Affordable Luxury

Berlin’s Best Hotel Deal Is Behind a Billboard

Some billboards advertise hotels. In Berlin, there is a billboard that IS a hotel.

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The Sweet Smell of Magic (Soap)

For staying clean on a roughing-it trip there’s no better friend than magic soap.

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Moscow On Ice

New to Moscow’s Krasnaya Presnya park: the world’s first ice sculpture gallery. This might also be the world’s coldest museum—the frozen exhibits here are kept at -10C (14F).

Visitors to the gallery are given special coat to wear that looks like a cross between an Eskimo’s parka and an alien costume from a low budget horror movie (see photos after the jump). The coats are partially to keep you warm (and looking ridiculous) but also to keep your body temperature from melting the displays. Even with the coats, to keep the temperature constant only ten visitors are allowed in the gallery at a time. The ice displays are open year round, making the ice sculptures in Krasnaya Presnya park a good place to cool off in the summer . . . or warm up in the Moscow winter. Entrance is 350 rubles (about $14, €9).

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Milk and Cookies Bakery

Seriously, this place specializes in milk and cookies. It’s no $100 per entrée hot spot playing “the irony angle,” it’s a café that has found a niche in a city where it seemed that all of the niches had been taken ten times over. Of course, no one pulls off this kind of coupe with store-bought Oreos. This place makes their own type of Oreo with chewy Valrhona chocolate and a homemade cream filling. Coolest of all, this bakery also lets customers create their own cookies — you select from their myriad of ingredient possibilities and they’ll bake up your creation in 20 minutes ($19/dozen). No wonder this place is a favorite for the West Village’s young at heart . . . and their inner-children.

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Zippo Hand Warmer

handzip Zippo Hand WarmerAutumn is upon the northern parts of the northern hemisphere and we’re stocking up on our cold weather gear. First up, the new hard warmer from Zippo. Unlike the company’s famous lighters, this Zippo produces no flame. Instead, the radiant heat comes from a smoldering of lighter fluid within an ultra-thin platinum-catalyzed burner. A mere 4 ounces of lighter fluid can produce heat for 24 hours, virtually pollution free.

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Arte Luise Kunsthotel

Your average high design hotel starts out as sterile property before having an artistic aspect added to it. Berlin’s Arte Luise Kunsthotel began as an artistic compound before having a hotel added it.

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