I Slept...in a Five Star Hotel for Free (Vienna, Austria)
Historical and beautiful buildingSweet location at Vienna OperaFree
Makes sleeping in a tent much less appealing
5.0Overall Score

One of the perks of being a travel writer is sometimes deals and steals just fall into your lap, which is how I went from sleeping in a sweat soaked tent at the Nova Rock Festival to living like a true rock star at the Hotel Bristol in Vienna. Is that the Viennese opera on the corner? Of course it is.

How I Hooked a Five Star For Free: Marriott Hotels revamped their entire rewards program over the summer and gave me an offer that for every paid stay, I would earn a certificate for a free room (max 2 freebies). And since I was stuck in Germany waiting for Norwegian Airlines to find my bags, my schedule was flexible enough to score a cheap room for $70 USD at the excellent Moxy Ludwigshafen. I was then able to splurge in Vienna on the Hotel Bristol, a Luxury Collection Hotel, which normally runs about $250 USD or more per night.

Living that Good Life: As someone who sleeps in hostels, festival campgrounds, and on airport floors, I’m not too particular where I sleep, but once a month I force myself to blow hotel points on a free night so I can see what life is like with a working shower. Or air-conditioning. Or not being woken up at five in the morning by a naked Australian who is buck naked in the middle of the dorm waving his dick around like a helicopter. Anyway, the room was super nice.

Excuse Me While I Step Out to The Opera: First off, I had a balcony, which an incredible perk. Even more impressive? My view of the legendary Viennese Opera. I didn’t actually make it into the opera, but they kindly showed the entire performance on a screen where I had a VIP view from my room. Cue the bubbly.

How Did I Sleep? Like an over-sized, slightly champagne drunk baby. My biggest issue was waking up in my spacious king-sized bed curled in the corner like I was trying not to slide off my camp sleep pad. You can take the dirtbag out of the campground, but you can’t put the dirtbag into a luxury hotel and expect to see anything close to classy.

Get Points, Get Free Rooms: Marriott and IHG are the two hotel brands that I’ve been to the most loyal to over a span of the last 15 years. With offers like this one, Marriott can expect to see me stick around even longer. To join the Bonvoy program, head over here.

The Review: 5 out of 5 for this five star hotel.