We'll be visiting Hamburg, Berlin and Vienna (and other cities) in early to mid April 2013. Any suggestions on hotels in any or all three cities would be helpful. We may be traveling exclusively by train or might have a car. Actually, the lodging comments we receive may impact the train/car matter. If we travel by train, suggestions for hotels convenient to the main train terminal (via metro) would be great. If we drive, hotels further from the center of each city would be fine (so parking would be less an issue), but close to a metro station as we don't plan to drive in any of these cities. Thanks for any help.
Vienna: Pension Suzanne about a half block from the opera house. Very nice and priced right. Check tripadvisor...great reviews. Can't help on Berlin or Hamburg, and nobody here ever goes to Hamburg anyway (except maybe Tom...RS just started including it in his guidebook recently, so still not a lot of info posted here on it). "Actually, the lodging comments we receive may impact the train/car matter." Does this mean that your lodging choices might dictate whether or not you buy that Volvo or BMW you mentioned over in that other thread, or are you referring to a rental car? Just asking, because it would seem pretty odd to make a buying decision based on where you're sleeping.
Thank you, Michael... I've stayed at Hotel Baseler Hof in Hamburg. It is very convenient to the Hauptbahnhof (within walking distance), and right around the corner from the Binnenalster. The breakfast spread is one of the best I've seen in Germany. It isn't the cheapest hotel, but you can't beat the location... actually, you probably could, the Four Seasons hotel has a view of the Binnenalster, but it's likely far more expensive. I would recommend the Maritim hotel in Berlin. It sits very close to the Friedrichstraße S-bahn station, and within a 10 minute walk of Branderburer Tor. It serves the BEST breakfast spread I've encountered in Germany.
I was in Berlin in September 2012, and split my stay. For the first part I was in the former East Berlin, at the Hotel Kastanienhof, and for the last part was in the former West Berlin, at the Pension Peters (a visit to Dresden was in between). I put my impressions on another thread on this board. I'd stay in either one again. If price were not in the equation, I'd pick the Kastanienhof; however, it is more expensive than the Peters, and I think both are good deals.
It does sound like the lodging tail is wagging the car dog, but to fully answer would be too long a story. Suffice it to say that purchasing a car would be a nice perk during the trip (Volvo offers a very enticing deal). Preliminary number crunching looks like purchasing a car would mean a $3,500 to $4,000 perk plus we'd really enjoy the flexibility a car would offer during stops at some smaller areas we will visit for genealogy research (Oldenburg, Vechta, Damme, Langwedel, Hannover and others) and for another part of the trip between Vienna and Aachen via Munich and the Romantic Road. The remaining benefit of the car is that it would allow us to begin and end our travel on the days we're moving from one capital city to another on a schedule we choose rather than on the train. But, with all the possible benefits a car would provide, we don't want the car to be a thing that results in a lot of hassle vis-à-vis lodging/parking. Renting a car is a possibility but, in total, we will be in multiple large/capital cities (not just Hamburg, Berlin and Vienna), and we don't want to rent a car numerous times for one-way trips as this would become a hassle in itself plus the cost would be exponentially higher than the $1,000 or so we're looking at for a one-time round trip rental; and then there's still the parking.
Jon, I don't have any comments to offer regarding Vienna or Hamburg, however I would definitely recommend Pension Peters in Berlin. It's in a great location between Savignyplatz station and Bahnhof Zoo, so very convenient to both the S-Bahn and U-Bahn. The rooms are clean and comfortable, they serve good breakfasts, the staff are wonderful, and there are some nice restaurants and other "establishments" nearby. I don't know if they provide parking, as I was travelling by train. I quite enjoyed stopping at Dicke Wirtin's for a pint (or two) and a fine hot meal in the late afternoon, as it's just across the street from the Hotel. Schwarzes Cafe is only a few doors down from the Hotel, and it's open 24 hours. Happy travels!
Pension Sacher Vienna. Very nice.
In Vienna we stayed in Pension Nossek last September. We drove our rental car into the city, parked in a garage a block from the hotel and checked in before we returned the rental car. We love the location of Pension Nossek. I would stay there again if we ever went back to Vienna. We have sometimes driven into larger cities and then paid for parking for the 3 days or so that we stayed there. It can work out to be less hassle and less money than returning and re-renting mulitple times. On a vacation some times less hassle and less wasted time can be money well spent. Something to consider anyway. Have fun!