A lounge. A dining table. A fully equipped kitchen. A private bathroom. When is a dorm room not a dorm room?
When it’s in Gartl Apartments Vienna.
I’d always wanted to check out Vienna, but for whatever reason I’d never managed to get there in my years of travelling and living in Europe. But living in Budapest means that I’m now situated no more than a two hour train ride away, presenting the perfect opportunity for a Wiener weekend.
The only problem, though, was with the city of Vienna herself. With Austria boasting one of the strongest economies in Europe, and being home the sort of architecture that A) exclusively houses five-star hotels and B) attracts more than its share of visitors, finding a reasonably priced slice of accommodation was going to prove challenging.
That was until Gartl Apartments popped its head up.
Starting at €18 for a dorm bed, Gartl Apartments offer what is perhaps the best priced mattress in town. But what sort of bang do you get for such a cheap buck? The answer might surprise you. Unless you read the first line of this review. Then it may not.
The Gartl Apartment name doesn’t lie. You truly get a little apartment, even if you’ve booked into a dorm. A kitchen, a lounge area and a pimping bathroom are there to utilise in both comfort and semi-privacy. It’s a unique take on the dorm concept, and one that anyone who has fought over the stovetop of a communal hostel kitchen is sure to appreciate.
The whole vibe of the place just really sung to me. It’s a family run property, and the homeliness really shines through. Everyone is incredibly friendly and helpful, and the scattering of pot plants, benches and throw cushions make the whole place feel like a big old sharehouse. The building itself oozes old world charm, with vintage staircases and old doorways leading to contrastingly crisp and fresh rooms.
Currently the dorms make up a far smaller slice of the Gartl Apartments pie than the privates, which share the clean, minimalist style of their six bed counterparts. But with prices starting from €50, the cost isn’t far off what you’d pay for two dorm beds anyway.
Gartl Apartments is also situated right next to the Längenfeldgasse metro station, just a couple of brisk stops from the ultra-fancy (and incredibly price-prohibitive) centre of old Vienna town, making the value that much more stunning. €18 for a comfy place 5 minutes from the centre, or €500 for something within? The choice is yours, Queen Elizabeth.
In short, from a backpacker dorm point of view, I’ve never really seen anything like Gartl Apartments before. And I’ve got to say, I’m a massive fan of what they’ve done. You get all the benefits of a dorm – the price and the social interaction – along with all the benefits of a fully-fledged holiday apartment – the ability to cook and relax unimpeded. If that was the design brief, they’ve absolutely nailed it.
Heading to Vienna and looking for an awesome place to lay your weary head? If you’re sick of the pokey, broken down, rowdy hostels that you presume are the only option, I’m here to tell you they’re not. Go to Gartl Apartments. I guarantee you won’t leave disappointed.