For a long while now I wanted to see what it was like to sleep on a boat. Recently my wish came true and we slept for a night on Dunajský Pivovar Botel. If you have the same curiosity, but a cruise is not on your list right now, you can also take into consideration spending one night on a botel.
What’s a botel?
A botel is, just as the name says, a hotel on a boat. It might have been previously used for transport and changed into a hotel later or might have been built as a hotel from the beginning. This kind of floating hotels can be found in many European cities on major rivers, including Bratislava, where there are 4 or 5.
Dunajský Pivovar Botel
Dunajský Pivovar is the only one on the other side of the river, opposite to the castle and the old town. It might not seem important at first sight, but it means peace and silence at less than 15 minutes from the main square. Besides, it has probably the best view of all, especially at sunset.
The botel is even more special, as it hosts not only a terrace and a restaurant, but also its own beer brewery. Practically, you get to sleep on a boat and in a brewery at the same time.
The botel is open all year round, but I suggest the period from May to October, when the weather is nicer, so that you can enjoy the roof deck and the balcony. We stayed there in June and I liked it a lot. In the evening, you might want to take a jacket on you. It will protect you against cold and potential mosquitoes, even if in June there were none.
Where is Dunajský Pivovar Botel?
Dunajský Pivovar lies, obviously, on the Danube, opposite the castle, between the Old Bridge and the UFO Bridge. Right next to the botel, during summer time, there is a recreation area with sand, picnic spaces, children playground, lounge chairs and several cool bars where tourists and locals gather in the evening.
The largest park in the city is 5 minutes away and in 15 minutes you get into the city center of Bratislava. Next to the Old Bridge there is a small ice-cream shop with unusual aromas, like poppy and lavender.
Getting there and the staff
The botel is easy to find and it also has a huge free parking space near it. At the reception was no queue and the check-in was really fast.
The reception is non-stop. The staff speaks English and is professional. The guy that accommodated us didn’t show any sign of irritation, even if we changed our mind three times regarding the payment method. The other members of the staff seemed friendly. They always smiled or said hello anywhere one went.
What does a room look like?
The rooms are named after the cities Danube passes by. We stayed in a double room at the ground floor with french balcony, called Ilok, like a Croatian town on the border with Serbia.
My first thought when I entered the room was “Wow! What a wonderful view of the castle! And the water is so so close!” I was under the impression that it will soon flow directly into the room.
As for the size, it’s neither small, nor big, a good fit for a couple. The light isn’t an issue, thanks to the large windows. If you want to sleep late, the curtains are opaque enough to keep the light outside. It won’t bother you.
In the room you’ll find everything you expect from a 3 stars hotel: a bed (with rounded corners, a small thing, but very appreciated by clumsy people), spotless linen, nightstands, a table and a TV (I find it hard to believe you’ll turn it on, but it exists), air conditioning, a safe and free wireless. All the furniture and the accessories in the room are dark-blue, yellow or gray. In my opinion, it’s a nice colors combination that perfectly suits the place and the theme of the botel. The mattresses are soft and comfortable, but sadly they are two instead of one, difficult to understand as the bed is a real double one.
The bathroom is pretty small, which is understandable on a boat. I liked its design, the walk-in shower and the round window, that reminded me even there that I was floating.
The balcony is a dream! There is only a small table and two chairs on which you can soothe as long as you want in the company of a glass of wine, admiring the beautiful view of the castle, the Danube, the UFO and the city. I don’t think you can have a better view from another hotel in Bratislava. While enjoying the view, the only sound you’ll hear will be the waves of the Danube slightly hitting the boat. It’s the perfect place to charge your batteries after exploring the city.
Note! There are also rooms that face the other shore. Ask in advance for one with castle view, just as we did. The staff answered quickly and booked for us a room that met our wishes at no extra cost.
The minibar prices are higher than the ones at a normal bar, but right next to the botel there are several terraces and small shops with friendlier prices.
Before spending a night on Dunajský Pivovar I was afraid of two things. First of all, I feared the shakes, especially at night. I shouldn’t have. The botel is very stable and comfortable. Secondly, I was worried about the noise. Again, I shouldn’t have. The room is soundproof and I slept like a baby. I didn’t hear any noise, neither from outside, not from the other guests.
Outside the room
The buffet breakfast is plenty and diverse. You get a lot of options to choose from, depending on one’s preferences. It’s not included in the price of the room and costs 10 euro/person. We served it on the terrace, as the weather was extremely nice and mild, but one can also sit in the restaurant.
The botel also hosts a two-story restaurant, the Patron brewery, a nice terrace and a real beer brewery. On the terrace, there is also a small pool, but the accent falls on small, like 40 cm deep. One can enjoy a Patron beer brewed on site at the restaurant or on the terrace, which boasts the same amazing view.
The location is child-friendly. There is even a playroom for children indoors. Animals are not allowed.
What I liked the most
- The view.I mention it once more, as it’s indeed special, by day and by night, when the castle is illuminated. It would be a pity not to relax and enjoy it, especially at sunset. It can compete anytime with the view at Tower Hotel in London.
- The location. Practically you have anything you might need on site or just around the corner, but it’s also peaceful and quiet.
- The free parking.
What I didn’t like
- The mattresses. They are comfortable, but as the bed is a double one, it makes no sense to have two mattresses instead of one. I got in the middle several times over the night. Taking into account the price of a night stay, I think the owners can afford the cost of a double mattress, as well as the one of its periodical cleaning.
- The carpets. They could do with a replacement.
- The price. A night on the botel costs more or less 100 euro. It’s more expensive than a traditional housing in Bratislava, I can’t say I liked it, but it’s justified by the uniqueness factor and the view.
What can you do around botel Dunajský Pivovar?
Bratislava doesn’t get that many tourists yet and it was perfect like this. You have to go for a walk in the old town to see St. Martin Cathedral, St. Michael’s Gate, The Townhall Square, The Blue Church, the castle and Sad Janka Kráľa Park. One shouldn’t miss the beloved Cumil either, a statue of a man exiting a pit hole. If you’d like to stay longer on the botel, go on a Segway trip, which will take less time. As there are no crowds, it felt much safer than a bicycle trip in Prague.
As a conclusion, a night on Dunajský Pivovar botel is a experience by itself. The peaceful atmosphere created by its design, the sound of Danube flowing by and the view of the castle is just wonderful. When I close my eyes, all that comes to my mind is the total relaxation that I felt.