Many visiting Berlin opt to stay in the city center, amidst the more famous tourist sites, perhaps within walking distance of the Brandenburg Gate or near the chaos surrounding Checkpoint Charlie. A unique approach to Germany’s capital city is to stay in a residential neighborhood, such as Kreuzberg, a historically Turkish district and now an increasingly trendy area. Schokofabrik, a guesthouse located on Schinkestraße, is a hybrid of an inexpensive hostel and a hotel.
Schokofabrik is hidden from the main street view, tucked behind another unassuming building. The red brick building, partially covered in climbing ivy, is a former chocolate factory, now repurposed as a guesthouse, an architect’s office, a children’s puppet theatre, and private residences. The large building has a charming courtyard, with an elaborate spiral staircase.
Owner Angela de Ridder greets visitors to her guesthouse and describes in detail the features of the space as well as guidelines that must be followed, i.e. if you use the communal kitchen, it must be cleaned up immediately; and, follow the numerous posted notes explicitly. Ms. de Ridder keeps a low profile and may not be seen the remainder of one’s stay. So when it comes to paying for your lodging, guests leave the fee in exact cash in an envelope on the bed side table.
Schokofabrik is located on the second floor of the former factory, with eclectic furnishings and decorations. Several private rooms are available, each with a television, radio, and phone. Free WiFi is available throughout the guesthouse. Fax and printer services are also available, but for a fee. There are three hall baths, each with a WC and a shower. One bath also offers a large soaking tub as well as a washer and dryer. A large dining room always has complimentary bottles of water and guests have free use of the kitchen.
The neighborhood immediately surrounding Schokofabrik has much to offer. A few doors down from the guesthouse is Café Bar Kreuzköllen, a neighborhood restaurant offering fresh fish and various Turkish specialties, including an elaborate breakfast most mornings. The Turkish market, open Tuesdays and Fridays, is found on Maybachufer, just a few minutes walk from the guesthouse. Also located along Maybachufer are several inexpensive Turkish fast food restaurants, offering döner kebabs and gözleme, a flat bread with savory fillings. Nearby Kottbusser Damm is a major thoroughfare with bars, cafes, grocery stores and retail shops. Continue on the thoroughfare across the canal and you will discover the popular Orarienstraße and Adalbertstraße for even more dining and shopping options.
The easiest way to locate Schokofabrik is by taking the U-Bahn’s line 8 to Schönleinstraße. Leave the station via the Schinkestraße exit and take a left onto the street. Schokofabrik is a block and a half from the U-Bahn, on the right side of the street tucked behind a white building. Schokofabrik, Schinkestraße 8-9.
Single rooms are available for 35 euros, doubles for 45 euros. Luggage can be dropped off at the guesthouse as early as 7:00 a.m. the day of check-in. Check-in is any time after 2:00 p.m while check-out is any time before 10:00 a.m.
Written by Morgen Young for EuropeUpClose.com