Hotel Kunsthof, Vienna **

Stay: June 2016

This used to be known as Hotel Reichshof - the change must have been relatively recent, the taxi driver didn't know the current hotel name. Located close to Praterstern station (and the Prater), however all the action, shopping, bars, etc. aren't in this section of town. A good place to start for that is Stephansplatz, which is three stations from Praterstern on the U2 Subway.

All in all, the stay was a "mixed bag". Would I stay again? Not in summer, that's for sure. The room was warm (no AC) despite the weather being only partially nice. Wouldn't want to stay in July or August. You're not in "the center of things" here yet the street the hotel is on tends to be quite busy (and loud).

The good, the bad and the ugly:
+ Quite close to Praterstern station
+ Room is good size
+ Mattress was comfortable
+ quaint city hotel, open spaces, nice little courtyard to sit in (when it isn't raining) and lots of stucco
+ room seems recently renovated
+very friendly personnel at reception + in the restaurant

o Breakfast was ok, but relatively simple: Bread, rolls, jams, plain yoghurt, meats and cheese + some juices. Oh - and boiled eggs. Nothing warm, no salads.
o there is no phone in the room! If you need to call reception… well, you're going down there or using your mobile!
o no mini bar in the room - there is a row of refrigerators on the ground level opposite reception full of drink and snacks you can buy

- TV signal horrid (watched EM game), completely blurry
- On busy street with lots of traffic and running trains - it does quiet down a bit at night, but only a bit.
- no air conditioning, to cool room at night, need to open windows (see point above)
- no shower (!) - just a bathtub with a handheld __ - you need to either squat or be very careful to spray the water only in one direction to get clean! At least you can watch yourself do it in the brown smoked mirrors all around… the bathroom was, apparently, only partially renovated - at least the floor was in pretty bad shape.
- free WIFI is relatively poor quality, wasn't able to have a voice Skype call due to signal breakup

Wastlwirt, St. Michael im Lungau, Austria***

For a customer event, I stayed one night in this hotel. The room was quite large, with a double bed, a separate walk-in closet in the hallway and a large bathroom.

The room was ok, however you can tell everything is relatively old. The bathtub/shower would likely be an issue just getting into for people that aren’t very flexible. It showed some mildew growth on the silicone in the back. There wasn’t a sliding shower door; instead, it was a multi-panel fold-out job that I popped the handle off the first time I tried moving it. After jostling it free, I was able to shower, but it ended up leaking lots of water onto the floor that I wasn’t able to contain with the towel. A floor mat wasn’t provided.

The door to the small balcony also seemed quite ancient - instead of a regular door handle to turn, you have to move a lever on the hinge side 180° down, which lifts the door a few cm so that you can open it. It won’t stay shut without the lever being up and you get quite a bit of noise through the seams from the road below.

The carpets were worn to the point where I would have replaced them and the furniture showed its age. Really annoying was a round, glass table in front of the two-seater sofa that always seemed to be in the way. When I moved it, the glass top came off; not sure if it was just resting on the frame.

This didn’t bother me, as I rarely watch TV in a hotel room, but the TV is opposite the couch. You can’t see it from the bed, unless you lie the wrong way round and play contortionist. A colleague ended up falling asleep on the couch which probably didn’t help his back any.

Breakfast was very good, with “all the fixings”, including a made-to-order eggs and omlett cook. Unfortunately, it is so spread out in different parts of a longish room that I ended up doing quite a bit of searching to find everything. There were four of us in the hotel and we ended up finding each other after a bit of a search, as the tables are spread over several rooms. Towards the end of breakfast, one of the waiters came over, snorted “I had a table set up for you” at us, threw four name signs on one of the tables we were sitting at and walked away. Wow, really made feel welcome…

The hotel shows signs of age all the way through; I actually found the time to go to the sauna in the evening. The benches you sit on were wobbly and moved more than I felt comfortable with. With the supplied slippers (they were on the bed along with a bath robe), I nearly fell on the wet floor; I probably wasn’t the only one. The only place to go outside to cool off is the back entrance to the sauna area, so you’re basically standing on the back lawn of the hotel. While it isn’t visible from the road, it is from the surrounding buildings, so keep your towel on.

The “wellness” area has a rather small sauna (no more than 5 people), a steam bath, three showers, a solarium, a pool and a resting room. Towels are provided, albeit rather small ones. Again, the floor in one section is extremely slippery and needs to be stepped on with extreme care.

The reception is only staffed until 10PM; if you’re going out, you need to take your key with you. This wouldn’t be an issue except for the ridiculously large and heavy key fob. I guessed it at about a Kilo and it was larger than my hand!

As our company paid for the rooms, I have no idea what they cost, but I would recommend the hotel only if you can’t find a different hotel at a reasonable rate.