ISSUE 29  |  Urban Escape

Into the Wild: An Urban Campground in Berlin

July 24, 2014 5:00 PM

BY Meredith Swinehart

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In Berlin’s artsy Neuköllna neighborhood, an über-cute hostel awaits the adventuresome.

Huettenpalast owners Silke Lorenzen and Sarah Vollmer set out to create a business where they could fully exercise their passions for design, art, cooking, and socializing. They found a home base in a former vacuum cleaner factory and soon started dreaming of rooms within rooms.

Huettenpalast now welcomes visitors to its six creatively refurbished campers and cabins nestled closely together in an indoor campground, replete with birch trees, picnic tables, and lanterns. Bedrooms are private but bathrooms are shared. Lorenzen and Vollmer host what they describe as “wild mix in generations and nationalities,” and the two often join guests in the evenings over a bottle of wine. If privacy is a priority for you, Huettenpalast also offers six hotel rooms that the owners say are “really quiet.” To book, visit Huettenpalast.

Photography by Jan Brockhaus.

Above: The Kischwester (or “Little Sister”), a 1970’s Mercurial Junior that came from East Germany. The yellow lightbox atop the camper supplies a starry night sky (pictured below).

Above: The interior of the Kischwester was designed by Yoraco Gonzalez, who lined it with handmade wooden bricks. Kischwester’s nighttime sky is strewn with flowers, seahorses, and musical notes amid the stars.

Above: Huettenpalast’s vegetarian cafe is open to guests and nonguests alike for breakfast, lunch, and afternoon tea; dinner service is in the works.

Above: The cafe bar is built from discarded glass blocks that Lorenzen and Vollmer found in the building.

Above: The cabins and caravans are all close neighbors. From left, the Alterpalast, Kischwester, Berghuette (“Mountain Cabin”), and Talhuette (“Valley Cabin”).

Above: The Schwalbennest caravan (or “Swallow’s Nest”), built in the 1960s, is the only West German camper of the bunch.

Above: The Heartbreaker needs no translation.

Above: Each unit features its own “patio” lounge area.

Above: Once a storage space for factory refuse, the garden makes good use of reclaimed bathtubs and old furniture.

Berlin seems to lead the pack in novelty overnight digs: See The Urban Rental: Berlin’s Most Aquatic Accommodation. Go to our City Guide to see more of our Berlin discoveries, including A Hotel Built from Salvaged Materials and, on Gardenista, A Moveable Feast: Berlin’s Portable Garden.

N.B.: This post is an update; the original story ran on April 30, 2012, as part of our Beyond Bauhaus week.