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Review 4445: Owner, Jade's Place
1bed/1bath apartment outside Berlin, Germany
October 2009, 5 nights
Jade's Place is in an apartment block in Yorckstrasse in Kreuzberg, which is described as an up and coming suburb, being gentrified after post-war neglect. Jade's Place is not far from the Mehringdamm U-bahn station and a bus stops just down the block and travels towards Kurfurstendamm. The apartment is towards the seedier end of Yorckstrasse and the gloomy cold and wet weather we experienced in Berlin didn't help us to enjoy the betters aspects of this suburb.
We caught two buses from Tegal airport to the apartment. There are several restaurants in another part of Kreuzberg, which we didn't get to because it was cold and wet at night and my children did not feel safe in this location. There is a small grocery store at the corner of Yorckstrasse and Grossbeerenstrasse. It is a small Kaiser store suited to singles/couples and not easy to get sufficient ingredients to make a full dinner every night. Also it is not open at all on a Sunday. Across the street from the grocery store is a popular bakery. The shopfront of the apartment building seemed to be an Internet cafe that was never open and a car parts store - as mentioned not very upmarket.
The entrance door is on Yorckstrasse with gracious steep stairs to the first floor where Jade's Place is located. There seemed to be two apartments on each floor. No lift. Jade's Place has four rooms off a short hall; kitchen, lounge/dining, bedroom, small bathroom and an additional narrow sleeping/reading room. The bathroom has a shower above a bath and toilet. Wood floors with rugs. High ceilings. Eclectic range of furniture. Bay window adjacent to the dining table. The apartment was very quiet, although Yorckstrasse is a busy thoroughfare so may be noisy in summer months with the windows open.
There is a small utilities room off the bedroom, which housed a washing machine, ladder, fuel etc. Unfortunately this space seems to share water pipes from upstairs so there was often the sounds of running or dripping water from this space.
There is no garden or balcony.
The apartment was as displayed on the website. It is large and roomy with high ceilings. The apartment was clean and there was sufficient furnishings. It was comfortable.
There is a futon-style double bed in the bedroom and extra guests sleep in the additional room off the lounge room. Mattresses on the floor of this room is the only other sleeping option, which is fine for kids but may be unwelcome for adults. There was plenty of linen, pillows and doonas (aka blankets) provided to make up these beds.
The kitchen was a good size with a small two seat breakfast table, bar fridge, full oven and cook-top. There was plenty of crockery, cutlery and cooking utensils. The lighting was not great and one usually needed to use a couple of reading lamps that are positioned above the cook-top and sink. We took our food into the lounge/dining room to eat in the bay window.
Problems or Bonuses
Keith the owner was easy to deal with, sending us directions, including which buses to catch to reach the apartment. He met us at the apartment and showed us through the place, making sure we knew how everything worked ... including how to clean the toilet bowl. There were ex-pat magazines with a local suburb map and reviews of local restaurants. Keith made sure we knew where to catch the subway. He left his number if we needed him. There was a phone in the apartment. There was no hassle in getting the bond returned. There was free WiFi, books to read (including my own contribution), backpack and umbrella.
Two problems. Getting a hot shower needed a few special tricks, but getting hot water in the kitchen was a trick I never learned. Clean dishes need hot water, dish washing liquid and a dishcloth - all lacking in the kitchen. The dishcloth looked like it was growing culture. Which may be why some of the crockery and the cutlery were greasy on our arrival. I bought more dish washing liquid and a dish cloth and boiled the kettle every time I washed the dishes.
The other problem was the washing machine. Berlin was the only place we were renting an apartment so planned on giving our clothes a decent clean ready for the next leg of our European trip. The washing machine leaked, so could only be used while in the apartment. It took more than two hours to do a basic cycle. The dryer didn't work so I had to dry on a rack. It took days to get dry in the wet cold weather. This was frustrating.
Agency and Representatives (and price)
Keith the owner was great, very helpful and easy to deal with. An ex-Yank, Keith speaks English and German. He rents two apartments in Kreuzberg and can be found at www.dorothys.de. Jade's Place cost €375 plus deposit for five nights for three people. It was not the cheapest I found in Berlin but the apartment sounded positive as did Keith. The apartment is not listed on that site but there is a link in the Vacancies section to a page with pictures. The pictures are accurate.
Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?
Would I stay here again? Maybe. A working washer/dryer and hotter water in the kitchen would have made this stay perfect. I was sick while in Berlin and needed to spend half a day in bed and the size of the apartment allowed me to sleep undisturbed while the kids watched TV and played games in the lounge room. There didn't seem to be central heating so not sure how easy it would be to heat in winter.
Things to do in this area
We found a terrific and cheap pizza shop a block away. It is in a very small shopfront and can make to order as you wait. It was popular on a damp Sunday evening.
There is a restaurant strip within walking distance but wet cold nights kept us away. Kreuzberg is reasonably close to the city centre and the U-bahn heads directly to the city centre, with the Judisches Museum and Checkpoint Charlie on this line. The Deutsches Technikmuseum is within walking distance - even in wet weather. Viktoriapark is a few blocks away, as is the Alter Sankt Matthaeus Kirchhof where the Grimm brothers are buried. On our walk to to Sankt Matthaeus, we discovered an older kids' playground in Katzlerstrasse.
Further along Yorckstrasse is Riehmers Hofgarten, a lovely Renaissance-style residential complex built in the 1880s. We discovered it by accident on an afternoon when the rain held off. Better weather would have prompted more exploration of this suburb.
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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