Recently, Henrieke and me (and Kiki) were in Berlin to see a concert and to meet friends. Since we were curious about the Estrel, Eurofurence’s next location, we stayed there one night to see what it’s like. In case anyone finds it interesting, I’ll write about our experiences, especially comparing the hotel to the Maritim. Keep in mind that everything is based on a one-night-stay and will also contain personal opinions that others might not share! This should not be a deciding factor for going to Eurofurence. You should go anyway as it’ll be amazing!
We went to the hotel by taking the S-Bahn train, the hotel is about a 10-minute walk from the station “Sonnenallee”. Just down the street is a small area with a McDonald’s and an Aldi discount supermarket (about 5 minutes walking). The surroundings are suburbs/industrial area and from the first impression, not a place to run around in suit. Around the train station it might be more lively though.
The first thing you’ll see when walking into the massive block of glass and concrete is the very spacious lobby, filled with bars, couches and restaurants. Most of the space is occupied by chairs and tables that belong to the various bars and restaurants. During daytime it’s flooded with light thanks to big windows and a glass roof, at night there is nice ambient lighting and during our stay, lights strings were in the big fake trees that are standing throughout the lobby. This might only be the christmas decoration though.
On the first floor is the breakfast buffet area which provides a great overview of the lobby and is very spacious. It will probably be very crowded during the con, considering breakfast is included at EF.
+ very spacious
+ lots of seating available
+ ATM directly in the lobby
+ very bright thanks to the big glass roof
The Mini Markt
In the lobby, a small supermarket is located that sells essential toiletries, drinks, ice cream, sweets and souvenirs.
The convention space
We explored the convention center a bit, but (as expected) couldn’t see too much of the rooms, especially not of the big event hall. The convention center is in a separate building (which also has another wing of rooms attached) and is easy to reach.
The standard rooms are a decent size for European standards, though a little smaller and less comfortable looking (in my opinion) than the Maritim rooms. There is less storage space, but enough space to hang a few suits. The bathroom is very similar to the ones we had in the Maritim, though our shower was very much broken and the temperature varied between mildly warm to burning hot during showering. Noteworthy are the beds: The Maritim had very bouncy mattresses, which were fun to flop onto but less nice for sleeping if you had a sensitive back. While to me it matters less, both Henrieke and me preferred the harder matresses at the Estrel.
Our room was located in the 13th floor, giving us a nice view over a less nice part of Berlin.
+ Nice view from the higher floors
+ Good mattresses and cushions
– You can’t open windows in any of the rooms, which doesn’t really help my allergy (they can be tilted though)
– There is not a lot of storage space available
– Shower water is almost boiling at times
– THERE IS NO POOL
There is a small Sauna/Wellness area. But seriously, a Sauna without a nice pool to cool down? The fitness area is a small room with some treadmills, steppers and other things.
The restaurants and bars
The hotel houses 4 restaurants, a cake/ice cream store and 3 bars. Meals range from 12-30â‚¬ in the various restaurants, which are:
- Sancoucci: A French-themed restaurant, meals ranging from 20-27â‚¬
- Portofino: An Italian restaurant, meals ranging from 20-30â‚¬, Pizza 9-14â‚¬
- Sun-Thai: An Asian restaurant, meals ranging from 13-19â‚¬
- Estrel-Stube: A German restaurant, meals ranging from 10-18â‚¬
While not exactly cheap, the prices in the restaurants are doable and definitely an option for dining during the convention, especially considering that there are not many dining options around the hotel compared to the Maritim. All restaurants are directly connected to the lobby and have part of their tables in the lobby. Perfect for socializing I’d say!
It’s a decent hotel and will be a great place for Eurofurence. The lobby is a great central place for socializing, suiting, dining and so on. In terms of perceived comfort, the Maritim wins thanks to bigger rooms, more storage space, nicer room design and the ever-amazing gallery that enabled me to look down on the whole convention at any time. However the difference is not too big and the quality of the rooms is not what makes a great convention. The Estrel has many features the Maritim did not offer which will make EF20 a different, but amazing experience!
I hope this report was interesting to read for you and made you even more excited about next Eurofurence!