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Hotel Quality on Berlin, Prague, Vienna Tour?

Any comments from anyone on this?

I took the 21 day BOE tour last September, and really enjoyed it. However, one thing that I was unhappy about was the quality of the hotels in a few places. While some of the hotels were absolutely wonderful, our Rome hotel was dirty and disliked by most everyone on our tour. A couple other hotels were also not so great, although perfectly adequate.

I don't care about 5 star luxury, but I do like nice boutique hotels. Any advice? This is the one thing that is making me hesitate from booking another RS tour.

Posted by
1263 posts

I did this tour last June and didn't like our hotel in Rome. It was near termini and the name escapes me. There were several hotels within the building. The room wasn't all that bad but I didn't care for the area around termini. Some hotels were better than others and very charming.

We did his Turkey Tour last year and had one room that had a terrible odor of mold. The ceiling in the bathroom was a mess! We did complain to the guide, and I followed up with a call to the RS office and let them know that that room should not be used until fixed.

Let the office know your concern by calling and discussing your thoughts and concerns.

I will continue with his tours for now, as I found them better than some other tour companies I have used in the past.

Posted by
377 posts

On the Prague/Budapest tour our Prague hotel was the Hotel Metamorphis/Metamorphis Excellent. We had a huge room, very clean and comfortable. The staff was very helpful and the location was excellent. You can see pictures on Tripadvisor that are very accurate.
On the Scotland tour our only bad hotel was the one in Inverness, the Royal Highland. It adjoins the train/bus station and was pretty horrid. Our room had a lot of mold around the windows, the closet was full of plastic storage tubs with linens inside and there were rodent droppings in our bathroom. Local "color" was abundant, including the guy who was urinating on the wall next to the front door of the hotel.
In stark contrast, on that tour we also stayed at the nicest B/B (Glenburnie House) ever in Oban. It was truly beautiful with gorgeous views of the water.

I would say that overall the RS hotels meet the published description of "quirky but clean and in a good location". The Royal Highland in Inverness was a true outlier based on our other RS tour experiences. I do wish they were more forthcoming about the hotels they use. I realize that sometimes it gets changed, but I imagine that most of the time they use the same handful of places. Some other tour companies tell you the names of possible hotels ahead of time so that you can check their websites, Tripadvisor etc to get an idea about the hotels before you book the tour.

Posted by
308 posts

I have only been on two RS tours. However, something I noticed on both tours was that you might have to endure one hotel that isn't great but that you will be rewarded at a really special place somewhere else.

On the Best of Scandinavia tour last year, the hotel in Copenhagen was universally hated by everyone. But there was a lovely happy hour in the lobby with complimentary wine so I actually think fondly of that place. We really were not in the room that much.

Posted by
1263 posts

The next hotel after we had the moldy room, we had the upper floor end unit with wrap around windows and an unobstructive view of the sea in Kusadasi, Turkey. They do a good job of rotating lower and upper floors and a good room after you have had a bad room.

Posted by
1918 posts

Hi Debra,
I went on this tour in June 2015 and all the hotels ranged from very good to wonderful to not so great. We stayed in the hotel in Prague TravelingMom mentioned, the Metropolitan and it was special, very spacious room and thoroughly modern bathroom. The hotel in Vienna was rundown and with no air conditioning it was difficult to sleep at night, the temperature was 95 - 98 degrees! But we are forewarned about the possibility of weak or no air conditioning. I chalked up getting this hotel to the luck of the draw. Sometimes you lose and, in this case, it was a brutally hot summer, not unlike Atlanta where I live. The Vienna hotel had a great breakfast and very helpful staff, to be fair.

The tour is so meaningful and I felt the experience was so worth it, even with the heat. I hope you go on this tour, you will learn about history in a way that you will always remember- books and movies can't quite convey what people endured.

Judy B

Posted by
372 posts

Part of the beauty of a Rick Steves tour is staying in these mom and pop places. If room quality is of concern, you might want to use a different tour company. I've been on 10 tours and the quality has varied, but the focus is not on the room but being in the center of a town and not in some cookie-cutter "American-style" hotel. I'd rather have a crooked door/tiny shower/lots of stairs place and be in the thick of things. And if the rooms were more upscale, the tour would cost more. I fondly remember walking up six flights of stairs to my room in Bacharach, using the bathroom down the hall in Stechelberg, hearing loud noises from the pub across the street in Haarlam, and many more interesting spots.

I do appreciate a lovely bed like the one I had in Ortygia and the gigantic cave room in Matera, but I know that all the hotels that we stay at on the Rick Steves tours are going to be vetted by the RS team and have been chosen with the "backdoor" traveller in mind.

Please Rick Steves Tours, don't change a thing!

Posted by
308 posts

Barbara, I totally agree with you! It is all part of the adventure of travel.

Posted by
672 posts

I'm guessing that the Rome hotel mentioned above is the Aberdeen. We stayed there on the My Way Italy tour. The staff was wonderful, but the hotel itself was completely unacceptable. I assume that the building is directly above an underground Metro track, because the noise was intolerable beginning in the very early hours of the morning. In the middle of the night, when the trains thankfully weren't running, there was a frequent sound of loads of rocks/glass(?) being dumped into some kind of metal container. Definitely loud enough to jolt one out of a sound sleep. Unfortunately, ear plugs were no match for any of this, so we got little sleep in Rome.

We've been on 23 RS tours and we've seen a lot of hotel rooms over the years. For many years, the guides assigned the rooms and we found that they were very conscientious about making certain that, if you had a poor room in one destination, your next one would be a good one. I thought that worked quite well and it felt as though everyone was being treated fairly.

In recent years, that practice seems to have been abandoned and guides tell us that each hotel assigns rooms with the provided rooming list. Since then, we've had entire tours where most of our rooms were subpar. We had stayed at some of these hotels previously, so I know there are decent rooms in the hotel. I'm not sure what the reason is for this, but our name is at the end of the alphabet, so perhaps the best rooms are assigned first. I know that the rooming list includes the ages of tour members and, since we're very much at the upper end, maybe our mobility is questioned. I've always made it very clear to guides that we are fine with stairs, but this may not get passed on.

Posted by
11 posts

I am a little disappointed reading these comments. I really don't consider RS tours to be inexpensive. Many of the tours I have looked at include airfare. I don't expect a luxury hotel but I do expect clean and comfortable and especially not next door to a train station etc. I think I may change my mind about taking my first RS tour. I have planned many trips on my own and have had pretty good luck with Trip Advisor. I will keep an eye out for more info.

Posted by
57 posts

We went on the BPV tour last spring and loved it (our 4th RS tour). The Berlin hotel was basic but clean and a great location, just across the street from a tram stop and close to wonderful ethnic restaurants. Very helpful front desk-we arrived 3 days earlier and they were great helping with public transportation passes and info. The Dresden hotel was plain, clean, but farther from the sites than I would have liked. The Prague hotel was very upscale boutique. The Cesky Krumlov hotel was quirky-we had the last room down several hallways, slanted ceilings and doorways. Great location. The Vienna hotel was beautiful and wonderfully located directly across from the cathedral. If a big room and amenities are important to you, this tour isn't for you. If quirky but clean and well located is most important, then I've never had a problem on any RS tour.

Posted by
61 posts

I had a great room in Prague in 2015 at the Hotel Metamorphis! Oddly, it was in a separate building as the lobby. There was a huge bathroom as well.

Posted by
350 posts

I would say that 7 out of 8 hotels are good to excellent. Clean, everything works, and comfortable. The 8th hotel has some sort of problem: One might be a very hot room on the sunny side of the building. Another had the handicapped bathroom which was difficult for tall person like me to use (but it was very spacious).

Overall, I've been happy. The rooms are usually better than what I book on my own.

If you think you can do better on your own by all means do that. I have traveled on my own and on tours. It depends on many things including the length of time away from home and if I can get a friend to accompany me. We're all different in that respect.

RS is not cheap but other than a few meals snacks and gifts for family I don't spend much once the tour starts. No extras. No tipping. No special off-itinerary stops at tourist trap shops.

Posted by
902 posts

I've never had an issue with any of the hotels on the tours I've taken, and I liked the Aberdeen in Rome. The description above doesn't sound like my Aberdeen experience, but am not sure if that's really the hotel you're describing. Did find the ones in Budapest and Vienna (years ago) sterile and businesslike, but technically nothing wrong with either.

I'm posting this because I think if you haven't been on an RS tour, you won't know until you give it a try. And also, I too want to thank Barbara for her comments.

Posted by
4572 posts

In general, we've loved all the RS hotels at which we've stayed (10 tours.) Our least favorite was in Rome, but it wasn't the Aberdeen. We love the Aberdeen. The one we cared for least was the Nardizzi Americano, which is just down the block from the Aberdeen. And really, the only thing we didn't care for there was the breakfast. Bad vending machine type coffee, no bread the first day. Actually, bread did show up - just as we were leaving for a group excursion. The second day there DH and I brought fruit and rolls to share; the next day a number of other tour mates also brought goodies.

And yes, I know Italians eat a minuscule breakfast, but this breakfast was unacceptable.

In general, though, we've appreciated the variety of hotels on RS tours. Yes, sometimes the room is small (even cramped,) and sometimes you luck out with a corner room and sea views. In all the hotels, we've never had a dirty room, and only once did we have one where the noise really bothered us. (Clattering vent fan in the bathroom at the Hotel Torre Guelfa in Florence. The fan came on automatically when we hit the light switch, jerking the other person awake. We learned to, ummm, manage in the dark.)

Quirky, family run, centrally located, stairs, little or no air-conditioning. It's all in the catalogue.

Posted by
5894 posts

I have found all the hotels exactly as advertised. Its supposed to be traveling like a European, not traveling like a corporate businessperson on an expense account. I'm guessing its hard to find and book small, family run hotels in the middle of everything, that will have 10-14 rooms available all the time for the exclusive use of RS tours, so they have to move around. Yes, its not the tour for you if you expect to travel Marriott style.