Volksboutique Microresidence

Some friends in Berlin passed on an ad they’d seen for a rental apartment in Prenzlauerberg — a part of town that intrigued us and we’d liked before in November 2005, when we stayed near Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz. The landlady was helpful and informative via email as we were finalizing our plans, and we were pretty worn out when we arrived in Berlin, so we were thankful that her directions from Tegel Airport to the apartment were spot-on.

The first impression the apartment makes is a good one — just like the pictures she’d sent us via email upon our request. But that’s about where the satisfaction stopped.

We saw short and curlies in the tub greeting us upon our arrival (so they couldn’t have been ours…). The WLAN connection was extremely weak — so unreliable that it really shouldn’t be counted as an amenity. The bed — something typical from IKEA — would have been fine, had it had a normal mattress. I suspect it was Jaren. This was the hardest surface I have ever paid to sleep on.

Speaking of paying — when you book accommodations somewhere, do you expect to pay by day or by night? The Volksboutique Microresidence charged us by the day:

  1. arrival late Thursday night (as planned and communicated well in advance)
  2. Friday
  3. Saturday
  4. check out Sunday

…at 40€ per day, not per night, that meant 160€. Well, the price was still pretty good (by normal accouting it would work out to 53€ per night for Thursday night to Sunday morning), so we didn’t complain about that part.

When I found the door to the “tea kitchen” padlocked shut though, I managed to send her an email inquiring and the response was

I’m sorry for the misunderstanding…and that I forgot that was still listed in the Berlin Scholars posting. A small kitchenette is planned, but we’ve had so many guests that I haven’t been able to install it! I had been making interested parties aware of this fact, but in reviewing our correspondence, I realize I forgot to address it with you both. My apologies. I hope your stay is enjoyable all the same.

A place to eat donuts or something and have coffee in morning and — especially during the heat wave they’d been having in Northern Germany at the time — keep some cool bottled water at the ready was a big part of the reason we opted for a vacation apartment instead of a hotel stay.

Unfortunately, that’s not all that was wrong. The tub didn’t drain properly, so soap and shampoo scum (and aforementioned hairs) always await the next user. The bathroom had some bare wiring in place of a lamp over the mirror.

The price would have been great had it not been for all the the above points. The area is trendy and there is good access via the M2 tram line.

But I will be looking elsewhere for our next Berlin trip.

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