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Many readers will know of the Axel hotel brand, self-described as ‘hetero-friendly’, this is a hotel brand designed for gay men. For those who haven’t stayed at one, this is Vada Magazine’s guide of what to expect from Axel Hotel Berlin.
Axel Hotel Berlin
Axel is a growing adult-only brand with hotels in Barcelona, Madrid, Ibiza, Gran Canaria, San Sebastian, Miami, Cuba, and Berlin. Its known for its ‘please disturb’ cards to hang on your room door (as well as the usual ‘do not disturb’ and ‘please clean’).
Located in Schöneberg, the heart of the gay scene in the city, Axel Hotel Berlin is well located for access to LGBT bars, shopping at department store KDW and others.
Inside, there is a dark theme throughout rooms and common areas including corridors, with plenty of mirrors and a mix of gold finishings. This makes for a mysterious and arousing space to explore.
Axel Hotel Berlin offers a range of single, double, and superior rooms, as well as suite options. We stayed in a superior room (number 214) on our stay, which has a king-size bed and views of Lietzenburger street, from the floor-to-ceiling window. The room has an open wardrobe with a handful of hangers and a couple of drawers underneath. The bed was comfy, and the air-conditioning worked well. The main thing to expect is the open bathroom area with wall to the shower in translucent red. This adds a very sensual feel from the moment guests walk in. It also means that those in the bedroom or walking into the room can glimpse anyone showering – don’t worry the toilet does have a fully-closable door for privacy. There are various lights for the shower, bathroom, and bedroom area, so it is easy to set mood lighting at the level you want.
Despite this being a mid-range hotel, we were surprised not to find any condoms or lube in the room (as a gay hotel), or even a coffee machine. However there is a fully-stocked mini-bar.
Rooms are split across 6 floors, each with a similar layout, where guests turn left out lift and walk down a dark corridor with mirrors with doors to rooms either side. Guests may want to do a length of the corridor to spot any of those ‘please disturb’ signs. Though on our visit at the end of August, despite our floor having a high occupancy, we didn’t spot any of these signs out.
Axel Hotel Berlin has a connecting restaurant on the ground floor, off the reception, which on our visit was open for breakfast only. Breakfast was buffet style with a range of hot and cold options.
All other amenities are on the 6th floor. The hotel offers in-house massages at reasonable prices. There are QR codes dotted around the hotel (including in rooms) where guests can choose a treatment and book directly. During our (54€) 50-minute massage André really worked out the knots in our shoulders and upper back.
The wellness area runs the length of the 6th floor. At one end is the gym area, then showers, some loungers, a sauna and steam rooms, and at the far end an outdoor hot tub. Whether working out in the gym, lounging or in the hot tub, it is easy to purvey the length of the wellness area to see who is coming and going, and to be seen. Upstairs from the wellness area there is a roof terrace with plenty of tables to sit down, socialise and some outdoor showers at the far end – presumably these get more use during the summer.
What really goes on
So the above has outlined what Axel Hotel Berlin has to offer, what can guests actually expect from a hotel designed for gay men? The answer to ‘does [insert activity] happen?’ the answer is yes.
As we mentioned, on our visit we didn’t spot many ‘please disturb’ signs, which effectively offer a surprise behind the door. Though we can confirm it is commonplace to connect with a lot of the guests on gay dating apps (Grindr etc.) to match virtually and then agree to meet in rooms.
The wellness area is a clothing-very-optional cruising area. Most guys walk around naked, some wrapped in towels, entirely to be able to check out each other in the buff. In the sauna, steam room, and hot tub when chatting with guys we found everyone respectful of boundaries with most looking for fun. This is an ideal place for those who like to watch or to be seen. Head back to your room for more privacy. We saw guys of all body shapes, sizes and ages – all accepted by everyone. This is a not a space that is judgmental about body image. Leave any attitude at the door, chat, make friends and see what fun may follow.
The gym has enough equipment to get in a decent pump, but this workout space’s main purpose is to be seen in your skimpiest gym clothes. At peak time, there are bulges and muscles on display and in very close proximity to you.
The wellness floor is open from 9 a.m. until about 1 a.m., and is most popular in the mornings and evenings. So if you want to visit on a quieter time to get a feel for the space, we suggest early afternoon.
Entering a gay hotel for the first time can feel slightly daunting but we found Axel Hotel Berlin to be friendly and welcoming for a solo traveler. We appreciated the dark and alluring aesthetic throughout. The wellness area layout (having all amenities in one place), makes for an easy place to head to hang out, meet guys, chat and more. Check-in and check-out were efficient, and overall we found the hotel a safe space.
The proximity to gay bars such as Prinzknecht, is an added benefit. We do recommend visitors spend some time exploring the gay district of Schöneberg and Berlin more widely.
Axel Hotel Berlin is located at Lietzenburger Str. 13 / 15, 10789 Berlin, Germany.
For more information or to book directly, visit axelhotels.com