After a flight to Hamburg, a three-hour train ride and 45 minutes on a ferry, you hit the shores of Norderney (nord-irn-eye), a relatively unknown island in the North Sea that has a beautiful indie hotel. Inselloft is boutique spot with only 34 rooms, designed by architects/brothers Marc and Jens Brune. In what can only be described as sleek German engineering, the Brunes constructed special cubes in many of the rooms so that guests sleep on top of their kitchens and closets—making a 500-square-foot room feel twice as big. In addition to the gorgeous efficiency you’d expect from a German hotel, the rooms look out to the North Sea, which is just steps away. With its striking modernity, the design could easily make you forget you’re in a seaside village of just 6,000 people.
But Norderney has a lot to offer. The Inselloft itself features its own coffee bar and bakery, which are open to the public, as well as a wine bar cum gourmet shop with regional cheeses, charcuterie and more than 100 wines focused on new-generation German vintners. We talked with Nils Klimek, who runs Inselloft, about how to make the most of this trip off the beaten path. Here, his Norderney travel guide includes where to find a milk bar (for pancakes and milk shakes!), a cool old cinema and even a shipwreck.