Face to Face with the Youth Hostel Nuremberg | Burg 2 | 90403 Nürnberg | +49 (0) 911 230936-0
At the Youth Hostel Nuremberg childhood dreams come true as you are staying in parts of a wonderful medieval castle. The former Imperial Stables were turned into a „Culture and Sight Youth Hostel“. These attributes already reveal a little of what you may expect: the view from the hostel as well as the hostel itself are absolutely stunning. Of course you don’t have to do without todays comfort, the hostel was completely redone in 2013 and all rooms, premises and equipments are more than modern state-of-the-art. Have a look for example at this spacious maisonette apartment with double (upstairs) and bunk beds (downstairs):
And most of the rooms kept some historic relics like a couple of amazing columns in this dorm:
Below you will see examples of what the floors and halls inside this amazing castle-hostel look like:
And voilà – this is the view out of the castle’s windows. Quite a room with a view I would say!
Besides great rooms and views the Youth Hostel Nuremberg has a lot more interesting venues and equipments to offer. For example their very special „home cinema“ where teachers can choose from lectures or presentations on topics related to Nuremberg and Germany’s history, for example the Nuremberg Rally or the Race Laws or Human Rights. Everything in this room works fully automatically, thanks to modern and easy to operate technology: darken the room, take in or out the screens and choose the films simply on a touch-screen. It is indeed as easy as this. Very impressive and highly recommendable!
Something else you will find all over the castle’s interior: various QR codes. Like the one on Anton Tucher shown below. The Tucher were a very important patrician family in Nuremberg dating back to the 14th century. By scanning the QR code with your mobile you can download an app that tells you all about the referring subject. Very interesting. While staying in Nuremberg you maybe come across a Tucher beer and then learn via the QR app how that came about. Give it a try!
The Youth Hostel Nuremberg is also the perfect choice if you organize a large event, the venues are perfect. Even our Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel gave a reception on the occasion of a Civil Dialogue at the Nuremberg Castle in 2015. It was held in the Youth Hostel’s wonderful „Eppelein Saal“:
Just have a look round the Youth Hostel and you will most certainly find a QR app that tells you all about knight Eppelein :-). Because I couldn’t tell you about him as well and humerous as Sigrid Natterer did. She is the Youth Hostel’s Manager (doing a fantastic job) and gave me a perfect tour of her wonderful castle. Here she is in front of the door that leads from the terrace – with a marvellous view again – into the Eppelein Saal:
Something else that entirely fascinated me were the different angles and perspectives on stairs within the castle. There are these historical stairs for example that were discovered during renovation (pic 1). Then there is this beautiful old flight of stairs (pic 2) and finally (pic 3) my favourite perspective down floor 9, into the eye of the staircase.
Last but not least I inspected the fabulous beergarden, where you can also enjoy breakfast or diner. That is such a cosy place for having a cup of coffee and feeling like a „Ritterfräulein“ (that’s German for damsel but I have to say that I much prefer the German word):
It was not really easy to return to reality and leave. But I finally had to say Good-bye to one of the most majestic and manorial youth hostels I have ever seen. Thank you SO MUCH, Frau Natterer, for the very nice meeting and the interesting tour – I will most certainly come back!
Thank you as well to the entire team of the Youth Hostel Nuremberg and to Daniel Pamin working at that very moment with the ASSD Software 🙂 – Danke und bis bald!
Happy Bed Hostel Berlin
Face to Face with the HAPPY BED HOSTEL | Hallesches Ufer 30 | 10963 Berlin | +49 (0)30 7933647
Arriving at the HAPPY BED HOSTEL one cannot enter the building straight away without having a second look at that beautiful red Happy-Bed-Trabi that welcomes every guest right in front of the hostel. Even in Berlin you don’t see this sort of car too often nowadays, neither it’s brother, the old „Wartburg“. Even better to have such a Beauty-Trabi in front of your hosts, which makes you feel HAPPY for the first time.
Entering the hostel at last and meeting some of the nicest people of Berlin makes you HAPPY for the second time. We had the pleasure to spend a little time with Hostelmanager Jana Schleske as well as Happy Bed’s Reservations Manager Andy Steikowski:
Not only did they show us round the hostel, they also told us a bit about HAPPY BED’s history. They feel absolutely at the right place with their hostel now after having spent a couple of years in Steglitz before. At Hallesches Ufer, they are in the middle of the very popular district Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg where everything is within one’s reach. Famous Potsdamer Platz is within walking distance as well as a number of historic landmarks and many museums. Although they are very centrally located, the hostel has so much space around the outside that there is no chance for getting into trouble with any neighbours. That certainly makes guests and locals HAPPY!
For getting the maximum of HAPPINESS you have to climb up to the top of the hostel. Up there, they have a breakfast room and rooftop terrace that takes your breath away. Have a look for yourself:
A really beautiful place to start into one’s day. While having breakfast you can watch from above all sights and places you later want to visit. Did we already mention the attribute ‚HAPPY‘?
Something else we would like to mention is the way the HAPPY BED HOSTEL has decorated their floors. Therefore, they cooperated with a special Berlin company called „Berlintapete“. All six floors are designed differently and each shows a vast number of Berlin themes along the hallway. That’s a great idea and a very entertaining way through the hostel.
We love to ask hostels about special songs, a sort of „one and only“ that’s connected to their hostel somehow. Well, in this case the answer was quite predictable in the first place: of course it is Pharrell Williams‘ „HAPPY“! When the HAPPY BED HOSTEL have their teamevents – the latest one was a Karaoke show – this song is Playlist’s one and only :-). Perfectly right!
We also had a – or even better the HAPPY song on our lips when we were finally saying ‚Good-Bye‘ and ‚Thank You Very Much‘ to Jana, Andy and the entire HAPPY BED HOSTEL Team!
CITYSTAY Hostel Berlin
Face to Face with the CITYSTAY Hostel | Rosenstrasse 16 | 10178 Berlin | +49 (0)30 23 62 40 31
As time goes by … Exactly one yand ear ago, in April 2016 I visited the CITYSTAY Hostel in Berlin to meet citystay’s manager Martin Fischer. The hostel is a cosy place right in the middle of our German capital . One could not stay more „in the middle“, you have got it all around: the famous Alexander Platz, the Museum Island, the Hackescher Markt, Rosenthaler Platz and loads of shops, cafes, bars etc. – everything within walking distance.
Fortunately, you are not in the middle of a city-typical traffic chaos at the same time as the Rosenstrasse 16 is part of a very quiet pedestrian zone, a huge advantage. This central location is perfect in every way!
A look at my pictures proves that April 2016 has been quite a weather friendly month in Berlin, at least that day. I well remember my excitement about citystay’s beautiful large courtyard and wished it was summer and open already. Because then the they do lovely barbecues in here. Look for yourself (and keep in mind that this place is in the heart of Berlin):
(click on the pictures to see enlarged versions)
At one corner – my favourite one – there were lots of flowerpots and leavy leftovers of last year’s herbs and salads (it probably looks exactly the same right now in April 2017). Gardening equipment was already waiting for starting into the new season – with Martin Fischer. He was ready for it as he is a garden-lover with green thumbs and manages to grow that much that it covers the needs of the entire hostel kitchen. That is what I call pure urban gardening, organic on top. I would love to see the place in full bloom one day – I have to come back in summer!
(click on picture to see enlarged version)
If you go inside an open reception with joining bar and cool music are waiting for you. As well as a huge selection of beer. As far as I could see there is no German beertype NOT represented in the citystay. Even better, you get „FlessaBräu“ here, that is tasty craft beer from a small Berlin brewery only 2 km from the hostel. As soon as you are in Berlin you have to taste Flessabräu, ideally in the citystay hostel, they have them all: Pilsener, Export, Weizen, ExtrAle and Mandarine.
(click on picture to see enlarged version)
When I asked about the music (sort of rock-classic that day) I was told that the respective receptionist is also the disc jockey in charge for the day playing his own favourite music. This way you can listen to a vast variety of musical tastes during your citystay.
Speaking of music: as there is no distincitive hostel-song, I accidentally thought of one myself. It came to me when Martin Fischer told me that he has been in the hostel business for ages but before that, he used to be a chimney sweep. I was delighted as this is such a rare profession nowadays and I instantly thought of one of my favourite childhood films: Mary Poppins and the most wonderful chimney sweep Bert. In his song „Chim chim che-re“ it goes in one place: „When you’re with a sweep you’re in glad company. Nowhere is there a more happier crew …“ Well, that is just the same with the citystay hostel: you are in glad company, within a very happy crew!
Last but not least a few interior pictures from a citystay doubleroom and a citystay 6-bed-dorm:
(click on pictures to see enlarged version)
And then, before you check out, don’t forget shaking hands with Martin Fischer as „good luck will rub off“ when you shake hands with a chimney sweep – even if he has turned into a happy hostellier for far more than 10 years already :-).
Face to Face with the HOSTELO Berlin Jülicher Straße 14 | 13357 Berlin | +49 (0)30 497 680 80
In Berlin, Wedding has not always to do with two people entering the knot. Here in Germany’s capital, Wedding is a long-established neighborhood which is nowadays part of the district Berlin Mitte. Here in Wedding, just opposite the large shopping center „Gesundbrunnen“ you will find an almost brandnew hostel, it is the „HOSTELO Berlin“, opened in January 2015. The HOSTELO is located in a beautiful old building with quite an interesting history: In 1924 it was built as the clubhouse of the famous Berlin football club „Hertha BSC“ and right next to Hertha’s football stadium „The Plumpe“ (as it was called by the Berliners). Here in Wedding, the Hertha football team had their golden years before they moved to another Berlin district „Charlottenburg“ in the 60s.
After the athletes had left and sold their old home in Wedding, the stadium was demolished in the 70s and the clubhouse expired more and more. In the 90s it was planned to build a sports hotel there but unfortunately the investor went bankrupt and the decay of the once beautiful clubhouse continued. But only until Ercan Ocac and his family saved the building and turned it into a very cosy hostel or in his words into „the pearl of Wedding“.
The locals are also quite happy that the neglected building is now shining with a new look and still the old charm. Even better news: the facelift activities are not at all finished yet. In August, there will be a brandnew boarding house with about 110 apartements right next to the hostel and in 2018 they will open a four-star-hotel at the same premises. The picture of the construction site shows what it all will look like in the end.
The interior of the hostel is dominated by art. You will find paintings by various Berlin artists everywhere. Here is an excerpt of some of the pictures by Klaus Zylla.
The rooms are all very cosy and tastefully decorated:
Of course, they do have dorms and bunk beds at the HOSTELO as well. Once there was a lady in her 80s coming to the HOSTELO, asking for a bed in a dormitory. She didn’t mind the majority of young guests at all, neither the fact that they were even sharing the room with her. The only thing she was asking for was a bottom bunk bed so she didn’t have to climb upstairs. That is really cool! We will hopefully be as relaxed and fit as this wonderful lady when we reach our 80s.
But first of all, in the closer future, I will come back to the HOSTELO to inspect all the novelties. Until then I would like to say thank you especially to Mr. Kleda who showed me round the house and told me all the interesting facts and features :-).
Good bye and good luck with all reconstruction projects!
Grand Hostel Berlin
Face to Face with the Grand Hostel Berlin Tempelhofer Ufer 14 | 10963 Berlin | +49 (0)30 2 00 94 45 – 0 When I walked up that short 100 metres from the U1-metro station Möckernbrücke to the Grand Hostel I passed the Cafè „Grand Ma’s“. At that time I didn’t know that it was the hostel’s restaurant where they mainly serve breakfast. I only thought that I would love to step in for a coffee because it looked so incredibly cosy and inviting. Have a look for yourself: I got my coffee a couple of minutes later when I arrived at the Grand Hostel itself, delighted and thrilled. What a beautiful building! One of these really grand (!) houses built before the turn of last century. Stunning! My enthusiasm was not only a thing at first sight, I kept it throughout my visit at the hostel and even took it back home with me. The first thing you notice when you enter the hall are all the awards the back of the reception desk is decorated with. The Grand Hostel has already received a huge number of prizes and it will keep on getting even more, that’s for sure. The last one was given to them only a few days ago: the 2016 Certificate of Excellence by Tripadvisor. Amazing! Moreover, the Grand Hostel has been referred to as the „best hostel in Germany“ and „the most popular hostel in Berlin“. No one doubts that after recognising an occupancy of 96,2 % in 2015. That is the most desperate out of reach dream of every ho(s)teliers. When I used to work for a large hotel chain 20 years ago, we did a really great job with an occupancy rate of 72 % – but here we speak of even 25 % more, that is unbelievably well done! All the praising (and prizing) is 100% comprehensible. The entire team of the hostel is like one big family. And that’s exactly how they treat their guests – like family members. When a guest arrives at the Grand Hostel he is seated at a wonderful long table first: Here the check-in is done, very relaxed and most comfortable for anyone just arriving. For me too :-)! And from here you have this lovely view into the next room, which is the library and bar: Immediately one has this combination of feelings: the homiest, most cosy feeling of coming home to Grandma and beeing very, very welcome and at the same time a sort of noble, almost luxurious feeling because of the grand building. Spacious, generous rooms with high ceilings and a wonderful interior design, which is thoroughly thought out and carefully chosen in every single detail. Only one example for such a detail: in the Grand Hostel they still have around 15 so called „oven tons“ (left). In former times, they belonged to the heating system – and they still do today. Nowadays of course, the staff does not have to shovel coal deep down in the cellar any longer, this is done electrically. But the oven tons are still heating the rooms and they are tenderly kept in shape and cared for. Last but not least, they are an absolutely unique eye-catcher – at least I have never seen such tons before, except a similar construction in an old French castle. This exceptional attention to details continues when it comes to the rooms. They are all furnished and equipped differently. One of the owners (you could also say one of the Jörgs because both owners are called Jörg, one of them J. Lützenkirchen and the other one J. Pflugbeil) has a faible for antique furniture and every now and then he comes along with a new „old piece“ that needs to find a nice place somewhere in the grand house. That’s how such a beautiful old cabinet for instance gets into a double room: Not only the doubles, also the dorms are very comfortably furnished. There are different paintings on the wall and – of course – oven tons. And there are no bunk beds at all in the Grand Hostel, that also makes a huge difference:
Another outstanding offer: the activity plan the Grand Hostel team presents it’s guests. Here again, they understand themselves as a family together with their guests. They even offer a „Grand Family Dinner“ and all the other activities focus on common, shared experiences as well:
On my visits to the hostels I always bring along a few questions. The Grand Hostel’s answer to „What song represents your hostel best?“ fits perfectly into everything I experienced at this lovely place so far. First thing I noticed, they wanted to decide for a song as a TEAM and then they chose „All together now“ by „THE FARM“. The story is about the First World War, when at christmas time soldiers belonging to hostile parties voluntarily agreed on a „christmas truce“ (that was NOT a military order!). They declared a certain region to a neutral zone and there, they peacefully celebrated christmas together. The Grand Hostel team considers „All together now“ a very current issue and would love to see that the world sort of acts as one big hostel. Because in a hostel, there are day by day many different nations all together peacefully talking, laughing, having drinks and diner etc. If this fantastic idea of our world being one big hostel ever works out, we of course need as great and perfect hosts as the Grand Hostel has to offer. The team is great, the bosses (the „Jörgs“ – remember) are great and together they even won a German Television Show called „Mein himmlisches Hotel“ meaning „My heavenly hotel“. In this show there are 4 different hotels judging each other’s qualities in various respects (service, gentleness, tidiness, comfort factor and many more). Therefore, all participating parties have to stay the night at each competitors‘ place. For the Berlin region there were 3 hotels and 1 hostel taking part in the TV accompanied competition. And that one (Grand :-)) hostel was (and still is) the proud winner – that proves the „Grand Hostels“ name is absolutely justified. Congratulations! Last but not least I would like to thank the entire Grand Hostel team for a very nice welcome and especially Nina Geserick and Anika Felix for entertaining, efficient and fruitful talks during my visit. They know and appreciate our software very well. At the same time they have clever suggestions for improvement and together we worked out good ideas for the future. For example, doing ASSD training sessions in Berlin and establishing a sort of ASSD expertise circle within all the Berlin hostels. A huge lot to look forward to :-)! GOODBYE to a GRAND FAMILY – see you soon!
Industriepalast Hostel Berlin
Face to Face with the Industriepalast Hostel Berlin
Warschauer Str. 43 | 10243 Berlin | +49 (0)30 74078290 Industrial Palace, that´s what the hostels’s name means and also what it looks like. The red brick building fits perfectly into the surrounding environment that shows signs of interesting brickwork facades, the Suburban Railway passing by and crossing the famous Oberbaum Bridge, the attractive East Side (open air) Gallery, a former section of the Berlin Wall, just around the corner and altogether a very lively scenery give you at once a feeling of „I have definitely reached my destination“. This is Berlin. In the middle of Friedrichshain and Kreuzberg. No matter where you are, in front of the hostel or inside, this is what I am thinking of when I recall Berlin. And when I later asked the hostel staff in which other city or region they could imagine their hostel to be, they unanimously and passionately stated: „Nowhere else! The Industriepalast represents Berlin, it is deeply connected with Berlin, it simply has to be in Berlin.“ Quite right they are!
The Industriepalast Hostel has succeeded in keeping up the wonderful Berlin atmosphere that is created by it’s surrounding Kiez (Kiez is what Berliners call their neighbourhood). Speaking of that, the hostel has great tips on how to get round the Kiez by bike or on foot without missing anything like fantastic little cafés, clubs, interesting old corners, all sights of course and even attractive places to take great pictures. Just ask!
Entering the hostel you are finding yourself in a spacious lobby with wonderful high ceilings, deriving from the time when the hostel still was an industrial building filled with giant machines. There are lots of testimonies of that period around the hostel. The picture below with the control tools for example or also the wonderful old transport cages, nowadays used for storing guest’s luggage. Or the memorable yellow phone cell dating from the more recent past.
In the lobby you will also find a nice small book exchange as well as a generous bar. Here I got a wonderful coffee brewed by Industriepalast Hostel’s sales manager Ulli Weida personally.
Sipping the cup of coffee, Ulli told me a lot about the hostel, its history as well as things and stories out of their hostel life. When I asked him about his best experience in the Industriepalast Hostel, he told me something worth to remember: „It is not that much about the one and best experience. Working in the hostel business, you can make people happy during their holidays or leisure time. Very often with small things. So many of them are happening day after day, you simply have to notice. Wonderful things that give you positive feedback and good energy right away. Like serving somebody a good cup of coffee after a 24 hours flight. Or make a guest’s room available a few hours before the official check-in time. Many things like that. The important point is to recognise them within the busy everyday work. And the sum of all these small details and moments make you much more content than one huge single event.“
These words are so true, not only in terms of hostel work but for all of us in our daily routines. Ulli certainly has developed a good eye for positive things in life.
Nevertheless, he and his colleagues are of course very excited when all of a sudden celebrities from showbiz and politics turn up in the Industriepalast Hostel. Like actor Vince Vaughn during a film-shoot or the Cockney rapper Mike Skinner, better known as „The Streets“.
When I was remarking that the music in the lobby was not like Mike Skinner at all, I was told another interesting detail about the hostel: they have no such thing like a fixed selection of music. Instead, it is a crew-mix. Whoever is in charge at the reception decides about the radio station. So you can listen to almost everything at the Industriepalast Hostel, from the Berlin station Flux FM to the Australian Triple J. Now you know where to go for a music request at the Industriepalast :-).
Last but not least I wanted to know what the Industriepalast Hostel likes best about the ASSD Software. The man to ask here is Jonas Wernecke. He is very happy with the monitoring tool which outlines quickly and clearly structured various to-dos like demanding a confirmation or deposit. Thus, they can in time get back to the relevant guests, send reminders etc. and reduce no-shows at the end of the day.
At that occasion Jonas also told me about a software feature he would love to work with: our ASSD PMS should recognise incoming calls and should then automatically open the relevant reservation document. Well, here we are: this feature is already included in the ASSD PMS and only needed to be activated at the Industriepalast Hostel.
Not only from that perspective we have to notice once again that it is always good to talk :-).
Thank you very much for the extremely nice welcome, a very interesting tour through the Industriepalast Hostel and our profound interview!