den Linden Boulevard. Rooms and suites are on the bland side, but do offer flat-screen TVs, minibars, and marble bathrooms. Hotel perks include appealing common spaces, like the lobby with fireplace, a chic glass-roofed breakfast room, and a high-end Italian restaurant, Vivaldi. The Intermezzo wine bar is a contemporary space serving cocktails and light fare. There's also an outdoor summer terrace. A wellness center features a sauna, relaxation area, and small fitness room, but Wi-Fi and underground parking are available only for a fee.


Meliá Berlin

Berlin, Germany

A good fit for business travelers, the Meliá Berlin is an upscale chain hotel with 364 rooms, located next to River Spree and close to a train station. The hotel has a tapas bar/restaurant, a separate restaurant serving international cuisine for lunch and dinner, and a breakfast buffet including hot and cold dishes for a fee. An exclusive floor that's suited to business travelers called "The Level" has its own reception, private lounge, and two computers with free Internet access. Business travelers may also want to check out Scandic Berlin Potsdamer Platz, a hotel in a convenient location with 19 meeting rooms.


Hotel Grunwald Garni

Munich, Upper Bavaria, Bavaria, Germany

The 30-room Hotel Grunwald Garni is a two-and-a-half-pearl property that's been run by the same family for four generations. This small, historic property has homey and charming details and a warm and welcoming atmosphere. Though the rooms and public spaces are pleasant, they’re bordering on tired, with an outdated style that contrasts sharply with the sleek, updated bathrooms. Rooms have flat-screen TVs and mini-fridges, but no air-conditioning. Other features include breakfast (for a fee), free Wi-Fi, and free parking. However, the location is removed from the city center, and those who want to be closer to town may prefer the significantly more modern TRYP Muenchen City Center.


AMERON Cologne Hotel Regent

Cologne, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany

The upper-middle-range Ameron Hotel Regent is a modern and stylish business hotel in the Braunsfeld District. While outside the city center, several tram and subway lines are nearby, and it's a 15- to 20-minute ride to the heart of Cologne. Geared toward business travelers attending conferences and trade shows in this corporate area, the hotel has 3,153 square feet of event space, including five meeting rooms. The 178 guest rooms are slick with wood floors; standard rooms include mini-fridges, coffeemakers, and flat-screen TVs, while higher-priced rooms come with free minibars and free parking. Hotel features include an Italian restaurant and bar, a small gym with a Finnish sauna, and a small library in the lobby. Travelers seeking to stay closer to the city center could consider the Hilton Cologne, which also has plenty of business amenities.


Schiller5 Hotel

Munich, Upper Bavaria, Bavaria, Germany

Schiller 5 Hotel & Boardinghouse is a petite property with 62 guest rooms within easy walking distance of Munich's main train station and many tourist sights -- though many tourists find the immediate area a bit seedy. Rooms are exceptionally well equipped with flat-screen TVs, free minibars, device docking stations, and kitchenettes. Breakfast is served buffet-style for an extra fee, but there's no on-site restaurant. Guests are treated to free drinks -- including wine -- in the lounge, but there are few other extra on-site features apart from a guest laundry and free Wi-Fi. Other potential downsides include problems with street noise despite the soundproofed windows. TRYP Muenchen City Center offers more competitive rates, with an on-site restaurant, fitness center, and sauna, but the Wi-Fi is limited.