The London Review of Breakfasts

"Hope is a good breakfast, but it is a bad supper." (Francis Bacon)

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Special Dispatch: Nhow Hotel, Berlin

Nhow Hotel
Stralauer Allee 3
10245 Berlin, Germany
030 2902990

by Sebastian Forks

"People project meaning onto objects. If an object allows you to interact with it, then it becomes part of your being." Karim Rashid

Check in to the world of music. Nhow elevate your stay. Since our arrival late yesterday afternoon, I have taken the strap line for Nhow Berlin - Germany’s brand new design hotel, Europe’s first music concept hotel - at face value. I check in. I listen. I elevate my stay.

Last night I cheated. I got high with my group - partly on the hotel lobby’s techno music, and mostly on Daiquiri, which is a shorter, more chastening version of Mojito. There’s no excuse. It’s made of limes, ice, sugar and mainly white rum, and the rum is easy to taste. Taken before, during or after dinner, it seems to go with everything, is best consumed on pink stools, and gently draws its victim into a place made entirely of words, most of them regrettable.

Now it’s the morning. It is 8 o’clock. I have just woken up. The effects of the Daiquiri are still with me. I can’t wait for breakfast. I am on the hotel’s 1st floor, overlooking a river filled with chunks of ice. My room is enormous. It is designed by Karim Rashid, who works out of New York. I stand in the middle of the room. The floor is made of a special acrylic material, the furniture a mix of futuristic moulds. I especially like the sofa, which looks like the bottom of someone’s mouth. I like to lie on it. A giant flat television sits encased in the room’s dividing wall. Undulating lines of pink cross the floor, and go up the curtains. The bathroom is encased in glass. I feel like I am being dressed by someone who knows a lot about certain types of clothes. It is nice to be made to feel this way.

I sit down on my bed to read up on Karim’s design. It is, says the hotel’s brochure, ‘music for the eyes...a sojourn into a new dimension...’ I’m not sure what this means. Then it says, ‘words...cannot do justice to something that needs to be experienced first-hand – because great design begins at the point where language has reached its limit.’ I put down the brochure. I have reached the limits of hunger. And time is speeding up. I mustn’t be late - I am due to tour the hotel at 9 sharp. I reconnect with my brain’s residual pools of Daiquiri and take a quick shower. I hum and whistle as I dress.

In the lift, I am still humming. I am imagining breakfast. I wonder what music will be played as I eat. I would like some more of the techno. Then I look up and see a colour saturated photograph of Karim. He is in a giant light box. He is on the whole of the ceiling. He stares down at me. He is wearing a white t-shirt, a pair of glasses, and he hasn’t shaved for a couple of days. A woman – a beautiful woman – with half-closed eyes looks up at him. Her mouth is open. She looks like she is going to take a bite out of his cheek. Karim’s mouth is also slightly open. He is looking directly at me. Why is Karim looking at me like that? He is making me feel light headed. I am losing the ability to think. Stop it, Karim.

I enter the breakfast room by way of the lobby, scene of last night’s scene. One final kick from the Daiquiri and I find myself at the foot of a pink plastic lectern. I think I hear music playing. A waiter greets me with a smile. ‘Room number, sir?’ Room number? What is he talking about? I look behind him, into the room. Two huge pink plastic semi-circular breakfast units split the room. Super-white plates lie in piles beneath shelves full of neat little packages of food. Cutlery glints in the winter sun. On either side, white tables – as white as Karim’s t-shirt – line up in perfect inorganic rows. Light pours in from the river.

This morning breakfast is a range of cereals, international right through to locally sourced oats; it is all kinds of bread, and muffins; it is all kinds of eggs - old school, new school, your way; it is smoked salmon in lemon and dill, sausage, cold meats, paper-thin side-plates of prosciutto crudo; it is coffee, tea, juice. I go for the coffee, and a bowl of muesli. I sit down with my group. I see that they’ve had the lot, and toast and butter and small pots of jam compote. I eat my muesli. It is chewy and sweet, and filled with nuts and seeds. I think there’s some coconut in it too. I drink the coffee. It is bitter, and tastes very good indeed. I wonder what it is.

My group leaves. I stare out at the river, which is beginning to look pink. I feel like Karim is right here, next to me, enjoying a quick mint tea, eggs Benedict, French toast and maple syrup. I can’t speak. I am beyond humming. I am completely elevating.


Blogger lawyerpronto said...

The daiquiri and futuristic furniture sounds like a heady mix and I'm sure Karim intended it that way..... I never understood cold meat for breakfast when I've been to euro-friendly resort hotels but perhaps in this psychedelic labyrinth I might be tempted to try. Great review.

6:38 AM, February 07, 2011  
Blogger natasha said...

A great insight into the sensory world of Sebastian Forks as he interacts with Karim via Nhow Hotel. Really funny.

9:37 AM, February 10, 2011  
Blogger The downshifter said...

A great review; I'm going to check it out and "elevate my stay" next time I go to Berlin. Not entirely sure about sitting in the bottom of someone's mouth though - especially after a few daiquiris.

3:36 PM, February 16, 2011  

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