Tag Archives: hotels

Family-Friendly Accomodations in Vienna

Q. I’ve got some friends coming to visit in 2 weeks and they are looking for somewhere to stay for a family of 4. Does anyone have any have any hotel recommendations that cater to or accomodate two young kids? (Posted 10/26/2012)

A. A friend used a VRBO (Vacation Rentals By Owner) apartment awhile back. Also check out www.sleeps5.com – we’ve had good luck with them.

Aquapulco – Die Piratenwelt

Aquapulco (aka, Pirate World) is part of the Eurothermen Resort in Bad Schallerbach, about 2 1/2 hours away from Vienna. The resort does have more typical resort offerings such as a spa, but our four year-old son wanted nothing more than a pirate adventure for his birthday this year. And visiting Pirate World certainly is an adventure!

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The resort complex seems dauntingly large when you first drive in, but rest assured that even if you have to park in the furthest lot available (as we did), it is only a five minute walk to the entrance of Aquapulco. We opted for the family day pass so we would not be rushed to get the kids in and out of the pool, which cost EUR 60.  This proved wise because our children, who normally tire after an hour of swimming, ended up swimming for over three hours.

After you pay the cashier, you turn to the right and enter a locker room that is utilized by all three attractions located in the building. (I mention this because it was not immediately obvious.) Despite being the only locker room for the building, there were only five changing cabins. This leads to my first warning: be prepared for nudity. The entrances to the shower/WC area and Pirate World were clearly marked throughout the locker room and there was no further confusion on where to go.

Pirate World itself is a child’s wonderland: it’s an indoor swimming complex slightly larger than Dianabad with a pirate theme. There is a large pirate ship for the kids to climb on, water cannons to shoot, wave tunnels that lead to buried pirate treasure (for the observant), and several water slides in varying degrees of scariness. Every hour there is some sort of show: we witnessed a light and music show, a smoke show, and a slightly disturbing show that involved a staff member dressed as a monkey and dancing to a German-language pirate shanty.

Most exciting for our entire family was the option to follow one of the wave tunnels to an outdoor pool. Despite it being February with snow and ice on the ground, the outdoor pool boasted steaming bath-like water. I think the pool was fed from a thermal spring, but I could be mistaken. My children spent a large amount of time at the outside pool, happily climbing out and jumping back in because there were no staff members to yell about it. This leads to my second warning: this pool proved to be, uh, irresistibly romantic to the teenagers once the sun went down.

My kids swam up quite the appetite, and luckily Aquapulco has a large self service restaurant. There were children’s meal boxes with food such as hot dogs and chicken nuggets, as well as a grill with “adult food.” The cafeteria also had a large pasta buffet, salad buffet, ice cream stand, dessert bar, and all manner of drinks, including beer on tap. All you had to do to pay was swipe the arm band that you used to lock your locker, so there was no need to carry cash around the pool. One last warning: you are supposed to wear a bath robe or towel when you sit in the restaurant, so don’t leave the pool area without one of these.

You can stay overnight at the resort, but the price tag (ca. EUR 250, which includes breakfast and admission to Pirate World) was a bit steep for us. We opted to stay instead at Hotel Gösser Bräu located in Wels, a 15-minute drive from the resort. The hotel itself was quite nice — clean room, dogs allowed, great breakfast — but it was located on a busy street, and only our worn out children were able to get a good night’s rest. If we were to do this again, we’d likely look for a room in Greiskirchen. It is also only about 15 minutes from the resort, but it looked like a much quieter village.

for more information:

  • Visit Aquapulco’s website.
  • Visit Eurothermen Resort Bad Schallerbach’s website.

Mailberg

My in-laws were so interested in our overnight stay at a castle for my daughter’s birthday, that I arranged for us to stay overnight at a different castle during their recent visit. This time we stayed in Mailberg, a village in Austria’s Weinviertel about an hour north of Vienna and very close to the Czech border.

Schloss Mailberg

Schloss Mailberg

There was a decent-size playground a two-minute walk from the castle’s property, which is where we began our visit. After the kids ran out their excess energy, we walked around the town. The town was small and the walk didn’t take long, but it was interesting to see what an old wine-making village looked like. The village was surrounded by vineyards, and between the sunshine and the newly-bloomed flowers it was a beautiful walk.

Mailberg

Mailberg

We had lunch at Weingut Hagn, which served the wine it produced along with some exceptionally delicious food. The outside patio was at the foot of their vineyards, and the kids had fun running through the vineyards and checking out things such as the old wine press. We finished our day by walking on a path that began on the outer perimeter of the castle’s wall, then continued through a small wood and the open fields. It was a great, relaxing day.

That night we ate at the castle’s restaurant, Schlosskeller Mailberg (here is my description of what I had to eat there). The restaurant was located right outside the church, whose door was open for evening mass. We ate delicious food and washed it down with local wine while being serenaded by the boys’ choir. A great way to end the day!

The cost of the overnight stay at the castle included breakfast and a castle tour. When I made the reservations I mentioned that our German wasn’t great, so the staff arranged for us to have a private tour of the castle in English. The tour conveniently ended in the castle’s vinothek, where we could purchase any of the local wines featured on the castle restaurant’s menu.

Vinothek at Schloss Mailberg

Vinothek at Schloss Mailberg

for more information:

Drosendorf an der Thaya

Drosendorf an der Thaya is a walled medieval village located in the Waldviertel, about an hour and a half northwest of Vienna and almost directly on the Czech border. We visited the village and stayed overnight in its hilltop castle for my daughter’s second birthday.

Schloss Drosendorf

Schloss Drosendorf

We visited during the winter and there was not much going on, but we still had fun. There are signposts along the inside of the town wall that tell about what buildings used to be there and a little bit about the town’s history. Once we walked the inner perimeter of the wall, we walked through the village itself. It is a small village and it only took about half an hour to see everything, but the architecture was interesting and we enjoyed the walk.

Historic Drosendorf

Historic Drosendorf

Next we walked along the path that ran next to the outer perimeter of the town wall. Parts of it were narrow and I was convinced that my children would plummet down the hill, but we finished the walk unscathed. When the path entered the woods it widened, and the views of the Thaya and the newer part of Drosendorf in the valley below were amazing (even in the winter). This walk took us a couple hours, mainly because our children were playing around.

Path along the outer perimeter of the town wall.

Path along the outer perimeter of the town wall

The castle had a restaurant that served only pizza, but after a full afternoon of walking in the cold a warm pizza (and nice bottle of red wine) hit the spot.  We brought my daughter’s cake and presents with us, and we set up in the castle’s community room. The room was kind of creepy, but the kids enjoyed running around and checking everything out. All in all, a happy birthday for my daughter and a fun weekend for us.

A few words about the hotel. Making reservations was exceptionally easy (an e-mail to the castle’s office and we were all set), and the room they gave us was massive. It was really two rooms plus an actual “water closet.” It had a TV and internet access, and the cost of the room included breakfast in what looked to be the castle’s former chapel. The room and breakfast cost us a total of 64 Euros — you really can’t beat that.

for more information:

 

Hotel search engines!

Here’s a fun little list of (hopefully!) helpful search engines to find the right accommodation for your trip around Austria and surrounding area. If you have additional suggestions, we are all ears so hurry up and send us a tip!

  • Private rooms & Bed & Breakfast – search here (German)
  • Staying at a castle or mansion – search here (English)
  • Child-friendly places around Europe (not in Austria…yet) – check out Smith & Family (English)
  • Taking the kids with you and you also want a vacation – check out the network of Kinderhotels (English)