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What is a 'pension' & why is it called that?

What is a 'pension' & why is it called that?

Sep 19th, 2007, 03:58 AM
  #1  
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What is a 'pension' & why is it called that?

Looking for B & B's in Austria, I've come across lodgings called pensions. First thing I think of, is company or old age pension, but obviously this isn't it, lol.

Would it be advisable to bring our own towels? One B & B I contacted by email stated they don't supply them...is this common?

Thanks so much!
imcanadian is offline  
Sep 19th, 2007, 04:02 AM
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ira
 
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Hi im,

It is a "pensionE", which is a small hotel.

A B&B, is a "zimmerfrei", a home that rents rooms.

Where will you be in Austria?

ira is offline  
Sep 19th, 2007, 04:14 AM
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I believe the word is "pension." In Italian it is called "pensione"
ekscrunchy is offline  
Sep 19th, 2007, 04:45 AM
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ira
 
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Hi EK,

I have seen it as pensione in France as well.

Perhaps to keep from confusing anglophones?
ira is offline  
Sep 19th, 2007, 04:45 AM
  #5  
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Thanks to you both!

Ira, we are not 100% sure where in Austria we'll stay yet but are getting close, with all the help from you & fellow Fodorites!

Right now it looks like perhaps Baden...
imcanadian is offline  
Sep 19th, 2007, 04:48 AM
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In French it is pension, not pensione.
kerouac is online now  
Sep 19th, 2007, 04:51 AM
  #7  
ira
 
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Hi im,

Where in Austria is Baden?
ira is offline  
Sep 19th, 2007, 04:52 AM
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The Larousse says that a pension (when it isn't the payment of money) is:
1. a place where one receives room and board.(i.e. an inn)
2. a boarding school.
kerouac is online now  
Sep 19th, 2007, 05:26 AM
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Pension, no matter how you spell it, is a boarding house. Sometimes you see them as half board (breakfast + lunch) or as full board (3 meals). The term has been used all over Europe prior to the popularity of the Irish/British term B&B.

No towels at a B&B? I would find another B&B.

hopscotch is offline  
Sep 19th, 2007, 05:33 AM
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See Katherine Mansfield, 'In A German Pension' (1911).
caroline_edinburgh is offline  
Sep 19th, 2007, 05:41 AM
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It's pension in German.

I have stayed in pension(e)s, B&Bs, chambres d'hôtes, inns, hotels...from two to five stars...across western Europe and I've never come across one that didn't supply towels! I agree with hopscotch - no towels is not a good sign. The only place I would expect to need my own towels is a hostel.
hausfrau is offline  
Sep 19th, 2007, 05:45 AM
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Ira, here is a bit of info on Baden....I came across it yesterday & was surfing...looks to be a very nice place.

Baden is a spa town and medieval city in Lower Austria, 26 kilometres south of Vienna, with a population of 25,207 (2005). Frequently, the name is given as Baden bei Wien (Baden near Vienna); this name, however, is not official, but can be used to distinguish it from other cities of the same name such as Baden-Baden or Baden, Switzerland.
imcanadian is offline  
Sep 19th, 2007, 06:27 AM
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We stayed at this Pension in Vienna. It's part of a building and has a great location. We DID NOT have to supply towels. http://www.pertschy.com/pension1_e.html
travelfan1 is offline  
Sep 19th, 2007, 06:48 AM
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Travelfan, thanks for the URL...& thanks everyone for the info on towels...good to know!
imcanadian is offline  
Sep 19th, 2007, 06:51 AM
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Check out TripAdvisor. Many pensions are very well rated. You just won't have all the amenities that you receive at a full service hotel. On the other hand, if you don't need all the flash of a hotel, its a good choice. They can be equally well located as a 5 star hotel, and many provide a nice breakfast which you would have to pay for seperately if you were staying at a hotel.
martyharly is offline  
Sep 19th, 2007, 07:11 AM
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The equivalent, old-fashioned, term in English would be "boarding house". The implication is that it's the propietor's home and that some or all meals are included. There might even be some implication of living "en famille", at least until recently.

But why the name for it in most continental languages is used in English to mean what in most continental languages is expressed by a word that's cognate with the English "rent" is anyone's business....
PatrickLondon is offline  
Sep 19th, 2007, 08:41 AM
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In German, "Pension" has three meanings:

First, the retirement pay for public officials with a special status ("Beamte").

Secondly, a guesthouse. A Pension is a small hotel with at least 8 beds but not more than 20 rooms (official definition). Usually guests stay for a week or longer in a Pension.

Thirdly, the meal plan. "Vollpension" is full board, "Halbpension" half board.
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Sep 19th, 2007, 08:45 AM
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"Pension" is not necessarily a boarding house; in France, for example, the word is used to signify a meal plan that can be taken with a hotel room. "Demi-pension" means breakfast plus either lunch or dinner; full "pension" means all 3 meals.
Underhill is offline  
Sep 19th, 2007, 08:46 AM
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The word comes from latin "pensio" = to balance and originally meant "payment". Pension was the payment for boarding and eventually became the word for boardinghouse and later the word for a guesthouse.
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Sep 19th, 2007, 08:50 AM
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It isn't really a boarding house nowadays, and not in Austria. It's just like a B&B, more or less. They call that a pension in Austria, and they have their own rating system. I've stayed at one.

They don't really use that term in France much, it's not common there, but when they do, it is "pension", there is no "e" at the end. That is even a regular word in a French dictionary, but no "e" at the end.

I stayed at one in Vienna, and it's just like a family-run budget hotel, only may have a few differences (ie, no regular lobby, may not be on the ground floor, etc., and probably no one at a desk at night).

It is very uncommon for them not to provide towels -- all the ones I've seen do, but those were more for tourists as hotels. If you found one that really was functioning as a boarding house for long term, I could understand that.
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