I don't really share travel tips or advice on this blog, but I'd like to change that.
My first travel tip is for those who like to go on weekend adventures in new-to-you European cities. You should get to know Meininger Hotels. They offer that crucial mix of affordability, comfort and a little modern style and can help make your city break great value for money.
I was first introduced to them when I stayed in the Meininger in Hamburg during my time in Hamburg. I was there to check out MS Dockville for Must Love Festivals but I also made sure I had enough time to see the city itself.
Based in the Altona area of Hamburg, which is a few S-Bahn stops away from the famous Reeperbahn and St Pauli suburbs of Hamburg, I was pleasantly surprised by a number of things at the Meininger Hotel in Hamburg.
Firstly, it was great value for money. Meininger Hotels are a mix of hostel and hotel, with private or single rooms being on offer as well as beds in a dorm. This therefore means you can choose a price for your budget but still enjoy the hotel's free wi-fi, helpful reception and feeling of security. Prices vary per city, but in Amsterdam, which is one of their more expensive hotels, dorm prices begin at €22 and private rooms at €29 per person (sharing a twin room) or €49 for a single room. I have some experience of Amsterdam hotels and this is an incredibly low price to pay in a city which specialises in tiny, overpriced hotel rooms.
I should also add that the other guests at the hotel in Hamburg were definitely more family than hostel-happy backpackers.
Secondly, there was an "all you can eat" buffet style breakfast for just €5,90 and it was of better quality than some breakfasts I've paid €20,00+ for in 4 star hotels.
Thirdly, I could walk everywhere. Living in two-wheeled Amsterdam is a dream, but that does mean my walking muscles don't get as much of a workout as they should, so I was very keen to get about by my own two feet. So when I went to meet a friend in Schanze I walked. And when I set out to see Landungsbruecke, I walked. And on both occasions I walked back to the hotel.
To get to the festival, walking wasn't really an option as MS Dockville is held over the water in Wilhelmsburg, but again it was easy to get to as the hotel is less than ten minutes walk from Altona S-Bahn station.
That all being said, they did have bikes that you can hire for €12 a day and they looked like solid little bikes.
From my brief research, many of the Meininger's other hotels (in Berlin, Brussels, Cologne, Amsterdam, Munich, Frankfurt, Vienna, Salzburg and London) are all operated on the same basis offering modern design, good location, great value for money.
I think the fact that they operate this part-hotel, part-hostel model contributes to the laidback and friendly manner of the staff, and they are also very interactive on social media; hey, I'm a blogger, it's nice to have your tweets read!They are definitely worth looking at if you're planning a trip to Berlin as that's there spiritual home, with four hotels in four great locations.
While this is not a luxury travel experience, I was surprised by the additional extras in my private double room in Hamburg. There was a sofa, a TV, generous storage to unpack in and a hair dryer in the bathroom. The room was spacious and had a desk big enough to work on beside huge big windows that flooded the room with light, but the curtains were strong enough to keep it at bay in the morning.
Have you ever stayed in a Meininger Hotel? What was your experience.
And what other tips for travel would you like me to share? I have more coming so stand by!
Frances M. Thompson
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