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Hotel recs for Berlin, Prague, Warsaw and Vienna?

ElainePDX

Level 2 Member
Premium Supporter
#1
  • If anyone has hotel recs for
Berlin
Warsaw
Prague
Vienna

please let me know. Needn't be aspirational or vendoming-it; hotels in good locations at reasonable cash or points prices will do just fine. Thanks for any advice you can offer.

This trip won't be a typical travel hacker's trip, but it is enabling us to go to Eastern Europe for a month with little need to get it all organized. The organized tour portion is set and the flights booked. Here's how it is shaping up:

Oct. 6 - Depart PDX - combo of UA and TK flights

Oct 7-13: Berlin - 7 nights (but really just 5.5 days since 1.5 days will be devoted to celebrating the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippor on Oct. 11-12).

Oct. 14-15 - Warsaw, 2 nights (so we'll have extra time in Warsaw which is where the tour starts)

Oct. 16-30 Join this tour: http://www.odysseys-unlimited.com/tours/europe/discovering-eastern-europe

Oct. 31-Nov. 2 - Prague (extra time in Prague which is where the tour ends)

Nov. 3 - Vienna (extra time in Vienna, done as a stopover on the outbound ticket) When we realized we'd be flying home from PRG via Vienna anyway, and were having trouble booking the PRG > Vienna leg, it was suggested we add a stopover. The space we needed was available and we are happy for an extra day here.

Nov. 4 - Fly home to PDX from Vienna - combo of OS and UA flights

The tour price seems quite reasonable. We paid $2895 pp for:
> 15 nights in good hotels (Hiltons, Radissons, etc.)
> all breakfasts
> 10 lunches/dinners
> services of a tour director and some local guides
> all entrance fees
> land travel from WAW > Krakow > Budapest > Vienna > Prague
> all gratuities
> $100 credit toward another adventure.

That's $199/day/person. We could do it for less on our own, but for a first-time visit to countries where we have no experience or language skills, and little inclination or time at the moment to plan a full itinerary for seeing Eastern Europe, it seemed like a reasonable strategy for us. The tour portion offers a nice combo of guided activities and free time; blessedly no time for guided shopping; and we are happy to do some of the lunches and dinners on our own.

The only time we took an organized tour was a week in rural China. If we enjoy this as much as we enjoyed that, we'll be fine.

Do send any hotel recs or other advice my way! Thanks.

PS - We used the Saverocity Award Booking Service to book the tickets. That tends to be the most stressful part for me - figuring out how to best/most efficiently use my points, dealing with phantom space, forgetting some of the many tricks and tips I should have in my toolkit to find award space and save money/miles, etc. - and I am glad I did. All the award space was booked at the lowest saver level. I am quite happy with the final routing and working with Matt's team was a pleasure.
 

SanDiego1K

Level 2 Member
#2
I've been to each city. It's hard to know what to recommend as I don't think you gave a budget. Also, do you have points in any programs? Any status in any programs? Or are you completely hotel agnostic?

I'm a big fan of Seth Miller's hotelhustle.com tool. It's very useful if you do have points/brand allegiance. It shows you both points and prices for the nights of interest to you.

Berlin - Hyatt is in great location, Hilton has a hotel in easy walking distance of the Pergamon Museum, one of my favorite museums in the world.
Warsaw - my preference is to stay near the Old town. Starwood wins the day here with its Hotel Bristol.
Prague - I was there last month and don't recommend Starwood's Augustine. Too much for too little.
Vienna - I love this city, and always want to stay in the inner ring. I've stayed at most of the Hilton, Starwood, and Club Carlson properties. I particularly liked the location of the Radisson Blu Style hotel.
 

ElainePDX

Level 2 Member
Premium Supporter
#3
Hi @SanDiego1K and thanks for the info.

We do have points and some status - Hilton Diamond, IHG Plat, Hyatt Plat. No SPG status but some points, no Marriott anything. I do have a bunch of URs though to transfer. And a few free hotel nights as well (2 IHG nights, 1 Hilton weekend night).

Some of the cities seem to have very reasonably priced hotels. We can certainly spend cash in those cases; that is, if it seems best to save the hotel and/or UR points for better redemptions. In general I look for points redemptions that lean toward less aspirational and use the free night certs for the aspirational. No real budget - we can spend what we'll need to for a good location. But spending less always feels better ;) !
 

smittytabb

Moderator
Staff member
#4
I can second the Berlin Grand Hyatt. I just stayed there a few weeks ago and it is really a comfortable hotel. Its location is terrific as it is near Pottsdamer Platz and there are tons of transportation options right around that area, be it buses, train or subway. I would stay there again for sure. And the Pergamon Museum and the four others in the "Museum Island" are an easy bus ride from the hotel. I went to all five of them during my stay. Berlin has tons of incredible museums. It was my first time to Berlin and there is just so much to do.

I stayed for a few days at the Crowne Plaza Prague before moving to a more central location. It is on the outskirts, but it is in a pretty amazing building. I stayed there on points and it was a good value, but this was about five years ago.

I have been to Vienna a few times, but none recently, so no good ideas there for you. Have a great trip!
 

ElainePDX

Level 2 Member
Premium Supporter
#5
Thanks, @smittytabb
Much appreciated.
Another friend said the Grand Hyatt Berlin was not in an interesting neighborhood so I am happy to have another opinion. Maybe he is mis-remembering....
 

smittytabb

Moderator
Staff member
#6
Thanks, @smittytabb
Much appreciated.
Another friend said the Grand Hyatt Berlin was not in an interesting neighborhood so I am happy to have another opinion. Maybe he is mis-remembering....
Well, the neighborhood itself is not a typical Berlin neighborhood, if that makes sense. But it is so convenient to get everywhere and that is what makes it great. You can walk to a lot of the sights from there and those you cannot are easily reached by the varied transport.
 

niehlin2

Level 2 Member
#8
We visitied two of the cities last September.
Prague - Hilton Prague Old Town, upgraded to a suite. could have breakfast at the lounge or at the first floor with full breakfast. Location is great.

Vienna - Park Hyatt Vienna. Upgraded to a huge and very nice suite. Location is also great.

I was diamond on Hilton and Hyatt at that time.
 

dukerau

Level 2 Member
#10
Vienna - nothing beats Park Hyatt. My spouse and I traveled to Vienna with family members. Since I had read such good things about Radisson Blu Style, we stayed there while our family members stayed at PH (they had lots of Hyatt points while we were getting the last bit of benefit from the BOGO perk at pre-deval 50k rate) since the hotels are a block apart. Night and day difference. Maybe we had a bad room, but I found the Blu dated and not well kept. Granted, the location is excellent, and obviously the price is much better than the PH. But I would've saved my Club Carlson points for post-deval use and spent Hyatt points to stay at PH knowing what I know now.
 

ElainePDX

Level 2 Member
Premium Supporter
#11
Just an update. We are moving along with reservations and have used your suggestions above as we do so.

I just learned that my husband needs to have some activity on his SPG acct - I didn't realize points expire only one year after the last activity - so I am looking at using them for our 2 nights in Vienna.

Here's the Vienna options from the SPG website:
HOTEL BRISTOL, A LUXURY COLLECTION HOTEL, VIENNA
HOTEL IMPERIAL, A LUXURY COLLECTION HOTEL, VIENNA
LE MÉRIDIEN VIENNA
THE GUESTHOUSE VIENNA, A MEMBER OF DESIGN HOTELS™

I've never been to Vienna so am clueless on neighborhhoods and locations. Which might be a good value and good location? It needn't be aspirational at all. As part of our one month trip, we'll be on a tour, and the Vienna hotel for that is the Hilton Vienna Plaza. I know little about that property but hope our Diamond status will get us a good room there.

Also, wondering which is the best value: Cash + SPG Points, or free SPG nights? We rarely stay at SPG hotels so I am quite rusty on the program.

My husband has 27K SPG points and I have 37K, but mine are easier to maintain since I have an SPG Amex card. It's his 27K that are due to go inactive and be forfeited on Nov. 30.

Thanks for any suggestions!
 
Last edited:

SanDiego1K

Level 2 Member
#12
Your husband can move his points into your account. Then you don't need to worry about points expiring. Starwood has updated its website and you can now make the request online.

Generally cash plus points is better. However, one of the bloggers has done a detailed analysis. There might be a level where that's not true. Hopefully someone will comment.

I have stayed at every Starwood property in Vienna except for the newly added Guesthouse Vienna. I saw raves about it just in the last week on FlyerTalk. The three properties where I have stayed are solid and all are on or just within the first ring. The Imperial is roughly 2 blocks from the Bristol; Le Meridien is a few blocks from the Bristol.
 

ElainePDX

Level 2 Member
Premium Supporter
#13
Thanks, @SanDiego1K , very helpful, I was hoping you'd comment since I remember from a previous comment you had stayed at Vienna SPG properties.

Good news about transferring the points. I did google that before I posted and the blog I read warned that things can go wrong, but it was an older post. But we do need a Vienna hotel and using his points might be a good way to get one. Should we go with another chain, I will make the transfer. Meanwhile we'll look at the SPG properties and see.
 

jleey98

Level 2 Member
#14
Thanks, @SanDiego1K , very helpful, I was hoping you'd comment since I remember from a previous comment you had stayed at Vienna SPG properties.

Good news about transferring the points. I did google that before I posted and the blog I read warned that things can go wrong, but it was an older post. But we do need a Vienna hotel and using his points might be a good way to get one. Should we go with another chain, I will make the transfer. Meanwhile we'll look at the SPG properties and see.
I've stayed at the Hilton Prague Old Town. Pretty good location but the Sheraton is closer to a lot of the major sites, such as Charles Bridge, Prague Castle, and the Jewish Quarter.
I love the Park Hyatt Vienna but I am a Hyatt Diamond member so I had a great stay.
 

ElainePDX

Level 2 Member
Premium Supporter
#16
Thanks, everyone, for your help here. We are set. Those of you who prefer aspirational and/or 5 star stays will be very unimpressed, but we are content, having used points and e-certs that were about to expire along with some more points to get good and/or good enough hotels in our preferred neighborhoods:

Berlin:
Art’Otel /Carlson Hotel
Wallstrasse 70-73
and
Holiday Inn Berlin Alexanderplatz
Theanolte-Baehnischestrasse 2

Warsaw:
Hampton Inn
Ul. Waspolna 72

Prague:
Radisson Blu Alcron
Stepanska 40

Vienna
Hotel Bristol / SPG hotel
Kaerntner Ring 1

I will be back to let you know how we liked them and I will also comment on the tour hotels to add the the general knowledge base! Thanks again.
 

SanDiego1K

Level 2 Member
#17
The Radisson Blu Alcron in Prague has a Michelin starred restaurant. Our favorite thing to do is to have a weekday lunch when such restaurants often have a very well priced menu. We were in town on a weekend and didn't make it there. If you are meat eaters, Cestr is a must. The 3 course menu is very good value. You have to book in advance as it is extremely popular. We used Uber for all our transport in Prague. It was very affordable.
 

ElainePDX

Level 2 Member
Premium Supporter
#18
The Radisson Blu Alcron in Prague has a Michelin starred restaurant. Our favorite thing to do is to have a weekday lunch when such restaurants often have a very well priced menu. We were in town on a weekend and didn't make it there. If you are meat eaters, Cestr is a must. The 3 course menu is very good value. You have to book in advance as it is extremely popular. We used Uber for all our transport in Prague. It was very affordable.
Thanks. I am making note of all these suggestions.