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2011reviewparttwo

Okay, so we reached the middle of the year yesterday in our review of 2011 via Circus blogposts, and as the cold wind blows outside the windows of the office here on Rosenthaler Platz it is hard to picture those warm and sunny days of barbecues in the park where we left things, but we will use the power of the blog and an ability to link to take us back to the recent past…

July. The Women’s Football World Cup got serious as we reached the knock-out stages. Germany, as always, were great hosts of the tournament, but they fell foul on the pitch to a surprise defeat at the hands of the eventual winners Japan. Here at The Circus we made a film, brought Dandy of the Grotesque into Fabisch, and began our tours to Kreuzberg with Jim Hudson whilst Jule and the other Jim took people to explore Marzahn.

Into August and Rani delivered the first designs for the new cafe and lounge at the apartments, whilst Sasa and the gang began the long process of deciding what special things would be served there. Berlin commemorated the fiftieth anniversary of the building of the Berlin Wall with a series of different events and exhibitions around the city, whilst we met a 70 year-old on his birthday who had been born in the very building that now houses The Circus Hotel. Meanwhile Andrew was having a weekly struggle with the weather, Toga was off to watch his team at the Olympic Stadium, and Sandra was getting “in the mood” with her plans for new apartments. It all seems so long ago…

In September we met Carl Oskar for the first time when he popped by the hotel for a visit, but otherwise it was work, work, work, work, on the Circus Apartments. Meanwhile, we were checking out the international literature festival, and many of our guests were gaining our complete admiration as they took on the Berlin Marathon course. As we moved into autumn a friend of ours published a book on a subject close to the hearts of the English-speaking staff members of The Circus – beer – whilst Preston ran a special photography tour for the festival of lights and Digel waved to passing members of the St Pauli football team on Torstraße.

Into November and we hosted the inaugural meeting of the Berlin St Georges Supporters Club down in Goldman’s Bar, began our new fundraising campaign with our friends at Multitude, celebrated Thanksgiving in the Circus Cafe and drank our first glasses of glühwein at the Berlin Christmas Markets.

And so we reach December and the end of 2011. Sometimes December can be a calm and quiet month at The Circus, but not this year. We had a film crew come by the hostel to make a special clip for our website (coming soon!) but mostly we were getting the apartments ready for launch, which we did last week.

So as Christmas and New Year’s Eve approaches, we reach the end of our special review of 2011 (part two), and we would just like to take this opportunity to thank everyone – guests, staff, partners and friends – who have been with us during 2011 and the next year of the Circus story. In 2012 the Circus will be FIFTEEN years old… who could imagine what would have happened when the doors opened on that first 40-bed building close to Friedrichstraße.

Ah, enough of the nostalgia. See you soon.

2011reviewpartoneIn amongst all the excitement of the opening of the Apartments last week, we missed the second birthday of this lovely blog, and so we thought we would use the chance to not only say “Happy Birthday” to ourselves, but have a look back at a year in the Circus through our blog posts. Now quite a lot of things have happened to us over the past twelve months, so we have decided to split this into two and begin with the first six months of the year.

In January we launched our cooperation with the ZeitzeugenBörse for our series of eyewitness history talks, which are still continuing each month in Fabisch, and we have a very special treat and surprise on this topic coming up in January…so keep your eyes open! We also recieved the happy news that The Circus Hotel had once again been selected for the Tripadvisor Traveller’s Choice Awards, voted for by people who have stayed with us at the hotel and a wonderful achievement for the second year in a row. Later in month Judith and Lisanne took some guests on a special Long Night of the Museums Tour, whilst Jared started on his mission to eat around Berlin.

February might be the shortest month but there was lots going on, especially as the Berlinale was in town. We also prepared a very special welcome for a very special friend of ours.  March was completely packed, with a renovation of the Circus Cafe just in time for all the different events of our Slow Travel Day, including tours, film screenings, a pop-up bookshop and much more, whilst our small Kunstbox at the hostel became host for the Pictosplasma festival. Over at the hotel Marie Jacobi brought Rapunzel to the tower, where she still sits…

Into spring and we welcomed the Berg Gallery to our Kunstbox, celebrated Hertha’s return to the Bundesliga, and continued our obession with you know who. As the weather continued to get warmer the fun and games carried on, with a visit of Gino the Clown to the hostel, we sadly waved goodbye to Konny as he left the Circus (we still miss you), and made the first announcement of the new Circus Apartments.

As the summer arrived we headed up onto the roof of the Circus Hotel for yoga sessions, and worked with our neighbours on the Rosentage neighbourhood and cultural festival. We reached the halfway point of the year with Lisa hosting “Europe’s Most Awesome Barbecue” in Mauerpark.

Phew…and we are only halfway there. Part Two of the 2011 review will be on the blog in the next couple of days…

futureshorts1Coming up this Friday 25th November at the Agora Collective in Neukölln is the Berlin Premiere of the international pop-up film festival FUTURE SHORTS, featuring Oscar, Bafta, Sundance and Berlinale award-winning short films.  Starting at 8pm with a drinks reception, the films will be screened from 9pm and followed by a after-party featuring sought-after Berlin DJ Juli N.

The Future Shorts Festival is the first ever global pop-up festival, showcasing the most exciting short films from around the world. The festival currently takes place in over 50 cities and 22 countries and comprises a worldwide audience of a half-million people, on and offline. Since 2003, Future Shorts’ defining format showcases a single programme of the best short films from around the world often alongside live music, DJs and art. From London to Moscow, Melbourne to Jakarta, the screenings take place across a huge network of music halls, cinemas, theatres, galleries, clubs and warehouses, providing an alternative to the traditional film festival model.

If you want to join the fun then you should know that places are limited and you can book your tickets online here.

More Info:
Facebook Page
Agora Collective

Media Facades LogoStarting on the 27th August, the Media Facades Festival is a pan-European event that brings visual images to urban screens and media facades, using the internet and new technology. As well as Berlin, the other host cities that will take part in the different “joint broadcasting events” are Brussels, Helsinki, Liverpool, Linz, Madrid and Budapest.

The idea, according to the organisers is to …

show especially developed art projects in Europe-wide Joint Broadcasting Events which aspire to share dreams of the different cities and report about local issues and exchange peoples’ stories and ideas. The media facades will be transformed into local stages and open a global window for cultural and societal processes to create a dialogue and connect the local public virtually with the other places throughout Europe.

Sounds funky. The main locations in Berlin are the Panorama Hall and a large rear projection window at the Collegium Hungaricum Berlin, which is on the Dorotheenstrasse, not far from Friedrichstrasse Station…take the Tram M1 from Rosenthaler Platz. The Festival will also be using the large Nightscreen Gasometer in the South of Berlin, and the screens of Berliner Fenster, which you can watch on the city U-Bahns.

For more information on the festival, check out the website.

WWD

UPDATE – See bottom of the article!

Very exciting today, as we were sent through the link to the special Berlin Fashion Week preview supplement (see photo) of American fashion magazine Women’s Wear Daily. The good (and well-dressed) folks across the pond selected The Circus Hotel in the recommendations of where to stay,  alongside our close neighbours the Hotel Amano and Casa Camper (both on Rosenthaler Strasse), as well as one of the newest arrivals on the Berlin hotel scene, the Michelberger Hotel – whose creative website is well worth checking out.

Closer to home, we also got a mention in an article on Focus Online on the best city hotels for under €100. The article also has some nice tips for Florence, Prague, Venice and London amongst others. Many thanks to both WWD and Focus for including The Circus Hotel in their publications.

TripadvisorThe biggest surprise came today when we checked Tripadvisor. Of course, we go back to that site all the time to see what our guests have been writing about us, and we were very proud in recent months that The Circus Hotel was consistently ranked #1 for hotels in Berlin.

Today we discovered that we are currently ranked #1 out of all hotels in Germany – which you can see in the extremely modest screenshot included in this article. Blimey.

Now, we know that many people in the industry are sceptical about Tripadvisor reviews, and we ourselves know that the best feedback comes from guests directly. We also know that we are certainly not the best hotel in Germany, and that there are plenty of ways in which we could be better. However, we are extremely grateful to everyone who has taken the time to write the reviews that have caused this to happen, and we also want people to know that as nice as something like this is, it will not stop us with our philosophy of continual improvement. Indeed, for hotels and hostels, review sites such as Tripadvisor are most useful when the feedback points us in the direction of what is not quite working and how we can improve.

Still, it was a nice moment, and as with all feedback that we receive online, in print, or face to face at reception, is another reminder of why we enjoy doing what we do.

UPDATE 22nd JANUARY

TripAdvisor_Travelers Choice Awards_LogoWell, the nice news keeps coming. This week we were informed by Tripadvisor that the Circus Hotel have won in some categories of the Travellers Choice Awards. Based on the reviews written on the website, the Circus recieved #2 spot (and a nice little trophy) in the Top  Hotels of Germany, whilst we were also in the top ten for Hotels in Europe, and Trend Hotels worldwide. Thanks again to everyone who took the time to write a review.

TripAdvisor Awards Photo (copyright Tripadvisor): Top 3 Hotels in Germany, Left to right – Klaus Kartmann, Director of the Meliá Hotel Berlin; Katrin Schönig, our manager at The Circus Hotel and Carsten Colmorgen, Director of the Hotel Concorde Berlin.