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YOUTH BEAT

A Trio of Student Hotels in Berlin

June 23, 1991|LUCY IZON

In recently unified Berlin, Germany's largest city, three hotels that specialize in accommodating student-style travelers offer bed and breakfast for as low as 25 to 30 marks (about $16 to $19) per night.

Although some single and double rooms are available, at those rates expect to be in a single-sex, multi-bed room (likely four people) with a shared washroom.

Youth hotels are usually a little more expensive than youth hostels, but offer the advantages of 24-hour reception and their own bars and discos where you can meet other travelers, and they include breakfast.

The Studentenhotel Berlin, at Meininger StraBe 10, is in what used to be West Berlin. It's the head office for all three hotels, so you can make reservations there for any of them. A total of 160 travelers can be accommodated in rooms shared by two to four persons. Separate washrooms are on each floor. You won't find a restaurant, but there is a television and billiards room. It's close to the town hall, a 10-minute walk to the Kurfurstendamm (one of Europe's great boulevards) and a 20-minute trip to Brandenburg Gate, formally the door to East Berlin.

Jugendhotel Amtierpark, at Franz-Mett-StraBe 7, is in what was once East Berlin. It's near a vast park called Tiergarten (the name means animal gardens and originated when this area was the gateway to Berlin and teemed with animals). The hotel has 250 rooms, ranging from singles to multi-bed facilities. All have private washrooms; some have their own showers. The hotel has its own restaurant, bar and disco. It's about a 15-minute trip by metro from the downtown area.

Touristenhaus Grunau, at DahmestraBe 6 on the banks of the River Spree, is the smallest of all the hotels. It has 37 rooms, which accommodate two or more persons. It's a quiet location with its own club room, restaurant and disco. You can reach the city center in 10 minutes on the local train.

Another option in Berlin, and most other areas of Germany, is bed and breakfast lodging in private homes. Rates begin as low as $14 per person, per night, single, or for two sharing a room. Berlin now has 2,000 such beds to rent in private homes.

All of the bed and breakfast accommodations throughout the country are inspected regularly by local tourist boards. Homes with available rooms will post a sign displaying the words Zimmer Frei (room available). Most of the accommodations are in small towns and villages, where a family in a cottage or a wooden chalet have an extra room or two because their children have grown and left home.

You don't need reservations for this type of accommodation. Your best bet is to visit the local tourist information offices, where you will be supplied with details on several local homes with rooms. You can inspect the rooms without obligation to stay.

The German National Tourist Office also publishes a free 63-page brochure, "Bed & Breakfast in Germany '91/'92", which lists all the local tourist information offices, the price range for single and double B&B accommodations in their area, and indicates other local services and activities that could be of interest to visitors. Contact the German National Tourist Office, 444 S. Flower St., Suite 2230, Los Angeles 90071, (213) 688-7332.

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