When I travel I use Booking.com. I’m sure it’s a horrible corporate monster, but you can’t beat the ease of comparing cheap prices for cheap hotels in cheap destinations for cheap travelers.
One of the things I don’t like though is the way it always asks me to rate the place I stayed. Why should I? It takes time and effort and only helps them. If it’s a great place, my positive rating ensures that other people will snap it up and the prices will rise. If it’s a crappy place, why should I add to the cost of getting ripped off the time and energy to tell everyone else I’ve been had?
But they are relentless …
So here’s my rating of Sommerhotel Don Bosco. It cost me €760 for 16 nights, which is about $52/night.
My write-up is a bit more detailed than the typical review and certainly won’t be shared with Booking.com. This first image shows what is perhaps the room’s most crucial attribute: An empty wrapper of chocolate. This is what I ate in bed every night. I don’t know what this has to do with the hotel, but it is real fuckin’ decadent. Try it sometime and you will see. €1.99 for 70% bitter dark chocolate that is worth murdering someone for.
Next is the shelf above the desk. I include this to show what you need in order to live, in order of importance: Freud’s Introductory Lectures on Psychoanalysis, The Riverside Chaucer, 100% rye sourdough by Joseph Brot (€5.90/loaf), cream capsules for instant coffee, a jar of homemade preserves made by my buddy Damir, a jar of mustard, a jar of raspberry jam, butter, and instant coffee. If you need more than that, you need to lower your standards.
Next is the electric water pot. Cost me €16, highway robbery until you consider that a large cup of cappuccino runs €3.50, and basically all you do in Vienna is drink coffee and stare out the window all day anyway. Worth every penny.
Next is a cross. Every room should have this or a Gideon’s Bible to remind you that there is a dog, and he ain’t hangin’ out on no damn cross in no damn church, so neither should you.
Next is the soap dispenser in the shower. This is a combo shampoo, rinse, body soap, and sewage pipe de-clogger. It smells pretty strong and takes off your skin pretty good, too. Plus side: it comes with the room and doesn’t cost extra. Minus side: You run out of skin pretty quick.
Next is the shampoo/conditioner I bought for about €6. Although it is an outrageous expense, I made up for it by not eating the hotel breakfast, which cost €7 each morning, x 16=€112. Also it is fun to shop in the EuroSpar supermarket and try to decipher whether you’re getting shampoo, milk, or dog biscuits. A lot of the verbiage is the same.
Next is the sink, which you use a lot. This one is capacious and the water is hot. They didn’t provide bar soap, so I got some at the Spar for €1.79, but they did provide a hand soap that worked well for cleaning the mud off my shoes.
Next is the toilet, a way important feature of life in general. This one was well stocked with toilet tissue. I’m a TP minimalist so never got through my first roll, which was two-ply and well constructed to prevent the dreaded finger poke-through. They didn’t have a separate can for sanitary napkins, just little barf bags hanging on the radiator. Thankfully I’ve already gone through manopause so never used them. The toilet flushed like an outrushing tsunami, which was good for removing floaters. It also has a massive flush panel that you can stab in the night when you’re too lazy to turn on the light. There were two towels and a floor mat and they were adequate. The hand towel was good for cleaning my boots.
Next are these two hot/control knobs. I don’t know what they were for.
Next was the closet, which was massive. It had two sides, and I never came close to even filling up one. It was kind of lonely to look at and made me want to go shopping just to fill it up.
Next was a little shelf area, where I kept the coffee cup (€2.99 at Spar), the sunscreen I never used, and my shaving kit. The ledge in the bathroom was sloped so that everything fell off. At first this pissed me off but then I realized that it was just encouragement to have less shit. So I tossed my eyebrow pluckers, nostril shaver, facial pack, hair mousse, nail polish remover, foundation, teeth whitener, and denture cleaning cup. See? There are few problems you can’t fix by simply throwing shit away.
Next was this little storage shelf under the bed. More reasons to shop.
Next was my pillow. Pillows are a big deal when you lie around all day, and this one was made for lying around. Big, fluffy, comfy, it could be molded into lots of different shapes and fit snugly under my head for nighttime reading, daytime reading, and 24-hour random napping.
Next were the sheets. They were soft and cottony, like the pillow, but the staff wasn’t big on changing them. In fact, they never got changed. I know because the chocolate skidmarks from day to day accumulated. There are worse things than sleeping on a bed of chocolate.
Next was the blanket. It looked meek but it was warm AF. It could unfold into a big ol’ blanket or stay folded up like a hot pack. I slept with the windows open not only because of Ol’ Bill’s serenading, but also because this blanket kept me toasty.
Next was this corner space area. You could stick all kinds of junk there, but I only had one or two kinds of junk so there was much space left over.
Next was a pretty righteous view out the window in both directions. People were on the street at all hours of the day, especially Ol’ Bill. In fact I saw him yesterday and learned the he is actually Ms. Ol’ Bill. You can’t beat a hotel where your get to hear people holler, argue, laugh, where kids are crying, TV’s squawking, music is playing, and people are dragging carts and suitcases over cobblestones so that it sounds like they are milling granite with a hammer. Plus it is across the street from a kindergarten and a free-range insane asylum.
Next is the door lock. Nothing automatic here, folks. You forget to lock it going in or coming out, and it’s gonna be open. I like the old-fashioned key.
Next was the hallway, which was quiet and didn’t smell like cigarettes or puke. Everything at Don Bosco was clean as a whistle.
Next was the elevator which I didn’t cotton to much. In the early days I only used the stairs but after I tore my Achilles in half I had to use it. It was slow and tiny and when other people were in it with you it was cramped. Of course I never use elevators when I can avoid them; they are for dead people. So it was humiliating to have to use it because you know everyone was all judgypants like “What’s that able-bodied man doing taking an elevator to the second floor? How lazy can you get?”
Next was the lobby. The office staff were crazy friendly, which I didn’t understand but appreciated, because in a lot of hotels they’re simply crazy to match the clientele. The lobby was pretty spartan which I liked a lot and it made me want to hang out there just because it was so minimally comfortable. But I didn’t because they already thought I was pretty weird.
Next was this shoe buffer. I really liked this because I had no shoes that were buffable and neither did any other tourists I saw. I like useless things that are stuck in a place to make it look fancier than it is is. They remind me of how dumb it is to put on airs. Nonetheless if I can ever get my feet back into them I will try to buff my boots.
Next was the lobby’s beer vending machine. That is pretty amazing and if I were still drinking I would pretty much live in the lobby. Can you imagine what it would be like to just buy beer after beer out of a machine while watching people walk by on the street? P-A-R-A-D-I-S-E. Then, once you are done, there’s a rack. I can imagine competitions with Boozy P. and Manslaughter to see who can fill it up first, and all of the people who would die trying to participate in the contest.
Well, that’s my review. It has been a great place and cheap which is redundant. Next time I come to Vienna I will stay here for sure.
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