45 Second Cheap Hotel Advisor – Istanbul

Sphendon Hotel
Akbiyik Degirmeni Sk no:46
Istanbul, Turkey

That is the view from one of the two small rooftop terraces. It’s taken with a zoom but yes, this budget hotel is really that close to the Blue Mosque in Istanbul’s Sultanahmet district. Pretty nice, no?

The rooms were a bit small but comfortable, there’s free wifi throughout, and the breakfast (included) was quite good, a blend of western and local, with the emphasis on the local. All that, plus a very hospitable and welcoming staff, for 35 EUR/46 USD/night (I booked through venere.com).

What’s most appealing is the location, set on a quiet mostly residential street but less than a 10 minute walk from the Blue Mosque. Both the Grand Bazaar and the Spice Market/Eminonu Square were a leisurely 20 minute stroll away. Nearest tram stop is Sultanahmet (2 TL per ride), roughly midway between the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia, is also a 10 minute walk. There are plenty of cafes and restaurants just a short walk away as well.

It’s a bit difficult to find initially, so be sure you give your cab driver the exact address. Taxi ride to the airport (40 TL/16.50 EUR/22 USD) took just over 20 minutes in mid-morning but you should probably give yourself twice that.

Oh almost forgot: the wall surrounding the courtyard is 1600 years old.

(I stayed at the Sphendon for three nights, 12-15 March 2012).

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30 Second Cheap Hotel Advisor – Syros

Omirou 3
Ermoupolis, Syros, Greece

There are plenty of accommodations similar to this in Ermoupolis, so little need to devote 30 seconds to Paradise. It’s a good rule to always be wary of a hotel that describes itself so immodestly, but to be fair, this was perfectly acceptable, simple and clean. I was told that I could have done better in the off-season for 35 EUR/night [through Venere].

Just a five minute stroll from the Ermoupolis port exit, but on arrival it’s a little difficult to find. Once you navigate through the few alleys that lead you there, it’s easy to get oriented. Very close to everything in Ermoupolis, mainly because everything is close to everything in Ermoupoli. Simple breakfast included, but I took my morning coffees from various cafes along the port.

Syros 001 – Paradise, originally uploaded by pirano.

30 Second Cheap hotel Advisor – Paris

Hotel De La Paix
19, rue du Gros Caillou – 75007 Paris

I liked this place! Located on a pleasant and quiet street in an otherwise fairly lively neighborhood –a couple minute walk from the Parc du Champs de Mars, and perhaps 10 to the Eiffel Tower– it’s about as off-the-beaten-path as you can find in Paris.

Rooms are cozy, free wifi throughout, and an extremely pleasant owner and staff. There are plenty of bars/cafes in the vicinity that won’t break the bank, along with a few wines shops that will. Nearest metro is Ecole Militaire, and you can order a shuttle to De Gaulle Airport at the front desk (17 EUR, about 40 mins).

The hotel’s website is here; for Paris I generally book through venere.com.

I think I’ll definitely return.

Hotel De la Paix – Paris, originally uploaded by pirano.

30 Second Cheap hotel Advisor – Rome

Hotel Luciani
Via Milazzo, 8
00185 Rome, Italy

Luciani is one of the dozens (or perhaps hundreds?) of little hotels that appear in every nook and cranny near Rome’s Termini (main) train station.

A tiny room, Spartan bed, old bedstand, barred windows and rickety closet gave this place the feel of prison chic. But looks can be deceiving, since you are allowed to come and go as you please and you don’t have to share a shower. Breakfast –a pile of bread washed down with coffee from a cheap machine– lends itself nicely to the incarceration theme.

In fairness, you can’t expect much more in Rome these days for 50 EUR/night to enjoy 2-star comfort.

Upside? It’s less than a five minute stroll to platform 6 at the Termini station. Wifi is available, 5 EUR/6 hrs.

I will not stay here again.

Luciani – Rome, originally uploaded by pirano.

30 Second Cheap hotel Advisor – Milan

Cityhotel Central Station
Via Giovanni Battista Sammartini 15
Milano, Italy

True to its name, this place is a five-minute stroll from Milano Centrale Station. As you can see, I had a fairly large room, with a big window overlooking a boulevard through which I learned, among other things, that Milanese streetcleaners are particularly loud at 3:30 in the morning.

On the plus side? Free wifi (that doesn’t work everywhere) and the parakeet in the lobby with a firm command of English, Italian and Mandarin Chinese. And a decent and relatively inexpensive sushi joint a few doors away.

59 EUR/night for a single, w/private bath.

I’m never one to say never, but I shall (probably) not return.

Cityhotel Central Station – Milano, originally uploaded by pirano.

30 Second Cheap Hotel Advisor – Linz, Austria II

Wienerstrasse 404-408
4030 Linz

Stayed three nights (Jan-2008)

I kept calling this place Le Petit Munchen for no reason besides the odd way that my limited French seems to effortlessly roll off my tongue in German-speaking countries. Weird.

Small room, small bed, small bathroom, basic breakfast. 45 EUR/night ain’t much, but I was expecting something more. Big minus is the distance from the center of Linz, roughly 15 minutes by tram; two lines run from the corner of the hotel, so it’s convenient in that sense. Big plus was free wi-fi in each room.

There’s a restaurant on the premises, basic Germanic fare.

I’m never one to say never, but I shall (probably) not return.

kleinmunchen-linz, originally uploaded by pirano.

20 second cheap hotel advisor – Milan, Italy

Via Fabio Filzi 43
20124 Milan

Stayed one night, 27-Nov-2007

Great location, just about a five minute stroll from the Centrale station. Roomy, nice, comfortable; breakfast left a bit to be desired, but best of all, I got it through venere for just 35 EUR/night. Free wi-fi in the public areas and several rooms.

I shall (absolutely) return.

monopole-milano, originally uploaded by pirano.

30 Second Cheap Hotel Advisor – Linz, Austria

Ibis Linz
Kärntner Strasse 18-20
Linz, Austria

Stayed 1 night, 11-Sep-2007

Ibis standard fare, at 58 EUR/night a decent price, BUT breakfast is not included (9 EUR) and there is NO free wi-fi. The location is great, just a two minute walk from the main station.

I shall (probably/maybe) return.

[A variety of booking links]

Ibis Linz, originally uploaded by pirano.

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30 Second Cheap Hotel Advisor – Berlin

Motzstraße 7

Stayed 4 nights, 15-19-Sep 2007

Roomy! Airy! I really enjoyed this place. Great location, just a short walk from the Nollendorfplatz U Bahn stop, nice neighborhood, and a sushi place across the street run by a friendly Vietnamese. Big minus is no internet access, but there’s a cheap internet cafe (open 8 am to midnight) just up the street. With advanced booking, as low as 50 EUR/night.

I shall (absolutely) return.

[A variety of booking links]

Sachsenhof-Berlin, originally uploaded by pirano.

30 Second Cheap Hotel Advisor – Rome

Via Castelfidardo 51

Stayed three nights, 11-14 July 2007.

There’s no shortage of relatively cheap places to lay your weary head in the Italian capital. There seem to be hundreds of hotels and pensions just within a four or five block radius of the main Termini station. That’s always most convenient for me, and that’s where I look.

The Stella (60 EUR/night) is a leisurely 10-minute walk from Termini, close enough for convenience sake and just far enough to escape the loud bustle. Clean, if somewhat small rooms, polite and helpful staff (although they’ve yet to master the difference between Slovenia and Slovakia). The shower is tiny. You can check your email for free in a room next to reception. Breakfast is >very< basic, but enough to get you moving. The closest metro stops –Repubblica and Termini– are about a 10-minute walk away. There’s a decent pub next door, and a terrific “African” (read, Ethiopian) restaurant just around the corner.

I shall (probably/maybe) return.

Stella’s Venere.com page.