As in the next few years, there’s plenty for cruisers to look forward to in 2023, including 13 brand new deep sea cruise ships. Ships range from large to small and include Explora Journeys’ first-ever ship and a premier ship for Oceania Cruises. Other cruise lines entering service in 2023 include next-in-class ships from Norwegian Cruise Line, Celebrity Cruises, Carnival Cruise Line, Seabourn, Virgin Voyages, Regent Seven Seas Cruises and more.
With so many options, it’s hard to decide which is the most exciting, but Travel Market Report cornered each member of our team to find which cruise ship excites us the most.
Anne Marie Moebes, Editor & Co-Founder – Oceania Vista (April 2023)
When launched in April 2023, Oceania Vista will be the first new cruise ship for Oceania Cruises in more than a decade (the last was Oceania Riviera in 2012). the first cabins of the line for solo travelers.
- Meal: With 12 onboard dining experiences, the 1,200-passenger ship will rival some of the largest ships out there when it comes to culinary diversity. Options include the brand new Ember restaurant, as well as the wellness-inspired Aquamar Kitchen, Polo Grill, Toscana, Red Ginger, and others.
- New cabin category: With the growing number of solo travelers, Oceania Vista will introduce Concierge Solo Veranda Staterooms, specifically created for cruises that travel alone. The six staterooms in this category are 270 square feet, have a sitting area, full bath, and special perks like free laundry service, unlimited use of the Aquamar Spa Terrace, and access to the concierge lounge.
- Customer service: Two to three crew members for every three guests, one of the best crew-to-guest ratios in the premium cruise category.
Brian Israel, Associate Editor – Explora I (July 2023)
Ever since MSC Group announced its new luxury brand, Explora Journeys, we at Travel Market Report have been awaiting the launch of its first ship, Explora I. The all-balcony ship will offer mostly inclusive pricing, cabins starting at a leading 377 square feet and a crew-to -Passenger rating from one to 1.25.
- Meal: Six restaurants are included in the cruise fare, including a unique anthology-themed venue showcasing global cuisines from around the world, as well as restaurants serving Pan-Asian, Mediterranean, French and more.
- Outside: Like sister brand MSC Cruises, Explora Journeys will feature Explora I with large outdoor spaces (totaling 27,000 square feet), including four swimming pools, whirlpools, private cabanas and more.
- Luxury Accommodations: Even the “basic” suites aboard Explora I will feel luxurious, as all have a private balcony (with sofa bed and al fresco dining area), walk-in closet, heated bathroom floors, personal mini-bar stocked according to guests’ preferences and amenities like a Dyson ultrasonic hair dryer, binoculars for shipboard use and personal refillable water bottles to take home.
Jennifer Arango, Regional Sales Manager – Silver Nova (July 2023)
As the first of Silversea’s Nova Class ships, the full-balcony Silver Nova (a first for Silversea) will be the largest ship in the Silversea fleet. It will feature an all-new asymmetric design intended to create more exterior views and will have the Silversea fleet’s higher seat-to-guest ratio and a crew-to-guest ratio of one to 1.3.
- Hybrid technology: Silver Nova will feature a unique hybrid technology combining liquid natural gas, fuel cells and batteries, and shore power (where available). In selected ports, Silver Nova is operated exclusively with fuel cells and batteries and is therefore 100% emission-free.
- Suite selection: With 13 cabin categories, Silver Nova offers the widest selection of suites in the Silversea fleet, ranging in size from 357 to 1,323 square feet. All feature a private balcony, walk-in closet and Silversea’s signature butler service.
- Signature Silversea Dining: There will be eight restaurants on Silver Nova, including signature Silversea venues such as La Terrazza, La Dame and SALT Kitchen, along with The Marquee, an entirely new concept for Silversea that is divided into two al fresco restaurants – The Grill and Spaccanapoli .
Daniel McCarthy, Editor-in-Chief – Resilient Lady (June 2023)
Originally scheduled for 2022, Virgin Voyages pushed back the launch date of its third “Lady” ship to 2023 due to supply chain issues. Barring some minor changes, the ship is likely to be almost a carbon copy of sister ships Scarlet Lady and Valiant Lady.
- Meals included: An amazing variety of food is offered on board the Resilient Lady – all included in the cruise fare. The selection ranges from Korean, Italian and Mexican to tapas and American steakhouse.
- Nightlife: Virgin ships come alive at night, with live music throughout the ship and interactive entertainment to highlight the extroversion in each cruiser.
- Fitness: With two onboard fitness centers and an outdoor athletics club, there are plenty of opportunities for cruise ships to say goodbye to the indulgences of the previous night.
Ludwig Intreglia, Marketing & Sales Director, Emerald Sakara (February 2023)
The 100-passenger Emerald Sakara is one of the first communications vessels to be launched in 2023. She will be the second ocean-going superyacht for Emerald Cruises. Like sister ship Emerald Azzurra, which debuted in 2022, the yacht is designed for warm-weather cruising.
- Marina platform: The platform opens to passengers once or twice per cruise, giving off-ship guests access to snorkeling, paddling, and kayaking.
- Casual lounging: The yachting lifestyle is all about taking it easy, and the Emerald Sakara offers plenty of space for relaxation, from the aft hot tub to the forward infinity pool and sun deck, as well as a small spa and cozy library.
Tom McCarthy, Marketing Coordinator – Norwegian Viva (August 2023)
As the twin of one of the most anticipated new ships of 2022, Norwegian Viva will share everything that has quickly made Norwegian Prima the most popular ship for Norwegian Cruise Line, including extensive dining options and some of the best entertainment at sea.
- Adrenaline fun: Like Norwegian Prima, Norwegian Viva will feature a three-story, quarter-mile race course, as well as The Drop’s 10-story free-fall slide and Tidal Wave waterslide.
- food hall: One of the coolest dining venues in the entire cruise industry (launched on Norwegian Prima), the Food Hall offers seven different, complimentary mini-restaurants for lunch and dinner. The selection ranges from Indian to noodles to barbecue and more.
- Advanced port: Norwegian Prima’s Haven will be one of the largest in Norwegian Cruise Line’s fleet, accounting for 6% of the ship’s capacity across eight categories. As on Norwegian Prima, the Haven Sundeck will feature an infinity pool and an outdoor spa area with sauna and cold room.
Dori Saltzman, Editor – Seabourn Pursuit (March 2023)
Seabourn Pursuit, another second-rate ship debuting in 2023, will be the second expedition-style ship for Seabourn, following Seabourn Venture, which was launched in 2022.
- Expedition equipment: What would an expedition ship be without all the high-tech and adventure gear? On Seabourn Pursuit, this includes a fleet of 24 Zodiacs, two six-person submarines and an underwater camera that will stream footage to the onboard Discovery Center.
- All suites, all with balcony: All 132 suites on board have expansive balconies. Seabourn Pursuit will be only the second ship in the fleet to offer the line’s Grand Wintergarden Suites, which feature two spacious decks, two bedrooms, two bathrooms and two balconies.
- Constellation Lounge: When it’s too cold to be outside on the open decks, cruisers can see all the action from this lounge with its floor to ceiling windows offering 270 degree views.
For the full list of ships debuting in 2023, see Here are the new cruise ships debuting in 2023.
Best things to do in Las Vegas if you’re not a gambler
Known as the gambling capital of the world, the city of Las Vegas is more than just a place to try your luck at winning big. If you’re not a gambler, there are so many other opportunities to indulge your interests. Regardless of whether you’re a nostalgia buff, a music enthusiast, or a foodie, you’ll find something that appeals to your sense of fun.
We have selected hotels, restaurants and activities for 10 different personalities that we hope will inspire your next trip to Las Vegas.
The nostalgia buff
Experience a taste of old school Vegas at the Neon Museum — Photo courtesy of Neon Museum Las Vegas
Book a reservation at Mayfair Supper Club, a continuous dinner show that is set against the backdrop of the Bellagio Fountain, and you’ll soon understand why supper clubs have become as trendy as speakeasies. Speaking of speakeasies, visit the Mob Museum for a glimpse of Sin City’s storied past. Nestled in the basement is a speakeasy, which harks back to the Prohibition era, and you can also take a distillery tour which includes samples of moonshine that is made in-house. Also take a trip to the Neon Museum, which displays iconic Las Vegas signs and gives a view into the history of this colorful city.
Open since 1906, the Golden Gate Hotel & Casino is the oldest hotel in Las Vegas. Located under the lights of the Fremont Street Experience, this hotel is about as retro as you can get. If you’re craving a meal fit for the King, visit Golden Steer Steakhouse, where you can sit in the same red leather banquettes that were occupied by celebrities of yesteryear, including Elvis, Frank Sinatra and Muhammad Ali. Have a drink at Atomic Liquors, which is Las Vegas’ first free-standing bar that welcomed the likes of the Rat Pack, Barbra Streisand and Clint Eastwood.
The culture vulture
Visit the Downtown Container Park for art that’s truly unique — Photo courtesy of Downtown Container Park
What better place to soak up some culture than at the Bellagio, which is inspired by the villages of Europe and overlooks a lake with fountains that perform a choreographed dance every 30 minutes. The resort is also home to the Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art, which presents rotating exhibitions of paintings, sculptures and works on paper. While you’re at the Bellagio, stroll through the Conservatory & Botanical Gardens, which recreates itself every season with themes that showcase nature in all of its glory.
The Downtown Arts District is filled with art galleries, antique shops, restaurants and performance spaces, and its creative energy is abundant. Visit on First Friday, a free monthly celebration of local artists, makers and musicians. Located not too far away, the Downtown Container Park is also worth a visit. You’ll find shops and restaurants that are housed in old shipping containers and enjoy live music on select days. While you’re there, stop at Oak & Ivy for creative craft cocktails and friendly bartenders who will make you feel right at home.
The wellness warrior
ARIA Resort & Casino is an excellent option for the wellness warrior — Photo courtesy of ARIA Resort & Casino
ARIA Resort & Casino’s Stay Well Premier rooms provide guests with an extra layer of protection. Amenities such as a shower infuser that reduces chlorine, air purification, and the use of nontoxic cleaning products are a nice touch. Consider Crossroads Kitchen at Resorts World for your vegan fine dining option, and Tacotarian or VegeNation for more casual vegan options. For fresh and healthy dishes in a casual poolside setting, Overlook Grill at The Cosmopolitan is always a great choice.
Anyone who’s interested in maintaining their physical and mental well-being should immediately book a spa service at Waldorf Astoria. With treatment names like “Karmic Happiness Ritual” and “State of Equilibrium,” you’ll be transported to another realm. When you have returned to reality, you can enjoy views of the Strip as you soak in the hot pool or recline in a heated lounger at Waldorf’s spa. The Waldorf Astoria, Park MGM and The Cosmopolitan all offer poolside yoga, or you can venture to local outdoor recreation spots, such as Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area or Valley of Fire.
The music enthusiast
Life is Beautiful is one of the many music festivals in Las Vegas — Photo courtesy of Life is Beautiful Music & Art Festival
At Planet Hollywood, each room gives off glamorous vibes, and you’ll party like a celebrity at Heart Bar. Legendary musicians such as John Legend, Shania Twain and Pitbull have performed at the Zappos Theater, and you can enjoy your favorite tunes at Extra Lounge, a place where you can be a bit extra while you seek out celebrities. Other hotels with desirable residencies include Resorts World, Virgin Las Vegas and Park MGM, which is also home to On the Record, a secluded music-themed nightclub.
If you’d like to check out the local music scene, head to Brooklyn Bowl at the LINQ, where you can simultaneously bowl and watch a show. SoulBelly BBQ in the Arts District also often hosts local bands, and the Sand Dollar Lounge hosts blues bands at both of its Las Vegas locations. The city is also the home of several music festivals, including Life is Beautiful in mid-September. The Electric Daisy Carnival is held in May every year and is a celebration of electronic music.
The adrenaline junkie
Check an item off your bucket list in this Cirrus SR22 plane — Photo courtesy of All in Aviation
The LINQ Hotel is the place to be if you’re a fan of an adrenaline rush. LINQ is helmed by the High Roller observation wheel, which at 550 feet tall is the largest observation wheel in North America. Or you can fly over 1,000 feet above the ground on Fly LINQ Zipline, which has 10 side-by-side zip lines. Head to The STRAT Hotel & Casino, where you can choose from one of the 1,149-foot SkyPod’s thrill rides – including a roller coaster and Big Shot, which catapults you to a height of 1,081 feet at 45 miles per hour.
While you’re in Las Vegas, you can check an item off your bucket list with All in Aviation, which offers flight lessons and airplane rentals in nearby Henderson. Whether you want to cruise over local destinations like Lake Mead and the Hoover Dam or take a longer trip to the Grand Canyon or Zion National Park, you’ll be able to fly the plane yourself with expert guidance from one of their instructors.
If you’d rather leave it up to the professionals, take a ride with Maverick Helicopters, which lets you enjoy stunning views of the Strip or longer trips to the Grand Canyon.
Sample a variety of cuisines with Finger Licking Foodie Tours — Photo courtesy of Finger Licking Foodie Tours
Whether you’re in the mood for a decadent meal at a classic restaurant or want to try something more cutting edge, Las Vegas has you covered. One of the best ways to explore the food scene here is a self-guided tour with Finger Licking Foodie Tours, which offers a variety of tours all over the city – from the Strip to Chinatown to the Downtown Arts District.
Las Vegas has evolved into a serious dining destination, with many celebrity chefs setting up shop both on and off the Strip. One of the more recent additions is Best Friend, chef Roy Choi’s restaurant that combines his Los Angeles Kogi truck delicacies with a touch of Vegas cool. If you stay at Park MGM, you’ll have access to both Best Friend and Eataly, the illustrious Italian marketplace.
Visit Spago at the Bellagio for fine dining at its best, or Mott 32 at The Venetian, where you can preorder one of their most coveted dishes, the Applewood Roasted 42 Days Peking Duck.
If you’re a techie, you’ll appreciate Resorts World — Photo courtesy of Resorts World Las Vegas
If you identify as a techie, then you must stay at Resorts World, which opened in 2021 and is home to the world’s largest LED globe. Visit the Conrad lobby at Resorts World, and you’ll be greeted by three robotic puppies: Elvis, Sinatra and Stardust. Also check out the Las Vegas Convention Center Loop, home to a fleet of underground Teslas that travel by tunnel between Resorts World and the Las Vegas Convention Center.
In the mood for a cocktail made by a robot? Order one at The Tipsy Robot at the Miracle Mile Shops, and you’ll watch it dance, shake and pour your custom-made concoction.
For the ultimate in immersive art experiences, AREA15 has it all. From the world-famous Omega Mart to the psychedelic Museum Fiasco and the out-of-this-world Illuminarium, you won’t be at a loss for things to do here. At The Cosmopolitan lobby, just try to look away from the digital art, where a curated library is displayed on eight 15-foot digital columns and creates a living narrative that incorporates poetic interpretations of life’s travels.
The social butterfly
Marquee Dayclub at The Cosmopolitan is the perfect spot for social butterflies — Photo courtesy of The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas
There couldn’t be a more fitting choice for a social butterfly than The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, which is a hub of activity both day and night. The three-story crystal-ensconced Chandelier Bar is often the center of it all; a place to see and be seen as you sip your cocktail in style.
Make new friends at The Cosmopolitan’s Marquee Dayclub, one of the most popular pool parties in Las Vegas. For late night bites, visit Superfrico, where you’ll savor food classified as “Italian American Psychedelic.” Located within Superfrico is Ski Lodge, a speakeasy that was inspired by the world’s coziest aprés-ski bars. Or visit one of the city’s many other stylish speakeasies. The Cosmopolitan alone has four – besides Ski Lodge, there’s also Ghost Donkey, Beauty & Essex, and The Barbershop Cuts & Cocktails.
Venture over to Here Kitty Kitty Vice Den at Resorts World, where you’ll find a speakeasy tucked inside the Famous Foods Street Eats food hall. For a more retro vibe, a reservation at The Laundry Room speakeasy is highly coveted and doesn’t disappoint.
The sports nut
Allegiant Stadium is home to the Las Vegas Raiders — Photo courtesy of Allegiant Stadium
Even if you’re not a gambler, you’ll be thrilled by the action at the Caesars Race & Sportsbook at Caesars Palace. Cheer on your favorite team as you’re surrounded by fellow sports fans – the energy is contagious. Beer Park near Paris Hotel & Casino sprawls over a 9,000-square-foot outdoor deck and is host to ESPN’s “SportsCenter.” It evokes the feeling of a classic baseball stadium and invites you to play games like pool, darts and giant Jenga.
The Front Yard Beer Garden at Ellis Island is a great spot for game day tailgating and offers game day specials with viewing parties all year long. Allegiant Stadium is home to the Las Vegas Raiders and the University of Nevada Las Vegas Rebels college football team. This state-of-the-art venue also offers stadium tours, where you can go behind the scenes.
College basketball fans take over Las Vegas during March Madness, where they root on their favorite teams from virtually any place with a TV screen. The T-Mobile Arena often hosts sporting events like UFC, boxing, basketball and hockey with the Vegas Golden Knights.
The solo traveler
Make yourself at home in one of Vdara’s suites — Photo courtesy of MGM Resorts International
Celebrate your decision to travel solo with a stay at the luxurious non-gaming Vdara Hotel & Spa, where you’ll enjoy a suite that is both spacious and secluded. You can even bring your best four-legged friend, as Vdara offers special suites designed for you and your pet. Each of Vdara’s modern suites also includes a kitchenette. If you’re feeling social, head over to Fergusons Downtown, a community collective that is very welcoming.
Dine at Peyote, and you’ll enjoy an array of mouthwatering dishes served amidst a Palm Springs vibe. Don’t Tell Comedy at Fergusons presents monthly comedy shows under the stars, and the Mavericks Show at Cheapshot Showroom is a great spot to make new friends in an inclusive atmosphere, all while enjoying a combination burlesque and variety show.
Craving solitude? Visit the Springs Preserve which is about a 15-minute drive from the Strip. Explore a butterfly habitat, visit the Sustainability Gallery & Nature Exchange and hike across 3.5 miles of trails.
Longer vacations, responsible vacations among Africa travel trends: Travel Weekly
With improved air access to Africa and ever-increasing traveler confidence, Africa is expected to be a hot ticket for US travelers in 2023. This presents incredible opportunities for travel consultants, Africa experts say.
The opportunity lies in the fact that more than ever, travelers to Africa are taking a lead.
“Before Covid, some travelers asked for quotes on pre-determined destinations and camps. They would then compare prices, often choosing the lowest[-priced] Operators,” said Karen Zulauf of Deeper Africa. “They seemed to trust the internet more than anyone with extensive experience in the space. Travelers planning safaris for 2023 appear to be much more open to advice and guidance.”
The knowledgeable specialist safari tour operator will play an important role in advising and assisting travel consultants and their clients in planning the safari itinerary that best suits their expectations, said Holden Safaris’ Jim Holden. He pointed out that with more information and choices when deciding on a safari, the assistance of a safari specialist is essential.
According to Holden, the most common prefix for most customer questions is “when or what is best” and then fill in the blank, be it the best time to go on safari, the best destination to go on safari, the best place to see a leopard etc. “The answer is, rather than relying on hearsay or trying to sort through all the conflicting information on social media, go with a specialist safari tour operator,” he said.
As travelers are more likely to turn to trusted travel advisors for 2023, it’s important to be up to date on the key trends for the year ahead. Here’s what thought leaders in Africa are predicting:
1. Short delivery times: Probably not the news most travel advisors want to hear, but last-minute bookings to Africa will remain rife in 2023, said Cindy Sheedy Walker, a consultant at Extraordinary, a collection of luxury hotels and lodges in southern Africa. Travelers have an urge for spontaneous adventure and discovery, adds Craig Glatthaar, Americas sales manager at Wilderness Safaris. “In a post-pandemic era, the need for adventure in life is a growing trend.”
Onne Vegter, managing director of Wild Wings Safaris, also sees a trend towards last-minute or “spontaneous” trips. This is unfortunate, he said, as availability can be limited many months in advance during peak seasons, particularly in destinations where demand far outstrips supply. Vegter added that no-deposit concessions made during the pandemic have come to an end. Travelers are still reluctant to part with large sums of money well in advance, but suppliers understandably need to insist on a reasonable deposit, typically between 10% and 30%, to reserve the rooms.
Opportunity for travel consultants? Travel advisors can encourage their clients to get out of peak season where they have greater value with new experiences and fewer crowds during shoulder seasons, says Sherwin Banda, president of African Travel.
2. Take responsible travel to a new level: In 2023, responsible travel in Africa will reach a whole new level, according to safari specialists. Sandra Devoti, general manager at Giltedge, says meaningful travel is a big trend for 2023 as travelers want to “give back” and have a meaningful vacation.
Travelers are turning to Africa because it offers sustainable travel with numerous opportunities to give back in a meaningful way, Banda agreed. “Given the severe impact of the global pandemic and the importance of wildlife conservation, there has never been a greater focus on sustainable travel in Africa,” he said. “Customers across the continent are looking for up-and-coming destinations and more remote destinations. They crave life-changing experiences.”
People are traveling much more consciously, said Lindy Rousseau, chief strategist at Singita. They are interested in authentic sustainability credentials and engage with issues such as solar energy, food waste, plastic use, water conservation, ethical food sourcing, sustainable building materials and local employment.
Opportunity for travel consultants? Direct travelers to responsible companies that not only pay lip service to sustainability and conservation, but companies that have a proven track record, said James Currie, North American sales and new development manager at Great Plains.
3. Linger longer: According to Robert More, CEO of More Family Collection, people can and will linger longer in 2023 as they have more flexibility with virtual work options.
Index Hotels CEO Craig Seaman agreed, saying we will see more individual travelers. But contrary to what is seen in Europe where it will be the more mature market, in Africa we will see a younger profile (under 35). “This is being driven by the ‘work-from-anywhere’ phenomenon that will allow this generation to enjoy longer stays,” he said.
Travelers are asking for longer stays at safari lodges to enjoy the full safari experience and the many additional activities now offered by many safari lodges, such as learning about the importance of conservation, Holden noted.
Opportunity for travel consultants? Expand the safari experience by incorporating many activities previously considered “back home” that are an integral part of a safari lodge’s existence, such as protecting wildlife and the environment, Holden said.
Seaman adds that it is important for travel consultants to be realistic and aware that Africa is a large and developing continent and not all areas are easily accessible. “It often takes a lot longer to travel from A to B than Google Maps says, so it’s better to choose a ‘base’ hotel/luxury villa from which your guest can explore, rather than doing this every day or two to change hotels,” he said.
4. Group travel of any kind: While solo travel is a key trend for 2023, so are multi-generational travel and group travel. As Zulauf of Deeper Africa pointed out: “Before Covid, the trend was to personalize travel, but now people want to travel with others who matter to them.”
“We see friends traveling together – men, women and couples traveling together – to create memories. These groups often have a common interest, be it sport, food, fauna or flora, but what they are looking for most are unforgettable experiences,” said Seemann.
The result, according to Index Hotels’ Seaman, is an increasing demand for luxury serviced private residences.
“Groups traveling together want the luxury of a hotel but the freedom of homestay, where they can set their own schedule but still not have to worry about cleaning and cooking,” he said.
Opportunity for travel consultants? Banda noted that customers want enhanced experiences and are interested in a la carte options that cater to the diverse desires of their group, so there is something for everyone. Travel Agents who have a group of more than 10 clients traveling together may book a new group.
Travel agents should look for multi-room villas to accommodate group travel. Both Tswalu and Natural Selection have previously announced that they will be incorporating multi-room villas into their new camps, which will launch next summer.
5. A holistic experience: “We’ve entered a new travel landscape and not just a travel bubble,” Seaman said. He said travel has become part of people’s well-being and wellness journey since the pandemic subsided.
Wilderness Safaris’ Smoothhair agreed with Seaman, saying that as travelers look to the future, self-development will be a critically important element of the travel experience. “Events surrounding the pandemic have highlighted the issues of self-care, mental resilience and other introspective exercises. People will look at travel as a way to invest in themselves.”
Opportunity for travel consultants? After the uncertainty of the pandemic era, travelers want to travel with peace of mind. Hence a consistent, reliable delivery of the travel experience, with health and safety in mind from start to finish, said Glatthaar.
Singita Rousseau’s travel consultants must provide guests with a seamless and easy booking experience. “Make sure guests feel cared for. Take the time to connect the right guests with the right product,” she said.
Berlin, Germany Destination Guide – Hotels Above Par
Berlin has a reputation for being “poor but sexy” – but its shopping, nightlife, restaurant and hotel scenes strive to ensure you never compromise on the value of taste, quite literally.
Combining aesthetic nods to 1920s Paris with Berlin’s modern hedonism, the most flirty hotel on the Berlin scene is ready to have as much fun as you on this trip. The Provocateur Hotel is the kind of hotel that’s unabashedly red velvet and dark dining rooms, which seems just right after years of Scandinavian minimalism.
One of those hotels where residents and tourists really mingle at the bar, there’s usually an interesting crowd at the Michelberger Hotel, making it perfect for solo travelers looking to socialize, business travelers looking for coworking company, or groups of Friends who wish to stay up all night (or day) at the nearby clubs. It’s within walking distance of artsy Kreuzberg and brunch-and-boutique hotspot Boxhagener Platz, and the on-site restaurant is excellent, too.
This Michelin-starred restaurant in trendy Neukölln joyfully blurs the lines between dinner and dessert, thanks to the talent of chef René Frank and the rest of his team. It’s an unexpected break with much of the fine dining scene, thanks to the way Frank, a former pastry chef, uses this approach to meet, enhance and explode savory flavors on the plate. Two seating arrangements per evening (each with a different number of courses) require a reservation.
A Franco-Australian dream team runs this utterly delightful brunch spot in leafy Prenzlauer Berg, home to the massive Mauerpark flea market (which is where you go after you’ve eaten an Eggs Benedict, which people love to queue for). You can enjoy a meal that lasts for hours if you wish: the menu is heavy on fizzy and rosé, and the staff has easy judgment, which is exactly how a perfect brunch restaurant should be. Check the wonderfully loud Facebook page for special events – oyster and rosé nights are known to take place in the summer.
Head here for a drink before your CODA reservation, or take a trip to Berlin’s southern neighborhood — full of galleries, excellent bars, and other after-hours fun — for this cocktail bar. It’s run by some of Berlin’s most talented mixologists, who develop seasonal menus that often focus on handpicked ingredients and condiments from around the city, but no pressure if nothing speaks to you: the friendly staff are also happy to whip up a classic concoction or a creative libation with a few tips to keep you going.
The classic night at Berlin’s Berghain techno club is on most tourists’ checklists and needs no explanation—though the adventure ends before you actually make it through the doors. While a lot of effort has gone into deciphering a guaranteed outfit or aura that will see you past the bouncer, the general advice is extremely Berliner: wear black and chill.
Kurfürstendamm and Friedrichstrasse might be the places to find designer designer names, but if you want to head to some independent shops instead, Kastanienallee is the place to be. Begin (or end, or both) your stroll down the street at the Pratergarten, Berlin’s oldest beer garden, located near the end of Eberswalderstrasse. Kauf Dich Glück is a medium-priced shop for clothes and flagship offers ethical fashion – and there is even more to discover in the side streets of the avenue. In a blast from the past/true Berlin spirit, there is also a DVD shop.
Kreuzberg’s most famous market hall hosts a big party once a week celebrating the local gastronomy, Street Food Thursdays, where you can go from vendor to vendor with friends and taste their wares. (Arrive early to secure a spot!). It’s family-friendly, but there are also some great wine suppliers here, adding a bit of a party vibe to the evening – our advice is to buy a bottle or two, then send friends off to collect missions from the talented chefs. It’s great too Not Thursdays to take home local specialties (and to buy quality local ingredients for cooking if you choose the apartment route for accommodation).
This design-led concept store features both big names and those who call Berliners home, whether you’re looking for an all-black outfit for Berghain, utility trousers from GmbH, Jacquemus knitwear or minimalist jackets from Acne Studios.
If fashion with the capital F isn’t quite your thing, head to Manufactum in Charlottenburg for a huge selection of homewares for gifting or keeping that combine timeless design with good old-fashioned German quality and a few foreign finds. Here you can take home wooden toys for your children, Japanese gardening gloves, nice stationery, chunky sweaters and a bottle of German whiskey (yes, really) – and think of your trip every time you use them.
This former Nazi airport has seen a lot of drama and history in its lifetime – and now it’s a huge park, playground, kitesurf track, barbecue area and basically a backyard for Berliners. In fact, it’s the world’s largest open inner-city square, and this is where you’ll find everyone (really everyone) hanging out on a sunny summer’s day. There’s a circus school, a beer garden and a six-kilometre track (the former runways) where you can walk, run or kitesurf, and the charming cafes of the Schillerkiez are a short stroll away if you need a break .
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