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Last Updated: Thursday, 21 June 2007, 16:14 GMT 17:14 UK
Hotel offers 'East German chic'
Room in Berlin's Ostel hotel
East German authenticity does not extend to the bed linen
The Berlin Wall may be long gone but communist East Germany lives on in the form of lovingly maintained Trabant cars and now an old-fashioned hotel.

"Ostel" takes its guests back to some time before 1989 - an era of ugly brown and orange wallpaper, spartan furnishings and Politburo portraits.

The hotel, which opened in Berlin in May, offers guests a choice of rooms in the style of the old eastern bloc.

The "Stasi Suite" is more expensive than the budget "Pioneer Camp".

The hotel is a former East German Plattenbauwohnung - the kind of mass-produced concrete apartment building that came to symbolise life in the communist bloc.

Berlin's Ostel hotel
The hotel's exterior is also a reminder of the Soviet bloc
In the reception four clocks are another throwback to the "socialist" camp, showing the time in Moscow, Berlin, Havana and Beijing.

The hotel was the brainchild of two former East German circus performers, Daniel Helbig and Guido Sand.

Their concept of retro chic continues a wave of "Ostalgie" - a sense of nostalgia for some aspects of life in former East Germany, expressed in the cult status of Trabant cars and the hit film Goodbye Lenin.

The hotel founders managed to rescue communist-era furnishings from private homes and the dusty store rooms of furniture dealers.

A display case in the hotel lobby contains East German souvenirs such as plastic egg cups, chocolate GDR-Mark coins and even a rare roll of GDR toilet paper, German media report.

Guests cannot escape the party's watchful gaze, as the hotel also boasts portraits of former Socialist Unity Party leaders, such as General Secretary Erich Honecker and Prime Minister Horst Sindermann.


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