Lured by a cheap rate I saw on Booking.com, I spent 3 nights at the Scandic Hotel Potsdamer Platz. It's a large and perfectly fine if rather impersonal hotel and they serve a massive breakfast buffet (not included in room price). My problem was with the location. Although it's literally next door to the Mendelssohn-Bartholdy Park subway stop, I found that I was miles from nearly everything I wanted to do: window shopping in Charlottenburg, Unter den Linden, Brandenburg Tor, Berlin Wall Memorial, major museums. I spent ages either walking or riding back and forth, and I more than used up any hotel savings on transportation and life-saving refreshments. That particular subway stop is small and mostly deserted, even creepy. And the neighborhood around the Scandic is a concrete wasteland (except for one narrow strip of grassy park) that is empty of humans most of the time. The hotel IS walking distance from the theater where Blue Man Group is playing, if for some reason you need to see BMG in Germany. Once I moved to Prenzlauer Berg, there were people, restaurants, and fun, and transportation was easier.
Sorry you didn't like the location. On Booking.com there's a map to show where a hotel is and also a list of nearby places with the distance (in a straight line). And on the map you can input where you want to go and how and it will show you the time and distance.
Good to know simon, thanks for posting.
Berlin is a very large spread-out city with lots of tourist attractions quite a distance from one another. You would be hard-pressed to find any hotel that is near a most of them. No matter where your hotel is you will be using public transit extensively. The tram, U-Bahn, S-Bahn network is so good that I've never found getting from one end of the city to another a hardship.
Thanks for posting this. My opinion is that Potsdamer Platz in general is not a great place to stay in Berlin. Despite a rich history, It's a pretty generic commercial area now. Prenzlauer Berg, as you discovered, is a much better location. I stay near the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church in the Charlottenburg area at a 4-bedroom B&B that I love.
It surprises me a little that transportation costs would be higher around the Scandic because a BVG daily, 3-day, or 7-day pass is useful almost anywhere you stay in Berlin (depending on how long you are there), unless you resorted to taxis to avoid the U station, which I've gone through dozens of times, but never exited there that I recall. When I'm in Berlin next month, I'll get off and look around just to satisfy the curiosity you've generated.
I've stayed at the same hotel and agree that while the hotel is totally fine, the area is mainly commercial and kind of bland (offices and shopping malls). However, we didn't find the location that inconvenient. The Mendelssohn-Bartholdy Park U-Bahn stop only has one subway line, but we had plenty of options at the massive Potsdamer Platz station, just a 5 minute walk away in the other direction. From there it was literally a 1 minute ride to Brandenburger Tor, 15 mins to the Wall Memorial, and 12 min bus ride to the Museumsinsel. I think we only used the Mendelssohn-Bartholdy stop once.
Berlin is a sprawling city but we also walked from the hotel to different things and didn't find it too bad - 15 mins to the Topography of Terror museum, 20-25 mins to Gendarmenmarkt, Unter den Linden etc.
Prenzlauer Berg is definitely a more fun neighborhood to stay in, but my impression was that it's actually a bit further out to central Berlin sights? Anyway, although Potsdamer Platz itself wasn't my favorite place in Berlin, transportation wasn't really a problem for us and we found the Berlin system was quite cheap with either single or 24-hr tickets.
I've explored Potsdamer P;atz in the past since it was a famous historical site in the history of Berlin but never stayed in the area. The advantage to Potsdamer Platz is that it is a junction station.
If one wants to see Charlottenburg from Unter den Linden. you're going from Mitte by the S-Bahn anyway.