Richard and I were kindly invited for a PR gifted stay at Wombat’s City Hostel. As always with my reviews, my opinions remain authentic and honest throughout this review.
I was so happy when Wombat’s City Hostel reached out to be involved in my blog as I love businesses who proactively source people with lived experience of disability to analyse the things they’re doing well and how they can improve access. I had such a wonderful consultation with a staff member called Helena who told me all of the great accessibility improvements they will be making in the future and allowed me to recommend any changes I would make to the hostel. Even without these “tweaks”, I found the hostel very accessible for my needs and disability. As always, I will talk you through each of the areas and showcase photos so you can see whether this location is suitable for your own disability and needs.
I was thrilled with this experience as the vibe was so friendly throughout the guests and staff members, despite some of the guests speaking different languages to us. A huge top tip to travellers though – make sure to print off a sheet of commonly used medical phrases in the language of the country you are visiting. For example, I pass out a lot but will come around perfectly fine unless I fall and hurt myself so one of the phrases I travel with is “Please don’t worry, her symptoms will pass soon” so Richard can inform concerned onlookers of the situation. The staff throughout the hostel did speak English and many other languages also though.
We actually had a room for two guests with a king sized bed so didn’t have to share our room with other people. That was important to me as I have a PEGJ feeding machine that runs overnight so prefer to be away from people whilst feeding as my machine can “beep” and disturb others. The only minor concern, which I will talk about below in more detail, was the shallow step surrounding the shower in this private room. This was only around 15cm high so I could manage that with assistance and step/ have my leg lifted over it. If you book a dorm room (with four guests in two bunk beds), then there is opportunity to have a fully level-access room that is wheelchair friendly throughout. Both the private room and the dorm room had shower stools to take a seated shower.
Vienna itself was such a stunning place; we found the buildings themselves so beautiful and historic. We visited so many museums and palaces alongside experiencing fun new things such as a ride on a panoramic ferris wheel and visits to both a robot restaurant where food was delivered and served by robots and also a miniature train restaurant where train tracks ran throughout the restaurant building so the small trains could travel to deliver your food. We had so many unique experiences in this country and felt it was truly culturally enriching. Depending on your own access requirements, there were also day or overnight trips to other places such as Salzburg, Munich and Budapest. These could be taken via an accessible boat trip over the Danube River or through local coach companies. We personally chose to stay in central Vienna as there was just so much to do in the area!
One particular thing I loved about Wombat’s City Hostel was that it was placed in a very central location. You could visit the Naschmarkt which was just outside the hostel. This was a vibrant local market which sold everything from Viennese food to tourist souvenirs. At Naschmarkt, they also have speciality markets such as the Saturday “flea market” where you can buy so many varying items from the overflowing amount of sellers. We had to walk through this market in order
to get to the nearest public transport; the U-Bahn Wien is a predominantly underground train system that works all the way throughout the city. We often hopped onto this train (the nearest station to Wombat’s City Hostel is Kettenbrückengasse (U4)). This station has lift access if you use a mobility aid and you can check whether all of the lifts are working for your journey on the mobile app, WienMobil, which will show alerts as to which accessible lifts are broken. The U-Bahn trains were really accessible and I saw power chair users utilising this alongside myself in my manual wheelchair. The fully adapted cab is at the front of the train since it has a secondary ramp that extends even further in this cab, allowing you to have step-free access without a gap between the train and the platform. There are also dedicated areas for a wheelchair user to pull into and specifically marked seats for those who require them.
This U-Bahn system allowed you to travel to some of the biggest scenic monuments, palaces and museums in less than ten minutes. I will hopefully be producing access guides to some of the bigger attractions that we visited but just to give you a list of those that I found accessible for my wheelchair, I will chat about a few of our favourites here. The Kunshistorisches Museum was my absolute favourite and was situated in an awe-inspiring building. They had lift access to all floors, accessible toilets and also offered special tours for the disabled upon request including audio described and touch tours. We saw the exterior of the Vienna Opera House which was stunning but there was only a couple of concert recitals showing when we visited so we didn’t go inside the building. In terms of the palaces, we only visited the exterior of the Belvedere Palace which was all level-access around the gardens apart from steps into a central dipped area that you could see from the accessible pathway anyway. Towards Lower Belvedere there was a very, very steep and slippery ramp to get back into the street so I would exercise caution there when needed. Schönbrunn Palace (Schönbrunn Schloss in German) was wonderful and I found very few problems during my visit beyond how darn big the place was and, therefore, how tiring. That attraction was absolutely one for an all-day visit! I loved visiting Danube Tower and the vintage ferris wheel at Prater as both were mainly wheelchair friendly despite Danube Tower having stepped access to the very top floor and rotating restaurant. All of the attractions I listed above gave separate ticket prices for wheelchair users (or the disabled) and also often gave free carer tickets. In Europe, they have a system that rates the percentage of disability you have (e.g. if you need a full-time carer and are a full-time power chair user, you may reach the 100% disability rating). This is a system we don’t have in the UK. Most of the venues accepted Richard’s free carer card which we attained from our local county council as “proof” of his caring alongside my PIP documentation. It would be absolutely worth having a copy of your PIP, DLA or any equivalent benefit or “qualification” for your disability to get the discounts. At Schönbrunn Zoo, we found they were particularly eager to fully check our eligibility and were
confused that the UK don’t use a percentage rating system. The team at Wombat’s City Hostel were always really helpful when we asked them for recommendations and we both managed to visit most of the major tourist attractions that we wanted to. Our room was really peaceful to rest in during my recovery times since I had done so much during the day. We heard very little noise from nearby rooms so could rest well. There was a lot to do within the WomBAR and nearby so you didn’t have to exhaust yourself travelling into the direct city centre all of the time. We actually just spent one of our evenings down at the WomBAR within the building, playing pool. The bar area was well-stocked and had an accessible toilet next to the male and female toilets. The door possibly needed an identifying sticker to show that it was an accessible toilet but Wombat’s City Hostel are kindly working on adding that feature shortly. I
had no problem wheeling around the bar at all and really enjoyed socialising with some of our fellow guests in there. The prices were really reasonable too since Vienna can be on the more costly side for food and alcoholic drink prices.
The WomBAR also serves toasties which are available from the Wombat’s City Hostel cafe during the day. These are very reasonable when taking into account the usual city costings and were delicious! We enjoyed a toastie each; Richard had the Meatloaf Magic which had a rich, meaty taste and I had the Triple Cheese version which was melty, creamy and delicious. This sort of simple fare, alongside the stuffed croissants and cake/ pastry selection was perfect as a snack or
lunchtime meal. This was particularly true for us as we were often resting in the room for a few hours by mid-afternoon. Alternatively, there is a Viennese version of ALDI next door to the hostel where you can buy your own ingredients and cook. I will chat about the kitchen more below but it was accessible for my wheelchair to journey to all areas of the cooking space.
If we rewind our Wombat’s experience to our arrival, we were shown the accessible platform lift that goes up and down on the entranceway stairs. If you don’t use a mobility aid then the small number of steps might be fine for you though. They gave Richard and I a key to operate this stairlift during our stay so we didn’t need to call a member of staff over to operate the lift. There was always someone at the check-in area though so if you had any problems then you could call them over. You press the buttons which are mounted onto the wall at the top and bottom of the staircase (which set you will press will depend on whether you are ascending or descending the stairs) to summon the platform to your level. You can then operate the platform to move on your own using the buttons on the stairlift panel, or have a companion press the button again from their wall-mounted panels. This was a slightly slower lift than I am used to and it took a couple of minutes for it to arrive onto my level and then travel down the stairway at a leisurely pace. However, I always felt very safe whilst using it and we just set-off from our room ten minutes earlier in order to operate the lifts in the building and then the stairlift.
From the check-in and social cafe area, there were two lifts that took a guest to every floor of the building. These occasionally were busy but we always managed to enter a lift within five minutes or so since there were two of them operating at all times. The size of these would be big enough for every powered or manual chair that you were seated in luckily and the entrance to the lifts was level with the ground so there was no real bump to enter them.
The check-in desk had no lowered countertop for me to see over but the friendly staff quickly came around from behind the bar to talk to me. I could see all of the leaflets/ information on the top of the desk well enough though. Once we had two hotel access card to enter our room, we popped in the lift with our suitcases and checked into the private room where we would be staying.
I loved the minimalist, industrial aesthetic for the room since the clothes hanger and bed frame were made out of what looked like scaffolding piping. You just had to watch that you didn’t bump your legs when transferring into the bed. We had two single bed covers which were a blanket wrapped in a fresh sheet cover. This was a nice touch as many couples have one of the partnership that is always cold overnight and one that enjoys being wrapped up while they sleep. It was very hot (38C and humid) when we visited though so we definitely didn’t use the covers much. We did have a fan that they kindly gave us from Reception which did allow air to circulate, especially with both windows open too. You can ask for a few different things at Reception such as an iron, hairdryer or potentially adapters to convert electronics to European plug sockets. Talking of needing an iron, there is a clothes washing facility downstairs in the hotel but we didn’t
personally use it as we had brought enough outfits to sweat profusely in each one and then change the next day into a new outfit!
The room had no steps or barriers for my wheelchair and had smooth floor for easy wheeling. I could wheel my wheelchair down the entrance corridor, make the turn into the bathroom and also wheel down the left-hand side of the bed easily. We did move our bed across a tiny bit when we had settled in, just to give my wheelchair extra room to wheel down the left-hand side of the bed. There were shelves on either side of the bed which were mounted on the wall and also two bedside cabinets. This was helpful for me to store my medication and PEGJ feed machine. With plenty of sockets beside the bed and on the wall, I had no problem with that at all to charge my devices using our converter plugs.
Fitting with the industrial and minimalist aesthetic, there was an open clothes hanging rail with shelves. The rail did only have three coat hangers on it to hang dresses/ shirts. However, the staff were so genuine and helpful during our stay that I am sure that they would have given us a few more coat hangers if necessary. I found this plenty of storage for two people. As you will see later, in the bunk-bed dorm rooms there were locker storage areas also. Valuables were encouraged to be locked away at Reception just in case.
In our private room, you passed a floor length mirror to get into the bathroom. Here there was a shower, toilet and sink alongside some shelving space for toiletries. I could manage to access all of the areas in this room whilst using my wheelchair. The only difference between this and a more adapted room (for four people) was the slight step around the base of the shower that contained the water whilst you were showering. This was roughly 15cm in height so I could actually step over this with help from my husband since I am an ambulatory wheelchair user. If you struggled with this, there was a room that you could book into which was more adapted. I will go into this later and speak all about the four-person, adapted dorm room.
I loved that Richard and I could have privacy as a couple in this room for two, but also would have paid a hostel-level price tag. At the time of writing (July 2023), the private room for two was around €120 per night (in peak summer months) and to book out the whole, adapted dorm for four guests and turn that into a private dorm, it is priced at around €180 per night. If you chose the adapted four person dorm then that would work out at €45 per person if you shared it
between four people. You can also book individual spaces in a dorm for around €44 per night.
The booking system on the Wombat’s City Hostel website doesn’t currently show accessible rooms as a separate category so you are best to either email Wombat’s Vienna in advance or give them a call to solidify your space in either an accessible four-person dorm room or to check any details for the private two person room I mentioned earlier.
For the four-person dorm room, the shower was entirely level access. Again, there was a shower stool which was really helpful for me to remain seated when I showered. We personally toured Room 117 which was one of their accessible dormitories which slept four guests in bunk beds. Wombat’s mentioned that they would be more than happy to reserve a bottom bunk for any guest with mobility concerns who would feel uncomfortable climbing a ladder. Usually, bunk beds aren’t reserved in terms of who gets the top and bottom bed unless you specifically book a private dorm for your particular group. There are female-only dorms for those who feel more comfortable in that situation.
Within the bathroom in Room 117, there was also a toilet with a sturdy grab handle mounted on the wall. I could easily pull up next to it and side-transfer our of my wheelchair. There was only a grab handle on one side of the toilet so be aware of this if you utilise two separate areas to pull on for your transfer. There was a red emergency pull-cord by the side of the toilet but staff have been made aware that this needs to reach the ground in case of a fall in case a guests is lying on the ground. The bathroom also had a sink which I could easily get to, despite the mirror being a little too high for my seated height. I also had a slight “height problem” with the coat hooks which were on the wall in the entrance corridor to hang coats/ bags etc. These were too high for me unless I was standing but the staff were very happy to listen to feedback on this and we have suggested adding another set of coat hooks at wheelchair height.
I could wheel all around the room with no barriers and found that the surface was again flat and smooth. I could happily reach the bottom level of lockers which could be reserved ahead of time if you would struggle to access the ones higher up. These were sufficient enough in size to ensure you could lock away anything valuable or important, especially since they also encouraged guests to leave valuables in the safe at Reception. If you had medication that needed refrigeration then that would also have to be left at the main check-in desk as there was a monitored fridge there rather than popping important medication into a communal kitchen refrigerator. A kettle is available to keep in the room if you require sterile water for any medical devices. We personally went down to the communal kitchen area to get boiled sterile water for my PEGJ tube but this wasn’t a particular bother as this is also where breakfast was held.
The communal kitchen was really large and had four sets of four hobs to cook on in an island at the centre of the room. There were plenty of pans and cooking utensils to use and you could easily buy food from the local supermarket next-door. Many of the guests only stayed at Wombat’s City Hostel for a couple of nights so there was plenty of free food that guests gifted to others once they had checked out. These were labelled clearly with the date that they were
placed in the fridge so that food was safe to eat. It also meant that you could absolutely make a dish for a very cheap amount of money! A real blessing if you wanted to cook as dining out was on the more expensive side within Vienna.
The kitchen had plentiful space for my wheelchair to move around. I couldn’t reach a couple of things, such as the two microwaves which were wall-mounted, without standing up but I also travel with my non-disabled husband so I had no problems, it’s just worth noting. The kitchen was very clean in the time we stayed there and I think the addition of a dishwasher and complementary dish soap around the sink were very helpful. We didn’t personally use the Baggage Storage Room or the Laundry Room but these are also available for the convenience of the guests.
The kitchen was right beside the communal dining area where you could sit and eat meals you had cooked or eat a Wombat’s breakfast. This was €5.90 and you could pay by card at the breakfast area or by cash at Reception where you were given paper tokens to hand across each time you wanted to have breakfast. Whether you chose the vegan breakfast or the classic, both options had unlimited tea, coffee or hot chocolate as part of the package. I must say, I loved the
coffee there as it had an aromatic roast which set me up for the long days of wheeling around Vienna! I will pop a screenshot from the Wombat’s City Hostel website below to showcase the different things in each breakfast as well.
This was a fairly traditional European continental breakfast so it was slightly different from what we would eat in the UK for breakfast. I love trying new things when we visit new places though so it was an adventure in some ways. Richard and I both chose the classic breakfast each morning. This included one white bread roll which was clearly very freshly baked, alongside one slice of rich brown bread. This was different from the wholemeal bread we eat in the UK but still delicious when spread with the butter and jam that you also get in the “base” breakfast. As standard, you also got a couple of slices of ham; this was very tasty and high-quality meat so we both enjoyed this. On top of this “base” breakfast (whether you choose the classic version as we did or go vegan and substitute butter for margarine and the ham for a hummus dish), you could then pick two extras from the five options. These were; yoghurt with granola topping, freshly cut fruit, homemade porridge, a slice of Emmental cheese or vegetable sticks (carrot/ cucumber/ celery). We enjoyed the fact that you could mix and match the different options and we both often ended up making a ham & cheese sandwich alongside a pot of yoghurt and granola for our breakfast. This was very hearty, especially when you consider the unlimited hot drinks.
If you preferred not to add this to your stay then it was completely optional. Wombat’s City Hostel are also looking at putting a few more allergen signs up clearly in this breakfast area but staff did know which foods were vegan/ gluten-free when you asked them so that was great to see! The menu is available online if you need to view this on a screen reader.
In the dining area where we sat to eat our breakfasts, there were level-access tables where you could remove a chair from a table to pull up a wheelchair if needed. More seating was available up steps to one side where guests were happily enjoying their breakfast in groups or solo. Many of the hostel’s guests were also loving the hot drinks in the morning while they logged onto laptops to get work done or to communicate with family and friends. I did love that there was free WiFi throughout Wombat’s City Hostel and it was fairly quick too so we had no problems with this.
Overall, we had an absolutely phenomenal time in Vienna and in Wombat’s City Hostel itself. The staff were really friendly and the whole hostel had a great atmosphere. The private two-person bedroom that we stayed in was completely suitable for our needs and kept very clean during our entire stay. If you couldn’t manage that shower lip of around 15cm then there are accessible fourperson dormitories with bunk beds. These accessible dorms had a level-access shower with a shower stool for seated washing. There was also a grab rail beside the toilet and a red pull-cord which will soon be changed by staff so that it reached floor height. All of the communal areas were really handy for travellers and I had no massive problems when accessing them from my wheelchair. The bar even had an accessible toilet which will be labelled as such soon and inside was perfect for my own needs.
The nearby public U-Bahn station had accessible public transport and a lift to get to the level of the station. We didn’t personally use buses during our stay but the transport website says that these are also accessible for wheelchair users and there are bus stops close to Wombat’s City Hostel. The location of this hostel is perfect for those exploring Vienna, whether you are visiting for a festive market or all-year-round culture and culinary adventures. We had a lovely stay and I hope this full review helps people who want to explore that area. If you have any questions about this review then don’t hesitate to contact me on email@example.com or to contact Wombat’s City Hostel directly at firstname.lastname@example.org to book.