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Tastes of Austria - Part 2 - Marmor Guglhupf

The Marmor Guglhupf is a great sponge cake that I have tasted for the first time in my country after a vacation in Austria. I loved the country so much that since then I started noticing all Austrian products in the shops around me, more than before.

Amazingly, the next time I returned to Austria, they had Guglhupf at breakfast at Hotel Bellevue Vienna. I was so happily surprised that I became an addict of the cake ever since. I buy it at home from Kaufland and I can never get enough.

Marmor Guglhupf

The Guglhupf has several recipes, includes eggs, sugar, butter, oil as main ingredients, can include fruit, chocolate, powder cocoa, but what's the same in all cakes is the special ring shape.

Marmor Guglhupf


It's great for breakfast with coffee, with wine or simply as desert and after you have tasted it, you will dream of having more. Trust me!

Marmor Guglhupf


So start searching for it and try it - you will absolutely love it. Online recipes are also available everywhere.

Take care and enjoy,
Geo

Hotel Tourotel Mariahilf in Vienna

Hotel Tourotel Mariahilf in Vienna
Hotel Tourotel Mariahilf in Vienna


Contact details:
Mariahilfer Strasse 156
1150 Wien
Tel:     +43 1 8923335 - 0  
Fax:    +43 1 8923335 - 495
E-mail: hotel.mariahilf@tourotel.at
Homepage: www.tourotel.at  

Stars: 3*
 
It was our very first trip to Austria. We wanted to experience the magic of Christmas Markets in Vienna, so we allowed the travel agent to select a hotel for us. They gave us 3 options and we decided to go with the least expensive one since back then this was an issue. It was actually a great choice, not necessarily due to the hotel itself but to the great area it is located in.
We had a crazy day that day - my husband had been on a business trip outside the city and was supposed to get home the evening before. Unfortunately their car had broken down, his colleague and him had spent the night in a hotel around 150 km far from home (around 100 miles), he left at 5 am with a bus (leaving his colleague behind to bring the car home) as we had plane tickets. He got home at around 7 am, we left by our car for Bucharest (6 hrs drive through snow), we left the car at the airport, got the plane for Vienna, went on the CAT (City Airport Train), then the Subway, then about 10 minutes walk with our phone GPS and finally reached the hotel.
Mu husband walking down the stairs, ready for our first day of visiting
 
Pluses:
- clean and quiet rooms;
- great location of the hotel close to a subway station, 5 minutes walking far from the Technisches Museum and the Schnobrunn;
- large park between the hotel and Schnobrunn;
- nice service, including one of the Reception guys who showed us when we arrived (late into the night) how to open our door with a card (by having at the Reception a small part of a fake door with the knob on used to demonstrate the process - it was cute and fun);
- nice atmosphere during breakfast - classical Viennese music in the restaurant;
- nice setting around the Reception area with the Christmas tree and the decorations;


 
Minuses:
- very little breakfast options; it was actually exactly the same breakfast every day for 4-5 days in a row;
- the room was a bit too dark - it had the main issue that most old town buildings have - windows towards the inner walls, making it very dark - we had no real view;
- the heating was (I think) somehow too dry as it caused my nose to bleed every night - not hard, but I noticed that difference - it all stopped when I got home; the air was OK while we let the outside fresh air in, but it got very dry during the night, even if we lowered the temperature a bit on the radiators;
- most shops and restaurants around were closed except a few shops from Arabic people that sold products which we considered expensive (we paid 2.5 Euros for a loaf of bread when at home it costs 0.5 Euro); also we were forced to eat only kebap and shawarma (and not all of it was that great) because it was very difficult to find something decent unless you went to the center where all the fancy restaurants were open; 
- the hotel had trouble offering us tea in the room when we got back from the city all frozen solid - we had to insist a lot on the lady at the Reception to convince her to give us two mugs of hot water (because the tea we had just bought) - we would have really appreciated an electric water heater in the room;
- not all the Receptionists spoke English. We had a bit of trouble with the lady mentioned above who spoke very little English.

As an overall conclusion, the hotel is good and I rate it 6 on a scale from 1 to 10. The prices are OK and are worth for the services they offer. I recommend a visit especially due to their great location very close to a lot of great tourist attractions.

Take care,
Geo

Salzburg Area Hotels: Euro Hotel Youth and Krone - Bad Gastein

Euro Hotel Youth and Krone - Bad Gastein

Contact details:
Bahnhofplatz 8
A-5640 BAD GASTEIN
AUSTRIA tel: +43 (0)6434 233 00
fax: +43 (0)6434 233 086
email: info(at)euro-youth-hotel(dot)at
Stars: 3*
We were on a tour around Austria, we wanted to see Salzburg, hotels there were too expensive so we ended up in Bad Gastein which was amazing and became our favorite destination which we LOVE, even more than Vienna. End of story. Who would have thought that searching for a cheaper hotel would get us to the place of our dreams?

Bad Gastein
Bad Gastein
Difference in price between Salzburg and Bad Gastein - about 150 Eur (3* triple room in Salzburg) to 85 Eur (triple room 3* in Bad Gastein); distance - about 100 km; we didn't visit Salzburg in the end - we were crazy about the mountains and we stayed.

Pluses:
- clean, large and quiet rooms;
- all new furniture and very cozy and warm linen;
- free unlimited internet which was GREAT as in most places in Austria you have to pay separately for it or you get it only in the lobby; 
- nice and well informed Reception staff speaking perfect English;
- plenty of brochures convincing you to see the area;
- amazing view from our hotel window - it was great to be sitting in bed looking at this:

 
- huge windows allowing you to see the amazing view;
- good location of the hotel close to a train station and next to a Spar Supermarket with very good prices;
- large free parking behind the hotel;
- close to the Stubnerkogel which was just across the street, allowing you to go up the mountain very easily up to the amazing glass platforms and suspended bridges taking your breath away - we had no idea about those and that's one of the reasons we are definitely going back.

Bad Gastein - half way up the mountain
Bad Gastein - half way up the mountain
Minuses (far less than pluses):
- very little breakfast options; this was the only minus actually - the food we got for breakfast wasn't too much and in too many varieties, but Spar supermarket was just next to the hotel. We would walk over there and just buy whatever we needed.

As an overall conclusion, the hotel is good and I rate it 8 on a scale from 1 to 10. The prices are OK and are worth for the services they offer. I recommend a visit.

Take care,
Geo

Innsbruck Hotels: Gasthof Neuwirt - Wattens - Innsbruck

Gasthof Neuwirt - Wattens - Innsbruck
Gasthof Neuwirt - Wattens - Innsbruck - Building on the right
Contact details:
Address: Innsbrucker Strasse 12, Wattens
T +43 5224 52260
F +43 5224 55115
office@regionhall.at
http://www.regionhall.at

Link: http://www.hall-wattens.at/de/vermieter/gasthof-neuwirt.html

We decided to get accommodation in Gasthof Neuwirt 3*as we wanted to visit the Innsbruck area and the hotels we found there were too expensive. The actual name of the small village where the small hotel is located is called Tulfes.

Tulfes, Innsbruck

Tulfes is about 14 km far from Innsbruck and the difference in prices for a room is worth the drive (around 30-40 Eur). We wanted a triple room - in Innsbruck this would have cost around 140 Eur and in Tulfes we paid 100 Eur. Remember this was back in 2011, so please check latest prices before booking.

Pluses: 
- pretty clean rooms and bathrooms;
- clean breakfast room, nice, cozy, family-like ambiance for breakfast, food offer for breakfast quite OK;
- staff speaks decent English;
- sauna facilities in the hallway - we didn't test it though;
- quiet village, almost nobody outside after 8pm - only crazy tourists desperate for sightseeing (not too many though considering it was August);
- amazing views - please see below:

Tulfes, Wattens, 14 km far from Innsbruck

Tulfes, Wattens, 14 km far from Innsbruck

Tulfes, Wattens, 14 km far from Innsbruck
Parking lot of the hotel
- free parking behind the small hotel, big enough for all the cars;
- close distance to Innsbruck (14 km), very easy to get to Innsbruck and the Swarovski Museum;
- decent number of stores around;
- flowers everywhere:

Tyrolean geraniums in Tulfes
 

Minuses:
-  rooms too crowded for 3 people - we barely had space to move around;
old furniture, one of the beds a bit broken;
breakfast was the same each morning, no new options;
- rooms offer no fridge, tea or coffee making facilities inside the room, or minibar. We had our own since we traveled by car;
- hotel door was locked when we arrived (it was around 1-2 pm, so no abnormal hours) so we had to call someone to let us in - a phone number was on the door - so make sure you have a phone you can use; main door was closed all the time and we received a key for our entire stay, key which we gave back on our last day;
- location is more of a family house than a hotel, interior is a bit old and rusty designed with old family pictures, carpets and painting. 

As an overall conclusion, the hotel is OK if you are going to spend all your day visiting and are not too demanding. If you expect luxury and great services, search for another one. I give it a 6 out of 10.

Take care,
Geo

Tastes of Austria - Part 1 - Mozart Chocolates

You haven't been to Austria unless you have tasted at least one Mozart chocolate and bought at least one bag of them for your friends and family as souvenir. No way!

There's no other sweet so present everywhere - and I mean everywhere - at the airport, in supermarkets, in all major tourist attractions - everywhere. Even if some of you don't like marzipan, you haven't tasted Austria unless you have tasted at least one Mozart chocolate.

Mozart chocolates

At Prater they have a large souvenir store with a huge ball of Mozart chocolates - at least 500 pieces inside and they look great. They make you stop, stare and go in to buy some.

The Mozart Chocolates at Prater
The Mozart Chocolates at Prater


Two weeks ago I went on a business trip to Krakow, Poland, my intermediary stop was in Vienna and I had 6-hours between flights. Guess what I did? Took the CAT train, then the subway, got down in the Center, went to a Billa supermarket and bought 4 bags of Mozart chocolates. I absolutely missed them...

The picture above is one of them, with the last available candy. After eating all of them I have realized I didn't take a picture for the blog. Mozart chocolates are one of the tastes of Austria and must necessarily be mentioned here...

So, take care, go visit Austria and don't forget to have a Mozart chocolate. There's a risk you will go for more.

Geo

Bellevue Hotel in Vienna

Contact details:
Address: 1090 Wien, Althanstrasse 5

We ended up at Bellevue Hotel 4* by a fortunate mistake of our travel agency which didn't send our reservations on time for the Mozart Hotel. We were supposed to stay on our way to Innsbruck for a few nights and then on our way back for a few more at the Mozart. Fortunately they didn't send the reservation on time, Mozart had no more rooms for the trip back so they offered us, upgrade free, a room at the Bellevue which was just around the corner from the train station near the Mozart Hotel.

Our room at the Bellevue Hotel Vienna


From the moment we entered the hotel, it was obvious that this time it would be different. We were a bit disappointed about our last hotel and this one was considerably better - the star difference from 3* to 4* was visible. The Vienna grandeur I was expecting previously here was present. We were offered a room on the 4th or 5th floor - unfortunately I don't remember for sure but this time it was great. Lots of space, quality furniture and service. I recommend this one. The price difference is not that high - 10 or 15 Eur/night, but it is worth it. We didn't pay the difference, but we would have for the services that were worth it.

Our room at the Bellevue Hotel Vienna


Pluses:
- clean, large and quiet rooms - the room was huge for the three of us, we also had enough space for a couch, a few cupboards and a TV;
- great breakfast - large breakfast space, great atmosphere and more important than all these, great variety of foods offered - you could eat for 2 weeks without getting bored of what they offered - at least 10 varieties of bread, expensive fruit, large variety of items to choose from; grade 10 for breakfast - I absolutely loved it;
- nice and well informed Reception staff; they helped us find our way around the city, spend a lot of time to explain to us the Vienna map and offered us a great option to leave our car: http://austria-travelling.blogspot.ro/2012/02/parking-in-vienna.htm; I was also amazed to see the guy at the reception speak English, German, French, Italian and Spanish while we were around;
- great service in the room;
- good location of the hotel close to a train station and a subway station; also great place to walk around in the evening;
- close to a few supermarkets in case we needed food or items to buy - Billa was just outside; plenty of other stores around;
- fast elevators and great interior design in the lobby.
 
Our room at the Bellevue Hotel Vienna


Minuses (far less than pluses):
- we had free internet only in the lobby of the hotel;
- hotel has no parking; actually they have a few spots outside in the street, but most of the time they were not free;
- rooms offer no fridge, tea or coffee making facilities inside the room, or minibar. It would have been nice to have those;
- the couch in our room was a bit old and dirty and this gave us a bit of a bad impression of the hotel.

As an overall conclusion, the hotel is good and I rate it 8 on a scale from 1 to 10. The prices are OK and are worth it for the services they offer. I recommend a visit.

Take care,
Geo

Mozart Hotel in Vienna

Contact details:
Address: Julius-Tandler Platz 4, A-1090, Vienna.
Phone: + 43 1 317 15 37
Link: http://www.hotelmozart-vienna.at

The Mozart Hotel 3* was our host for the first part of our Vienna trip last summer.
We arrived there on July 31st and stayed for 3 nights. Prices via travel agency were 54 EUR/night for a double room and 85 EUR/night for a triple room, breakfast included. We sat in room 506 and our window view was towards the inner yard of the hotel.

The hotel was OK, but compared to others we have experienced, it wasn't the best. I would give it a 5 out of 10. We have no pictures to show you so it didn't impress us too much. Vienna is a grand and elegant city and Mozart Hotel despite its name doesn't breath that elegance unfortunately.

Pluses: pretty clean rooms, clean breakfast room, nice ambiance for breakfast, food offer for breakfast quite OK, nice service at the Reception and for breakfast, staff speaks decent English, hotel is close to a train station, hotel is close to a subway station, some decent restaurants and supermarkets around.

Minuses (unfortunately more than pluses):
- breakfast was the same each morning, no new options;
- one of the Reception guys offered us a strange deal to help us with parking - we refused; he didn't mention any car parking options that we found out later: http://austria-travelling.blogspot.ro/2012/02/parking-in-vienna.html
- we had internet only in the lobby of the hotel;
- each morning at 6 am there were loud noises in the inner yard of the hotel below our window - they were cleaning the garbage dumpsters; we had to wake up every day because of that;
- the view wasn't very nice - the old, boring building - our window was on the inside;
- we asked for a triple room and they had changed a double room into a triple by adding an extra bed; the bed was so large that all 3 beds covered around 70-80% of the entire surface of the room; we barely had any space to move around with our luggage;
- hotel has no parking;
- rooms offer no fridge, tea or coffee making facilities inside the room, or minibar. It would have been nice though I have no idea if other 3* offer it or not; I had that in Katowice Poland (Hotele Diament), but it was 4*;

As an overall conclusion, the hotel is OK if you are going to spend all your day outside and are not too demanding. If you expect luxury and great services, search for another one. I expected more for a 3 * hotel in Vienna.

Take care,
Geo
 
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