La Terre des Lauriers

The Joint

La Terre des Lauriers
Pont du Gard – Rive droite
30210 Remoulins


Cliff
La Terre des Lauriers

We stayed in one of their two gîtes — cottages — available alongside their B&B offerings. As you can see here in the pictures, the grounds are beautiful. I think clearly the best aspect of La Terre des Lauriers is its location — proximity not only to the Pont du Gard, but also within easy driving distance to large and small towns more than worthy of exploration, like Aix-en-Provence, Nîmes, Uzés, Castillon-du-Gard, and of course Avignon. The air conditioning was effective for the main bedroom, and that was nice on the hotter nights, but it would have been much better to equip all the windows with screens so that we could open them for cross-breezes without fear of bug attacks. We had to change the refrigerant for our air conditioner, we used the TDX 20, you can learn more about switching to tdx 20 here. Le Chalet might have been suitable, size-wise, for 2 adults and a couple of kids (in fact, that looks like precisely the configuration they were expecting) but for four adults, it was more than cramped.

Sarah
La Terre des Lauriers

The location was really ideal. We could be at the Pont du Gard in 15 minutes on foot. We were about the 10 minutes from town, as well, but the area we were in was very quiet and isolated. And, as Cliff stated above, the grounds were really lovely and our host, Gerard, was very kind.

Here’s the but: the accommodation left something to be desired. Given how immaculate the b&b and the other gîte were, our “cottage” looked and felt like a hasty add-on. We decided to stay in self-catering accommodation so that we would have access to a kitchen, but the kitchen was difficult to use – the stove consisted of a double hot-plate, there was no oven and the pans were falling apart. The bathroom was tiny but adequate, and the beds were comfortable with enough storage space for our clothes in the bedrooms. Overall, though, that unit is too small for four adults. We were constantly dancing around each other while getting ready in the mornings. If we were to return, I would not stay in this particular unit again.


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Hotel Sully Saint-Germain

The Joint

Hotel Sully Saint-Germain
31 Rue des Ecoles
75005 Paris – France

http://www.sully-saint-germain-hotel.com/

Sarah

We reserved this hotel due to the price, location and wireless connectivity. Well, two out of three ain’t bad. The price was fixed and the location (a short walk from the Maubert-Mutualité Métro station) was ideal. The design of the lobby and the rooms is quite attractive. The basic double room is fairly small by American standards, but has lots of storage space (closets and drawers, etc.).

Unfortunately, the promised internet was not accessible in the rooms. To use it, you had to bring your laptop and other materials down to the lobby, then jockey for position with the rest of the hotel guests set up for surfing. We like to bring our laptop with us to help with planning our outings, so reliable, room-accesible internet is important to us. We were a little disappointed on that score.

There were a couple of other odd occurrences. There was a brief power outage one evening – about 30 seconds with no lights. Not a big deal to us, but we did overhear another couple complaining to the concierge about another outage the previous evening that happened while the woman was in the shower. So I guess that happens with some regularity. Also, on the morning of our checkout, I couldn’t get the water temperature to cooperate. It started out normal, but then started switching between burning hot and freezing cold. It made rinsing my hair an adventure.

The breakfast included in our rate was adequate, except for the coffee (it was dreadful). The elevators are extremely small, so occasionally taking the stairs is the best option. Generally, it was a pleasant experience. It is by no means a luxury hotel, but as a place to sleep, shower and keep your stuff while you’re out experiencing Paris, the Sully Saint-Germain is a good choice.

Cliff

Sarah hit all the points I’d make. Location was the most important aspect for me — it’s an easy walk to the Ile de la Cité or the Louvre or just hop onto the #10 Metro line to get out to other parts of the city or a bigger train station.




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Vienna City Flats — Praterstr. 78

The Joint

Praterstraße 78
1020 Leopoldstadt
Vienna
Austria

web site

Cliff

Sarah found this place for us online and she did a great job. It’s just a hop (no skip or jump required) to the Praterstern (a.k.a. Wien Nord) train station, which last time (Thanksgiving 2006) was merely a tram and subway stop. Now it’s a full-service train station. Simply put, the location of this apartment was an ideal compromise between accessibility and price. It was well-equipped, meeting all our basic requirements:

  • shower consisting of more than just a hose in the tub
  • generous kitchen with stove and fridge
  • accomodations for four

My only beef: they had one of those IKEA sofabed things that rolls out to unfold into a mattress, but it was either broken or we couldn’t figure out how to get it to remain a couch — it kept rolling itself out (good idea, bad implementation).

Nice touch: offering to let us stow the luggage at the apartment while it was being cleaned after our check-out until departing Vienna later that day. Could have saved us luggage lockers and airport/train station schlep and hassle.

Sarah

I love the location of this place. Located right across the street from the spankin’ new Praterstern/Wien Nord U-bahn, tram and ÖBB station, it’s a great base of operations for getting out and searching Vienna. For our purposes, it was pretty well equipped and the landlord and administrator were easy to get a hold of for when we had questions. In light of what a generally nice apartment it was, the thing with the rolling couch was kind of disappointing.

The neighborhood that the apartment is in might be an issue for some people. It’s definitely not posh. It looks like there’s a good mix of native middle-class Viennese and immigrants. There were a few drunks and beggars wandering around (plus lots of drunks at the train station, but that’s kind of par for the course), but no more than would be expected for a major European city. There is easy access on foot to grocery stores, bakeries and pharmacies – plus the bonus of the nearby train station is that there is some shopping available on Sunday.

Hotel Lasserhof

The Joint

Lasserstrasse 47
Tel. +43-(0)662-873388
Fax +43-(0)662-8733886

Cliff

I am pretty disappointed with the Lasserhof. Last time I stayed here, with buds Potter and Gabe, when we did the Sound of Music tour back in November 2005, we thought the place was great. This time, we got stuck in a poorly-lit room with its only openable window in the bathroom. It’s pretty easy to get to from the train station and the pricing was reasonable, but maybe next time we’ll spend a little more and get a better place (the NH, with their 14€ breakfast buffet and 24-hour Sound of Music channel, comes to mind). More disappointments from Sarah’s perspective below…

Sarah

What the hell happened here? Cliff was nearly glowing in his review of this place from his first trip to Salzburg, so I was pretty excited about trying it out myself. The reservations staff was very helpful when I got conflicting information about availability back in February during the trip-planning stages. Check-in was a breeze, but after that things started to go wrong. The minifridges in the rooms weren’t actually cold, and yes, we did check to see if they were plugged in. What’s more, the TV in my parents’ room had a bad picture and the volume was unchangeable. And then the window issue in our room made it muggy and stifling. Plus, the guy at the desk gave my dad a hard time about getting a spare key for his room, however, I think this guy was just having a bad day, because he ALSO tried to give my parents’ room to some other guests. I managed to get the issue cleared up, but he wasn’t real pleasant about it. The breakfast was pretty adequate and other than the keymaster, the staff was very helpful and accomodating, but the cons outweigh the pros, so I don’t think we’ll be going back.

Little Texas

The Joint

Stradela Moara de Vant 31
Iasi, Romania 700376
Phone: +40.232.272545 Fax: +40.232.272545

http://www.littletexas.org

Oh my goodness. I never would have believed it, but this place has the best TexMex I’ve ever had in Europe. Bar none.

I am seriously thinking about trying out their hotel facilities on my next trip to Iasi instead of staying at the Hotel Unirea (my “usual” pad, you might say).

Apartment Ausstellungsstrasse

The Joint

Ausstellungsstraße 31
1020 Wien
Austria
Phone: +43-1-728 66 98
http://www.apartment.at/index_eng.php3/app/115/0/0/

Cliff

This was a fantastic apartment in a great location. My only complaint: the listing says it has an oven; if it did, we couldn’t find it. Generous fridge, beautiful interiors, and most of all, a very helpful, friendly, and informative landlord. I’d love to come back to Vienna and stay there again.

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Sarah

We are vocal advocates of vacation apartments over hotels when you’re staying for a few days in a certain area and when you’ve got 4 people (or more) all traveling together. It usually ends up being significantly cheaper (due to kitchen facilites and no housekeeping) than a hotel. Still, this place was a shock upon arrival. The apartment is HUGE! Not just in area, but volume, with gorgeous high ceilings. The landlord, from whom we picked up the keys, gave us a very thorough tour, several maps of the area and lots of great tips for the area (where’s the ATM, closest grocery store, etc.). Plus, it was on the European 3rd (American 4th) floor of a walkup building – great to work off those Viennese pastries!

NH Salzburg

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Franz-Josef-Strasse 26
A-5020 Salzburg, Salzburg
Phone: +43 662 8820410 Fax: +43 662 874240

http://preview.tinyurl.com/yl7cm9

Cliff

Sarah scoped a great price. Too bad it didn’t include breakfast. We found out only after chowing on it that it was €14 per person. Yowch.

Sarah

The price was pretty unbeatable (59€/night!) for the location, but finding out that breakfast wasn’t included was a nasty shock. But it was an awfully tasty and varied breakfast.

The hotel has a very sleek, modern lobby – somewhat japanese in style. This was kind of misleading when it actually came to the rooms themselves. They were plenty comfortable and the bathrooms (my personal obsession) were very clean with good water pressure. But there was nothing of the style from the lobby.

A big bonus here is that they have a fitness and sauna facility for all guests to use. Make sure you go down to the sauna already in a robe and carrying your towel – there’s no private changing room down there!

Hotel Unirea

The Joint

Piaţa Unirii
Street No. 5 Code 700056
Iaşi, România
Phone: +40-(0)232-20.50.00 Fax: +40-(0)232-20.50.26
http://www.hotelunirea.ro/unirea_hotel.php

This is a great hotel. I’ve stayed here twice now. It’s beautiful inside, and as beautiful outside as can be expected, I guess. My only suggestion for improvement would be to make the non-smoking section of the mezzanine (breakfast room) larger. Romanians love them some tobacco — almost as much as the Viennese, it would seem!

Relais San Michele

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Localitá Cason Degli Ulivi 11
37010 Rivoli Veronese (VR)
ITALY
Phone: (+39)0457238142 Fax: (+39)0457238142

http://www.relaissanmichele.it/

Cliff

This was a terribly cute and pleasant stay, and a great breakfast the next morning as well. Too bad the location was so hard to find — good thing we arrived during daylight.

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Sarah

What an ordeal! This place was impossible to find, and I don’t think that’s the fault of the proprietors direction – more of a general note of caution for foreigners trying to drive in Italy. Once we found the place, we were pleasantly surprised by the eclectic décor and our lovely host, Niccolo. Unfortunately, the place seems to be across the aqueduct from a quarry. But that might go some distance to explaining the huge amount of lovely stone- and marble-work in our room and bathroom.

The price was great, but you have to have a car to get there. Since we won’t be driving in Italy again any time soon (if ever), we probably won’t go back. But we will recommend it to more adventurous friends.

Hotel-Pension im Klosterring

The Joint

Familie Lutz
Klosterring 3
78050 Villingen-Schwenningen

phone: +49 7721-8994-0
fax: +49 7721-8994-50

http://www.hotel-pension-im-klosterring.de/

Cliff

This place would have been just what we were looking for at the end of our road trip had it not been for the advertised WLAN connection that didn’t work (or at least didn’t provide a signal all the way up to the 3rd floor, where our room was). It was quiet and cheap and convenient to get to. The breakfast the next morning offered a nice spread of the usual items, too. We stayed there for 62 Euros total and quite enjoyed the water pressure in the shower (you can’t always count on good water pressure in European hotels — especially smaller, family-operated ones like this). No kidding, it works!

Sarah

This was our last stop on a road trip and I made the reservation the morning we set out for Villingen. The bar was set pretty low, since this was a last minute arrangement: clean room with shower and WLAN. Well, two out of three ain’t bad. The folks here were nice, the location is alright, but the room was very lackluster. I think the disappointment mainly came from the fact that Villingen was completely DEAD. It was Saturday night and there was no one out in the city center at ALL. Because of that, we ended up back at the serviceable-yet-boring B&B pretty early.