Europe

Checking in to London’s Greenest Boutique Hotel - Qbic Hotel

Last November, Andrew and I set off on a four week, seven country adventure to visit and capture Europe’s Christmas markets with Urban Adventures. London was our last stop, and, for a couple of reasons, it was the destination I was most excited about.

My mom is from England, so, I’ve visited London a couple of times before with family, but, on both occasions, I was barely a teenager. I was old enough to like the city… but I wasn’t really old enough to appreciate it.

This time around, things were really different. I was excited about revisiting London, but was also looking forward to visiting my family there. It was the first time in my life I’d be visiting them by myself, and also the first time I’d be entering the UK on a British passport!

I was also pumped for our London trip because we were going to be staying a couple of nights in one of the coolest areas… at the city’s most eco-friendly (and cutest) boutique hotel - Qbic Hotel London.

London's Greenest Hotel - Qbic Hotel | HallAroundtheWorld

About QBIC Hotel London

The Vibe + mission

In one word, Qbic Hotel is super cozy. Picture your typical, stuffy, corporate chain hotel… and then think the exact opposite. I was a big fan of their trendy decor, art filled walls, and the staff’s laid back and welcoming attitude.

Qbic says, “We use local, innovative designers to create refreshingly different interior design that is authentically unique and holds an inspiring story.”

They are dedicated to reducing their environmental impact and support eco-friendly charities in the local community. One of these is Cafe Art, London based initiative that aims to reconnect people affected by homelessness with society through Art. Qbic showcases some of the artists work in their hotel and has even given Cafe Art a space to run the charity in the hotel’s basement.

London's Greenest Hotel - Qbic Hotel | HallAroundtheWorld
London's Greenest Hotel - Qbic Hotel | HallAroundtheWorld

From the solar panels on the roof to their use of chemical free cleaning products, at Qbic Hotel, being “green” is more than just empty words or a marketing slogan.

They provide guests with organic toiletries and natural, organic beds made from sustainable and renewable resources. They also offer free bike rental and encourage guests staying two or more nights to conserve water and energy, by skipping room cleaning (in exchange for a free drink at the bar). Qbic Hotel believes this incentive will encourage guests to make greener decisions.

Though their aren’t in-room coffee makers, each floor is equipped with a free coffee and tea area. You won’t find any plastic water bottles here. Instead, guests are provided with free filtered water in their room’s refillable glass bottle. Qbic hotel also uses sustainable, re-usable metal straws instead of single-use plastic straws.

London's Greenest Hotel - Qbic Hotel | HallAroundtheWorld
London's Greenest Hotel - Qbic Hotel | HallAroundtheWorld
London's Greenest Hotel - Qbic Hotel | HallAroundtheWorld

The rooms

Compared to other hotels in, our room at Qbic smaller. We didn’t have all of the bells and whistles you might find in other hotel rooms, but, we found that we did have everything we needed.

I was pleasantly surprised by the sleek, modern, clutter free design of the room, and impressed by the rooms defining wall art and highly efficient reusable pod that stood center-stage.

The “Qbi pods” in each room are sustainably built, aluminium pods that contain everything you need in a fully functioning hotel room… and I mean everything from the bed, tv, lights, outlets, and USB ports to the toilet, sink, and waterfall shower. It’s such a genius and innovative concept.

Guests have the choice of a smart room, cosy room, or a fun room. So, what’s the difference?

If you’re looking for a crashpad where you can get a solid nights sleep, go for a window-less smart room. If you want a bit of daylight, go for a cosy room like we did. If you’re travelling with two or three people and want a bit more space, go for one of their larger fun rooms (complete with a couch).

London's Greenest Hotel - Qbic Hotel | HallAroundtheWorld
London's Greenest Hotel - Qbic Hotel | HallAroundtheWorld
London's Greenest Hotel - Qbic Hotel | HallAroundtheWorld

Motley Bar + Restaurant

Motley, Qbic’s in house restaurant and bar, is popular amongst travellers and locals alike.

They offer breakfast, brunch, lunch, and dinner throughout that week and several delicious options for sharing (…or keeping to yourself). Their menu has lots of healthy, vegetarian friendly dishes made from seasonal, sustainable, and locally sourced produce.

The restaurant and bar was always pretty quiet during lunch (and at 5am when I took the photos below), but it got really busy after working hours. We stayed here during the week, so it was a great spot to grab a bite to eat and get some work done, but it’s probably much busier for brunches on the weekend!

Hours

BREAKFAST: Mon-Fri 7:00-10:30 Sat-Sun 8:00-11:00

BRUNCH: Sat-Sun 11:30-15:00

LUNCH & DINNER: Mon-Fri 12:00-22:30 Sat-Sun 15:30 - 22:30

BAR: Sun-Wed 16:00 - 00:00 Thu-Sat 16:00-2:00

Click here to view Motley’s various menus.

London's Greenest Hotel - Qbic Hotel | HallAroundtheWorld
London's Greenest Hotel - Qbic Hotel | HallAroundtheWorld
London's Greenest Hotel - Qbic Hotel | HallAroundtheWorld
London's Greenest Hotel - Qbic Hotel | HallAroundtheWorld

Rates + Booking

To check current rates or to book your room at Qbic Hotel London, use the search bar below!

Booking.com

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London's Greenest Hotel - Qbic Hotel | HallAroundtheWorld
London's Greenest Hotel - Qbic Hotel | HallAroundtheWorld
London's Greenest Hotel - Qbic Hotel | HallAroundtheWorld

The Best Mexican Cuisine in Malmö - Eatery Social Taquería

I’m a huge sucker for Mexican food…

…and I mean HUGE. I’d eat guacamole everyday if I could, but, unfortunately, avocados are pretty freakin’ expensive.

When visiting Malmo for the first time last September, I was excited to quickly find a place where I could get my Mexican food fix - Eatery Social Taquería at the Clarion Malmö Live Hotel.

Despite coming across the place at the end of last summer, it wasn’t until recently that Andrew and I actually went to try it… and now we kind of can’t stay away.

The Best Mexican Cuisine in Malmö - Eatery Social Taquería | HallAroundtheWorld


“Mucho Mas Que Una Taquería”

Eatery Social Taquería is, as their slogan suggests, “Much More Than a Taco Restaurant.”

They serve up some seriously tasty tacos, yes… but they also offer guests an awesome atmosphere. Eatery Social is the perfect spot for any occasion - whether you are grabbing a quick bite and after work drinks or celebrating something special.

Created by Marcus Samuelsson, the restaurant’s dishes are influenced and inspired by the food and cultures of Mexico, Manhattan, Peru, and Scandanavia.

Samuelsson, an Ethiopian Swedish chef has been cooking his whole life. On his personal website, he says, “My mission with each project – whether it be a new restaurant, book, or TV show – is to celebrate the food, the culture, and hopefully inspire others to be adventurous, learn something new, and get cooking!”

Read more: About Marcus Samuelsson

At Malmo’s Eatery Social Taquería, Latin American flavors are combined with a local twist to make unique and delicious foods. It’s also pretty freakin’ cute.

The Best Mexican Cuisine in Malmö - Eatery Social Taquería | HallAroundtheWorld


Food + Drinks

For starters, we always get the nachos. They are served with salsa and guacamole, which for me is a no brainer because avocados… duh.

You might find your main course decision to be a bit more tricky because they have SO much to choose from.

If you’re hungry, go for a sharing platter. On our last visit, we got the chicken fajitas and, I kid you not, Andrew said “OMG THIS IS SO GOOD,” every other bite. It was WAY too much for the two of us - so unless you’ve got a big appetite, I’d suggest bringing a friend (or two).

If you’re in the mood for something smaller, try the tacos. It is a taqueria afterall!

The tacos are served in pairs and are quite filling (but not TOO filling). You should be left with just enough room for some guac and dessert. They have five different styles to choose from, but my favorites so far are the Pineapple Pork Tacos - (full disclosure… they’re also the only ones I’ve tried… When you find something THIS delicious, it’s hard to switch it up).

It wouldn’t be a trip to a Mexican Restaurant without a good ole’ adult beverage. Grab a Cerveza or one of their delicious cocktails. We got the Mexican Bulldog because it was Friday… and, if I were you, I’d maybe save this one for the weekend. Go for a regular margarita if you don’t want a pounding headache. Turns out, we can’t throw em back like we used to.

We somehow managed to save some room for dessert, and decided to try the Chocolate Y Jengibre and the Coco Pannacotta, but we both preferred the first - hands down. The sweetness of the white chocolate and sour flavors of the lime jelly complimented each other really well... But don’t take my word for it… go try it for yourself!

Check out their full menu here.

The Best Mexican Cuisine in Malmö - Eatery Social Taquería | HallAroundtheWorld
The Best Mexican Cuisine in Malmö - Eatery Social Taquería | HallAroundtheWorld
The Best Mexican Cuisine in Malmö - Eatery Social Taquería | HallAroundtheWorld
The Best Mexican Cuisine in Malmö - Eatery Social Taquería | HallAroundtheWorld


Brunch

Yes, you read that right… They also have brunch (but only on Sundays)!

BOTTOMLESS brunch - complete with Mimosas and Bloody Marys. Which is basically a combination of all my favorite B words… Breakfast Beverages and Bottomless Brunch.

I have yet to try it for myself, but, if it’s anything like their dinner, it must be pretty dang good. The next time I have a Sunday off, you know where to find me… Or maybe you don’t know where exactly to find me… which is why I conveniently listed the location and hours below!

Location + Hours

Eatery Social Taqueria is located at the Clarion Malmö Live hotel.

Their address is Dag Hammarskjölds torg 2, 211 18 Malmö

Dinner Monday–Saturday 17:00-23:00

Bar Monday–Thursday 17.00 – 23.00
Friday-Saturday 17.00 – 00.00

Bottomless Brunch at Live Every Sunday 12:00-16:00

Reserve a Table

Given that I’ve yet to see this place on a slow night, it’s pretty safe to assume that it’s generally always packed. The restaurant is really popular among hotel guests and locals alike. If you don’t reserve a table ahead of time, chances are you’ll either end up waiting for hours, or you may not get a table at all.

Avoid the uncertainty and reserve your spot… especially if you plan on going for their bottomless Sunday brunch!

Have you been to Eatery Social? What’d you think?

Let me know in the comments below!

The Best Mexican Cuisine in Malmö - Eatery Social Taquería | HallAroundtheWorld

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The Best Mexican Cuisine in Malmö - Eatery Social Taquería | HallAroundtheWorld
The Best Mexican Cuisine in Malmö - Eatery Social Taquería | HallAroundtheWorld
The Best Mexican Cuisine in Malmö - Eatery Social Taquería | HallAroundtheWorld

A Night Behind Bars in Ljubljana - Checking in to Hostel Celica: Slovenia's Prison Turned Hostel

I never imagined I’d be spending the night in a Slovenian jail cell

I also never thought I’d be doing so willingly… that is, until I started planning our trip to Ljubljana and discovered that the city is home to Hostel Celica - an ex prison turned hostel. Then I was all like, “A night behind bars!? SIGN ME UP!!”

For a unique accommodation experience during your visit to Slovenia’s capital, you have to stay a night or two at Ljubljana’s former prison - Hostel Celica.

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History + Transformation

In the 1880’s, “Hostel Celica” was a prison…

…and it remained a prison for over 100 years.

In 1991, the building was abandoned, and local artists began trying to formally obtain the empty premises. They wanted to preserve the building, and, in doing so, to preserve a piece of Ljubljana’s history. These artists were strongly opposed by the local government who answered their attempts by trying to have the building demolished in 1993.

Nearly 10 years later, the city finally approved creative plans to transform the building into a youth hostel in 2001. For the next two years, more than 80 local and international artists collaborated to transform Hostel Celica into the beautiful, eclectic work of art that it is today.

In 2003, they welcomed their first guests, and, today, it is the most awarded hostel in Slovenia.

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Not Your Average Hostel

Yes, Hostel Celica does have your standard hostel common areas like a bar/cafe, and various lounges… but it also has an on site Art Gallery featuring monthly exhibits by local and international artists, a unique, spiritual room called the Point of Peace, and, in the basement, you’ll find the Museum of Confinement.

POINT OF PEACE

The Point of Peace is the only jail cell in Celica which has had the bars removed from windows and doors. This symbolizes openness and acceptance, a point that is further illustrated by what is actually in this spiritual room.

On their website, Celica says:

The Point of Peace represents the meeting point of all travelers who want to get in touch with their spiritual side or just give themselves a moment of peace and quiet. There are 6 niches where each represents a world religion – Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Buddhism and Hinduism. The sixth one is left empty and opened for any other religion, your own belief.

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MUSUEM OF CONFINEMENT

If you’re bold enough to wander downstairs to the Museum of Confinement, you’ll see the prison’s old solitary confinement cells and can learn more about Celica’s dark history. The location of this museum in relation to the point of Peace and third floor common room also has an interesting, symbolic meaning:

The solitary confinement cells, which are part of the museum, are located right under the Point of Peace, which rises up into the lightest point of the building, the common room. The vertical symbolizes how the old prison building opens itself from its darkest corner into its lightest point.

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Be sure to check out all of these spaces to learn more about the property’s history and evolution over time.

Read more now: Hostel Celica - More Than a Hostel

Room (aka cell) Options

Sold on a stay at Hostel Celica? GREAT!

…Now you’ve got a pretty wide variety of room options to choose from. Stay solo in a private room, or bunk up with a few cell mates in one of Celica’s dorms.

For the full experience, I recommend spending a night behind bars in one of their 20 cells.

These cells were transformed by artists during the prison’s transformation, and each one has its own unique story and concept.

We stayed in Cell 116, “The Eye”… which was pretty cool, but there’s one catch… you can’t choose your specific cell - and theres a meaning behind that too.

Guests are assigned the cells at the moment of booking and cannot choose them according their tastes or wishes… The same way the prisoners could not choose theirs back at the time - A nice element of surprise, completely free of charge.

Read more about Cell 116’s concept and check out the other cells here.

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Property Perks

Hostel Celica offers several property perks…

…in addition to all of the unique aspects mentioned previously.

Their check in desk is open 24-hours a day and the ground floor has a common space, cafe, and bar where you can pay small, reasonable prices for meals, drinks, and their buffet breakfast. Upstairs, you’ll find another lounge, a shared kitchen, and laundry area.

Hostel Celica also offers bike rental, city maps, and a variety of trips and tours.

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What’s in the Neighborhood?

To put it in short… a WHOLE lot of art.

The hostel is located right in the middle of Metelkova Mesto, an autonomous social centre in the centre of Ljubljana. Think Copenhagen’s Christiania Freetown… except smaller.

Before the renovation and transformation of Hostel Celica began, the abandoned barracks and prison were occupied by artists trying to preserve the area. Today it is arguably the most successful Urban Squat in Europe.

The entire area is filled with murals, quirky art installations, and museums. It’s pretty deserted in the day time… but once the sun goes down, Metelkova Mesto comes to life.

Read more about Metelkova here or visit their website to stay up to date on upcoming exhibitions and events.

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Booking

To check current rates or book your cell at Hostel Celica, use the search box below.

Booking.com

What’s the most unique hostel you’ve ever stayed at? Let me know in the comments below!

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Quick Guide to Kraków: What to See + Do + Eat

Last December I travelled to Kraków, Poland for the first time, and though my trip was initially to visit the city’s Christmas market, I was pleasantly surprised by everything else Kraków had to offer... good food, rich history, and awesome street art to name a few.

If you’re into any of that, here are some attractions, eats, and neighborhoods that you won’t want to miss.


What To Do

explore the Old Town

A trip to Kraków isn’t a trip to Kraków without visiting the Old Town. It was on the first UNESCO World Heritage list in 1978... and for good reason. The Old Town is home to many of the city’s icons like St. Mary’s Basilica, the historic Town Hall Tower, Wawel Castle, and the largest market square in Europe.

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Wander the grounds of Wawel Castle

Though it’s definitely one of Old Town’s most touristy landmarks, Wawel Castle, & the iconic fire breathing dragon at the foot of the hill, are both worth a visit.

Local tip: a friend from Kraków told us the castle is best enjoyed from the grounds, so we decided against paying the admission to get inside. Whether you decide to go in or not, you should get there early to avoid crowds.

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Hunt for street art in Kazimierz

The Old Town is beautiful, but if that’s the only area you visit you’ll seriously miss out. Be sure to spend some time wandering around the Jewish Quarter of Kazimierz - this was one of my favorite spots in the city.

The area has an entirely different look and feel than the Old Town... which probably has to do with the fact that it used to be an entirely separate city.

I’m a huge sucker for hole in the wall bars, cafes, and street art... and Kazimierz has plenty of all of them.

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cross the Bernatek Footbridge

After exploring Kazimierz, head towards the Vistula River to the Bernatek Footbridge. This pedestrian + bike friendly bridge opened in 2010, but the love locks & gravity defying aerialists were added a bit later.

The bridge connects Kazimierz with Podgórze, another hot spot for good eats and drinks.

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What to Eat/Drink (and where)



If you visit Kraków in the winter, you’ll find lots of delicious foods to warm you up at the Christmas Market like pierogi or, the most traditional polish dish of all - soup.

You can get mulled wine served straight from the barrel, or switch it up with other hot drinks like beer and vodka. I was as skeptical at first, but, turns out, the hot ginger beer at @piwnicapodbaranami, a super cozy underground cabaret turned bar, is actually pretty delicious.

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Good food is everywhere in this city, but, if you’re balling on a budget like me, I wouldn’t recommend eating at the Main Square.

As a general rule, the further away you get, the cheaper meal prices will be.

Unless you’re grubbing on street food at the Christmas market, you’ll likely find delicious meals for much less in Kazimierz.

The pierogi pictured below is from Zielony Balonik (The Green Balloon). For a cheaper (delicious) alternative head to the Old Town Restaurant and Wine Bar. It’s just a short walk away from the Old Town and is easily my favorite place we ate during our time in Poland. Unfortunately, I don’t have any photos because… well, I was more focused on eating.

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Getting Around

The best way to get around Kraków is to WALK. Kraków is pedestrian friendly and most of the landmarks around Old Town are within walking distance.

Don’t feel like walking? You can also rent a bike or use the city’s public transit which operates 24 hours a day.

If you plan on taking buses or trams frequently, you may want to get a 2 or 3 day Krakow Tourist card (US$26 and $32 respectively). This card is good for airport transfer, unlimited public transport around the city, and will get you free admission to 40+ museums & attractions.

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Christmas Markets of Kraków



Have you been to Kraków? What is your favorite thing to do in the city?

Let me know in the comments below!


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Budapest’s Most Convenient Hostel - Pal's Hostel at St. Stephen's Basilica

On their website, Pal’s Hostel makes the bold claim that they are, “Not your average hostel.” After staying here myself, I can honestly say that this statement couldn’t be more accurate.

They say it’s because the hostel is actually a chain of dorms and apartments near St. Stephen’s Square… but I think their unique setup and prime location are just two of several defining characteristics that make Pal’s stand out from the rest.

If you’re travelling to Budapest (especially on a time limit), this is the best (and most budget friendly) place you could stay.

Here’s why.


Location

Voted 10th best large hostel worldwide in the 2018 Hoscar Awards, Pal’s is hands down the most conveniently located hostel I have ever stayed at… and I have crashed at my fair share hostels.

It is located so close to St. Stephen’s Basilica that you can literally see it from some of their properties. This is not an exaggeration.

This location puts the hostel a short walk away from Deák Ferenc tér - the metro station where Budapest’s three main lines intersect.

Staying in such a central location made it easy for us to make the most of our short time in Budapest and to see as much as we could.

Budapest's Most Convenient Hostel - Pal's Hostel | HallAroundtheWorld
Budapest's Most Convenient Hostel - Pal's Hostel | HallAroundtheWorld
Budapest's Most Convenient Hostel - Pal's Hostel | HallAroundtheWorld


privacy

In addition to its great location, Pal’s has a wide variety of room options ranging from mixed dorms and private rooms to ensuites and apartments. Thanks to their wide range of options, the hostel attracts a wide range of travellers. We saw families, older couples, backpackers, solo travellers and groups checking in and out.

Andrew and I opted for a private room in a shared apartment located in a building just across the street from the main reception building. Even though we were in the middle of the city (during the Christmas markets), our room was quiet and we had so much privacy.

It wasn’t just a place to sleep - I had a place to set up my classroom to teach online each morning, a kitchen to make our own meals, and, after a day of exploring, we could come back to chill and recharge, just the two of us.

There were a couple flights of stairs to get to the apartment - which isn’t exactly ideal for older, less mobile individuals (or for carrying our one shared suitcase - filled with lots of (my) winter clothes. Shout out to Andrew for carrying that sucker up).

The apartment had a living room, full kitchen, one other bedroom, and a shared bathroom. There were a couple of times that I had to pee or wanted to shower and had to wait because someone was in the bathroom… but this wasn’t a big issue.

It was a major upgrade from some hostel situations where the bathroom is either gross because it’s shared by too many people and not cleaned often enough, or you have to wait for ages. (Raise your hand if you’ve ever had to race for the shower while staying at a hostel. Not ideal. This was much better than that)


Social Atmosphere

Just because Pal’s offers guests more private room options doesn’t mean it isn’t a social hostel.

There are communal spaces located in the main building where you can get some work done or grab a free cup of coffee while mingling with your fellow travellers. They also host daily activities here like trivia nights, family dinners (featuring traditional Hungarian dishes), and even beer pong tournaments.

Budapest's Most Convenient Hostel - Pal's Hostel | HallAroundtheWorld
Budapest's Most Convenient Hostel - Pal's Hostel | HallAroundtheWorld

It definitely isn’t the most social hostel I’ve ever been to, since it’s so spread out… but, in my opinion, it’s nicer to have the option of attending events than to be bombarded by a loud party crowd when you just want some privacy or peace and quiet.

It was just the right amount of social… in that socializing was optional and not unavoidable… (I’m kind of a recluse sometimes… sue me).



Friendly Staff

Speaking of the social atmosphere, the people at Pal’s are pretty great, too… but I guess when you work at a place called “Pal’s,” you kinda have to be.

The staff was comprised of a fun and friendly group of people from all over the world. Many of them had been in Budapest for awhile, so they were able to give great advice on the best places to see in the neighborhood, around the city, and how to get there.

Budapest's Most Convenient Hostel - Pal's Hostel | HallAroundtheWorld

Fast Wifi

Since I work on the go, having a good wifi connection is crucial.

Some hostels are hit or miss when it comes to their high-speed internet, but in our apartment at Pal’s I had zero problems connecting and teaching my English classes online.



Clean and colorful

Some people may not care where they lay their head or what it looks like, but when I’m deciding on a hostel or hotel, I almost always make sure it meets these two bonus criteria.

Call me crazy, (extra, bougie, high-maintenance… whatever)… but there’s something special about staying in a place that’s visually appealing.

Pal’s is filled with colorful artwork and murals in its shared spaces… and when I say filled I mean these masterpieces literally cover the majority of the walls.

In my opinion, they could have done a little more with the interior decoration in the apartments… but they were clean, and that’s what matters most.

Budapest's Most Convenient Hostel - Pal's Hostel | HallAroundtheWorld
Budapest's Most Convenient Hostel - Pal's Hostel | HallAroundtheWorld



Affordability

As with anywhere, prices at Pal’s vary greatly depending on when you go, what type of room you choose, and how long you stay.

We visited at the start of December for the Christmas markets and found the costs to be significantly lower than comparable accommodations in the neighborhood.

Booking

Check current rates or book your room using the search box below.

Booking.com

Don’t forget to add your name to the wall!

Budapest's Most Convenient Hostel - Pal's Hostel | HallAroundtheWorld

What is the best hostel you’ve ever stayed at? Let me know in the comments below!

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Budapest's Most Convenient Hostel - Pal's Hostel | HallAroundtheWorld
Budapest's Most Convenient Hostel - Pal's Hostel | HallAroundtheWorld
Budapest's Most Convenient Hostel - Pal's Hostel | HallAroundtheWorld

Vienna's Most Instagramable Hotel - 25hours beim MuseumsQuartier

Last November, Andrew and I set off on a one month, eight country journey around some of Europe’s most beautiful Christmas Markets.

Our first stop was Vienna, where we had the pleasure of staying at the quirkiest, coziest, and most conveniently located hotel in the city - 25hours Hotel beim MuseumsQuartier.

25hours Hotel beim MuseumsQuartier - HallAroundtheWorld


ABOUT 25HOURS VIENNA

Located at the heart of Vienna’s 7th District, the 25 Hours Hotel beim MuseumsQuartier was a great home base for our three day stint in Austria. It also might be the most insta-worthy hotel I’ve ever stayed in.

From the lobby and guest rooms to the corridors and rooftop bar, you’ll find the entire hotel filled with colorful, circus themed wallpaper and vibrant vintage finds. The design team paid so much attention to detail when bringing this unique, dreamy hotel to life.

From what I could see, 25hours attracts a wide variety of guests ranging from young couples like Andrew and I to businesses travellers and families. Like their slogan suggests, we likely had one thing in common… We’re all mad here.

The property and design let off a cozy vibe, the staff was welcoming, the location was prime, and the food was delicious… All in all, I was a huge fan.

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WHAT’S IN THE BUILDING?

INSTA-FRIENDLY LOBBY

If you don’t take at least ONE photo of this lobby… why’d ya even come?

A Polaroid camera wall greets you in the entranceway, and, through the doors, the lobby is filled with a retro photobooth and loads of other vintage finds. As you can see in the photo below, we didn’t quite get the hang of the photobooth… but we did get three hilarious candids and one caught off guard butt shot out of it.

It’s almost worth coming here a bit before check in just so you have an excuse to chill in the cozy lobby for a bit. Unfortunately, we arrived so late that we were eager to drop our bags in our room and head straight for food.

25hours Hotel beim MuseumsQuartier - HallAroundtheWorld
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25hours Hotel beim MuseumsQuartier - HallAroundtheWorld
25hours Hotel beim MuseumsQuartier - HallAroundtheWorld

1500 Foodmakers

In our quest for food, we didn’t make it very far… because just through the lobby is an equally charming culinary hotspot.

When we walked in, we were greeted by a waiter who asked if we had a reservation - (yes, it’s that popular, and no…we didn’t). Thankfully they were able to squeeze us in, because we were absolutely famished.

With eyes bigger than our bellies we went for the Chefs special for two… a 4 course meal that is totally worth it if you’re willing to splurge a bit.

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See that three gelato dessert spread in the photo above? Well we each got one and it was phenomenal… especially the flavor in the middle.

I can’t remember exactly what it was - but it had hints of lime and mint and something else, and, in one word, it was HEAVENLY. So good, in fact, that Andrew attempted to steal mine, and then almost ordered a second.

1500 FoodMakers is also where 25Hours serves up its delicious buffet breakfast. We came here each morning during our stay to get our fill of coffee and grub before heading out to explore.

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Dachboden

If you’re looking for a good bar in Vienna, again, you won’t have to go far. Dachboden is 25Hour’s famous, in-house rooftop bar. Not pictured - the ridiculous amount of people here!

On the first night we tried to come here for a drink, it was full… on the second, it was booked for a company Christmas party… and on the third (and final) night, there, again, was nowhere to sit.

Though I unfortunately can’t personally speak about the quality of their cocktails, as I never got to try them myself… my friends who visited a couple of weeks later said they really enjoyed theirs. They must be doing something right to attract such a crowd.

I can only imagine how nice it is in the summer when the weather is warm and you can enjoy your cocktail on the terrace.

25hours Hotel beim MuseumsQuartier - HallAroundtheWorld

Mermaid’s Cave

Downstairs in 25Hours you’ll find the mermaid’s cave - a cutesy lounge/gym area. It’s the perfect spot for a quick workout or to relax after a day of exploring the city… if you’ve got the time… which we unfortunately didn’t.

I didn’t get any photos in the gym (because there were always people on it and I didn’t want to be a creep) but there was loads of equipment where you can get your sweat on.

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GET A ROOM

The lobby, restaurant, and rooftop bar can be enjoyed by anyone… but if you’re only in Vienna for a short amount of time, I’d highly recommend checking in and staying awhile.

We stayed in 25Hours M+ Room and were really impressed with the space, amenities, comfy ass bed, and incredible view of the Museums Quarter.

25hours Hotel beim MuseumsQuartier - HallAroundtheWorld
25hours Hotel beim MuseumsQuartier - HallAroundtheWorld
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25hours Hotel beim MuseumsQuartier - HallAroundtheWorld
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25hours Hotel beim MuseumsQuartier - HallAroundtheWorld

Other room options include the M Room, L Room, XL Room, Suite, and Panoramic Suite (which has an outdoor terrace and bathtub feature that I’m dying to soak in next time around).

Each of these options is decorated in its own unique way. Check out the 25Hours website to see which you prefer!

IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD

ADVENTURES ON FILM

Watch: Christmas Markets of Vienna

BOOKING

The bed was comfy, the vibes were good, the food was delicious, and the staff was great!

They loaned us umbrellas to take around town and extended our checkout when I got a last minute class booking… which was KEY - (fun fact: hotel rooms can double as classrooms).

Sold yet? ‘Cause ya should be. I honestly cannot recommend this place enough.

To book your stay click here or use the search box below.

Booking.com

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Vienna's Most Instagramable Hotel - Hotel Highlights HallAroundtheWorld
Vienna's Most Instagramable Hotel - Hotel Highlights HallAroundtheWorld
Vienna's Most Instagramable Hotel - Hotel Highlights HallAroundtheWorld

Life Update + 8 Things I Love About Living in Malmö, Sweden

As most of you may know, at the start of October, I moved to Sweden with my boyfriend Andrew. We tried the whole long distance thing a couple of times this summer, and let’s just say neither of us were a big fan.

The day after Rachel’s wedding, without much thought or preparation, I found myself on a one-way flight bound for Europe. Before long, we arrived in Malmö, a coastal university town in southern Sweden… conveniently located just a 30 minute train ride away from Copenhagen, Denmark.

Now, I know what this may look like… it probably looks a whole lot like me running around the world chasing the boy I love… and, yes, while that is part of it, there’s much more to the story.

When my initial residency application was denied (and put under what may potentially be a year long review process) we decided to say screw it and found an alternative… a very fortunate alternative - Getting my British passport.

 
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My mum is British, making me a British citizen by default, so the whole process of getting my passport was pretty straight forward. The most difficult part was making sure that all of the forms were filled out properly and the passport photos sized correctly, but after a stressful few days, it was submitted. A week later, my application had been received, processed, and I was sent my brand new, shiny, god send of a UK passport.

I say god send, because this passport is going to make things so much easier for me here in Sweden (until Brexit I guess… but that’s a problem for another day). I can travel freely between EU countries, I can legally work in Sweden, AND (here’s the best part) - I can go back to school for my masters - FOR FREE… (so you can bet money that I will be taking full advantage of that).

 
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All EU citizens can attend university in Sweden for free… and all Swedish citizens are actually given monthly stipends for attending school from the time they’re in high school.

Being from the states, this whole concept is completely foreign for me.

Most of my friends and I entered “the real world” with some serious college debt. We have been working since we could, and while this has given us lots of “experience” to put on our CV’s… (experience that doesn’t help much when it comes to landing a “real job” after graduating)… it also distracted us from the studies that should have had our full time and attention.

Sweden is getting the whole education thing VERY right. Once you’ve jumped through the governmental red tape, residents and citizens are actually offered a number of awesome benefits - universal health coverage, paid vacation, free Swedish classes, and maternity leave (maternal AND paternal).

…but those aren’t the only things they’re getting right here.

 
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I can’t speak much for the rest of Sweden, but, in no particular order, here are 8 of favorite things about living in Malmö after month one.


1. Fresh air

This is a biggie.

In Korea, the air quality in general is far from ideal, and it only got worse during yellow dust season. While living there, it seemed like I was constantly sick… due to the polluted air or perhaps my germ-infested classrooms.

It’s nice to go outdoors without feeling like I need to wear a mask… to take a deep breath of air that isn’t slowly killing me. A bit dramatic?? Maybe… but I cannot emphasize enough how great it is to live in an environment that doesn’t make me cough incessantly for weeks on end.

 
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2. Everyone speaks English

Well, maybe not everyone… but the vast majority. Though there is a bit of a language barrier, it’s nothing like what I experienced in Korea.

Not only does just about everyone here speak English… just about everyone I’ve met is bi or tri-lingual. I fully intend to do my best to get on their level.

Even though I could totally get by on English alone, I have been trying to learn how to speak Swedish… starting with the essentials - foods. Jag älskar mat - (translation: I love food).


3. Sunsets by the water

When I attended uni in the little coastal town of Wilmington, North Carolina, one of my favorite things to do for sunset was going for a run down to Wrightsville beach or alongside the Cape Fear River.

In Korea, I frequently enjoyed sunset runs and river beers by the Han.

I was happy to find that these were traditions I wouldn’t have to give up after moving to Sweden. From Västra Hamnen to Ribersborg, there are so many beautiful places to enjoy sundown by the water in Malmö.

 
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4. FIKA

Aaah, fika. A Swedish noun/verb with no direct English translation.

Basically, it means to have a coffee break… but fika is more about socializing than getting your caffeine fix.

Best paired with something sweet and good company, this daily break is a Swedish custom that I can definitely get behind… and thanks to fika, there is no shortage of cute cafes to choose from, (which I was happy to discover, since cafe hunting was one of my favorite weekend activities in Seoul).

With unlimited coffee (for about $3) and an attached plant shop, Atrium Kaffe Bar is definitely my favorite spot for fika so far.

 
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5. It’s easy to get around

In North Carolina, having a car is a necessity… but here in Malmö that’s not the case.

In it’s Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan, the city says “Walking, cycling and public transport are the first choice for all who work, live or visit Malmö. These travel choices, together with efficient and environmentally friendly freight and car traffic, are the basis of the transport system in our dense and sustainable city - a transport system designed for the city, and for its people.”

While, yes, there are times when it would be nice to have a car… like when we bought our Christmas tree and then carried it all the way home… it definitely isn’t essential (making it one less expense residents need to worry about).

It’s affordable, easy, and safe to take advantage of the city’s public transportation and well kept bike paths. As a matter of fact, Malmö has been named one of the most bike friendly cities in the world. I guess I have all the cyclists to thank for the fresh air.

Pro tip: Look both ways before crossing the bike path.

 
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6. Diversity

Before moving here, Andrew told me that all of the girls in Sweden are tall, blonde, with huge boobs. Needless to say, I was happy to find this was not the case.

Though I have been in some areas where Andrew and I were the only two brown haired people there… this hasn’t been very frequent. It’s a nice change of pace… as, in Korea diversity was a bit… well… lacking.

A Diverse community means diverse foods.

…and you already know how much I love food.

People at home asked me, “What do Swedish people eat?” and other than meatballs, I honestly had no idea.

Turns out, Swedes have their own traditional foods and drinks like anyone else, but for the most part, I’ve found the food choices here to be really diverse.

Believe it or not, here in Malmö, I’ve found myself eating more falafel and kebabs than anything.


7. Being closer to family

…my family and Andrew’s family.

After years of being 7,000+ miles away, it’s nice to have people who treat me like a part of the family just a short train ride away. Family meals and gatherings are something you really miss after living on your own for awhile.

I’m also closer than I’ve ever been to my family in England and Ireland… a proximity which I plan to take full advantage of very soon.


8. International day-trips

Remember how I said Copenhagen was just a 30 minute train ride away? Well, this is something we’ve taken advantage on more than one occasion since I moved here.

From Malmö, it’s so simple to make a little day trip to Denmark… so simple, that this weekend, we even went over one evening just for a concert. It feels like a little vacation… but it actually takes less time to get there than it used to take for me to drive to work in the states.

 
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there’s a lot to love about living in Malmö.

So far, it’s been a bit of an adjustment process in a very unexpected place… (long-term, solo life in Asia will do that to you I guess) but in a positive way.

Though I hardly have life here all sorted out, I’m really enjoying this journey I’m on, and am loving that it brought me to Sweden.

Month two is shaping up to be a pretty exciting one… though a big chunk of it won’t even be spent in Sweden. I’m so excited for new opportunities and adventures, and to share them all with you as this chapter in my life unfolds.

What do you love about Malmö? Let me know in the comments below!


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