What Is a Pension Hotel?

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  • Written By: A. Leverkuhn
  • Edited By: Andrew Jones
  • Last Modified Date: 14 April 2014
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A pension hotel is a specific type of “boarding house” in European countries. The term comes from the old French pension, which generally refers to room and board costs. In Europe, the word pension is used for payments to retired workers, as it is in the U.S., but it is also a term for a cheaper hotel or lodging.

A European pension house is often much less expensive than a full-scale hotel, and are more akin to a bed and breakfast, small motel. Do keep in mind that the European pensions are priced in terms of the regional Euro currency, and the difference between the Euro and other currency values can change the final cost of the pension hotel stay, depending upon one's country of origin.

Many of the European pension hotels offer options for sleeping in room with multiple beds. This can make prices much lower, but security and comfort issues often apply. Guests often ask themselves whether their sleep will be impaired by strangers arriving late at night or snoring. It’s also a good idea to get a pension hotel bed with a locker to keep valuables, since other travelers have access to the same rooms.


Another issue with cheap pension hotel offers is that some of these can be “black market” lodgings. Some business people in large European cities operate these hotels, pensions, or “hostels” without the usual paperwork and governmental oversight. Travelers should be sure to ask for proof of legitimacy to be sure their hotel is complaint with safety inspections. It’s especially important to check into the legitimacy of a pension or hostel if the staff ask for a passport as collateral during the stay.

In general, the lower prices of European pension hotels make them very attractive to travelers to might have a fixed budget or those who want to stay “close to the action” in vibrant city neighborhoods. Lots of today’s pension hotels have Internet booking options, which makes them all the more accessible and convenient. Travelers can also see reviews online about the safety, cleanliness, and other aspects of a local pension hotel.

Many travelers find a pension hotel to be an affordable part of a vacation budget. In terms of business stays, a pension hotel can generally be claimed as a lodging expense and may save the employer a whole lot of money over conventional hotel options. Finding the best pension will help give a traveler more overall choices for short term or even long term lodgings.


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