Snowbunnys hostel, Kitzbühel
Snowbunnys is more than just a hostel. It's an institution. A warm, cosy, crazy, and very Aussie institution. Owned and run by Dave the crazy Kiwi, Snowbunnys is also something of a miracle: a budget backpacker retreat, in the heart of one of Austria's fanciest and most upmarket ski resorts. The TV in the lounge provides illegal hacked access to hundreds of satellite channels: Dave will show you which are the porn channels, but will warn you "don't watch them, you'll be embarrassed when I walk in and see you". The clothes-drying room in the basement provides space to air your clunky boots and to dry your smelly socks; and the garage out the back has capacity for all your ski-gear needs. Plus, vegemite is sold at the hostel for €4 a jar. And, of course, it's the friendly fellow guests of the place that really makes Snowbunnys feel like home. I spent six nights here over Christmas, but I wish I could have stayed longer.
When not on the slopes, sitting in the lounge with a beer is a common pastime at Snowbunnys.
Rooms: nice and warm — very important, as Kitzbühel gets down to -10°C most nights — with central heating throughout the building. Also quiet and comfy.
People: even those who aren't Aussie are still really fun. Because Snowbunnys is so small and cosy, and because most people are here for at least a week, your fellow guests become your family while you're here.
Staff: Dave is... err... very unique. His wife is a bit more normal. Once you get to know them, though, they're both very nice and accommodating.
Location: main street of Kitzbühel, 5 minute walk from Hahnenkamm station, and from the bottom of the Hahnenkammbahn gondola.
Food: unlimited free breakfast of cereal, toast and tea/coffee, provided self-service style every morning. The excellent (and popular) kitchen is also available for cooking dinner every night (and unless you want to go broke by eating out in Kitzbühel, I suggest you use it).
Internet: although the single €1/10min machine is ridiculously expensive, that's about the cheapest you'll find in Kitzbühel. Strictly to be used in emergencies. But hey, you don't come here to sit on the 'Net — you come here to ski!
Hot water: not bad, except that it occasionally goes a bit cold for 5 seconds, and then painfully hot for 5 seconds. There's also something of a bathroom shortage here.