Return to our Home page Search
Click here for the hotel and hospitality news from around the globe Hotel, Travel and Hospitality Articles Videos and in-depth Interviews
CONCIERGE DESK
Read more now
Read more now
Read more now
Eastern Europe: Hotels from shabby-drabby to Old-World hospitality.
By Jabeen Bhatti ~ Weekly Exclusive - Global Views On Recent Trends
Monday, 27th January 2014
 

Exclusive Feature: When I first went to Eastern Europe in the late 1980s, most hotels were of the state-sponsored tourism variety:

Marked by cheap, broken furniture, dirty carpets, peeling paint and the ubiquitous stone-faced hall-monitor ladies in the corridors, watching everything and everyone suspiciously.

They were a study in shabby-drabby.

But what a difference a few decades make. These days, Warsaw, Budapest, Prague and other eastern cities offer a sparkling array of hotels that charm and surprise and are some of the best values in Europe.

On a recent trip to Poland, I encountered luxurious Old-World hospitality on the Baltic coast at the Neptune, a villa full of antiques and turn-of-the-century elegance, and a balcony that lets in the roar of the sea.

In Warsaw, it was small touches and playful quirkiness at an apartment hotel in the heart of the Polish capital: In SleepWell (yes, that's right), each room is distinctively decorated according to a theme and ours shone in browns with the splash of bright blue, with interesting touches such as a faux fireplace built into the corner wall.

In the medieval port of Gdansk, modern lines and sleek design was a top priority at the Hotel Grand Cru, replete with layered lighting and sliding hammered glass bathroom doors.

In fact, everywhere we put our heads down, the rooms were spotless, the bathrooms modern and shiny, and flat-screen TVs, fridges and kettles, and free wifi were the norm.

Best of all was service: welcoming, professional, accommodating, helpful, and in English. I wish I received that level of service regularly in Western Europe: There I more often than not encounter frosty smiles, rigidity and indifference, that "I'm-doing-you-a-favor" service attitude.

In the late 1980s, European friends of mine would often respond to my tales of visits to Romania or Poland in general disbelief: "Why would you go there," was the familiar refrain.

These days, tourism is booming in Krakow, Prague and Budapest as well as in the Baltics and in the Balkans and I have found lovely hotels in the shattered old town of Bucharest (reconstruction almost finished) and in often-forgotten Sofia, the capitals of some of the European Union's newest members.

One of my favorites is in Zagreb, the Hotel Esplanade, in Croatia, which joined the bloc last year. But then I am a sucker for art deco glamour.

And from Riga to Belgrade, boutique hotels are opening to add to those Grand Hotels that have received severe facelifts since the end of communist times and have for more than two decades served the business traveler along with local honeymooners.

Last week, I was sitting with a German colleague and he asked me about my latest trip to Poland. He said he had never been. I told him he was missing out, detailing the amazing creamy caraway soup I sampled at a hotel in the small, obscure town of Slupsk, in the north. Who knew that in a town far off the tourist trail that we would randomly end up in a hotel (the Pod Kluka) whose restaurant was voted one of Poland's top 100?

And while the region has modernized and adapted and changed since 1989 and caught up quickly to their Western brethren and in some ways surpassed them, especially in terms of effort some things have stayed the same, namely the importance of hospitality.

So come visit Malbork, Poland, and stay in a small hotel with a view of the giant Knight Templers castle across the river from your balcony. And in the morning, you'll feel Polish hospitality when the proprietor won't let you leave without having your breakfast.

This is strictly an exclusive feature, reprints of this article in any shape or form without prior written approval from 4Hoteliers.com is not permitted.

Jabeen Bhatti is a reporter and editor in Berlin, Germany. Originally from the Washington, D.C. area, she has spent most of her career in hard news and currently manages the international journalism organization, Associated Reporters Abroad (ARA). She gets out of Berlin whenever she can, enjoying local nibbles everywhere and finding the perfect hotel room many times over.

Also Read at 4Hoteliers.com: (Click title to read)

Advertise with 4Hoteliers.com ...[Click for More]

~ Important Notice ~
Articles appearing here contain copyright material. They are meant for your personal use and may not be reproduced or redistributed. While 4Hoteliers makes every effort to ensure accuracy, we can not be held responsible for the content nor the views expressed, which may not necessarily be those of either the original author or 4Hoteliers or its agents.

Learn more about DigiJames - in room technology
Advertisment  
 Related Articles  (Click title to read)
Hotel Histories: The Weird and the Wonderful.
The Journey Is The Destination In Queenstown.
Scent of a Hotel - part 1.
Finding a bed in Myanmar.
 Latest News  (Click title to read article)
UK chain hotels market review
Sunday, 31st August 2014

Trump Hotel, Washington, DC breaks ground
Sunday, 31st August 2014

Turkey encourages the construction of new hotels 53 new properties in the development
Saturday, 30th August 2014

Real Hospitality adds 12 construction hotels
Saturday, 30th August 2014

Assessing how AirAsia X is trying to capitalize on opportunities in China
Friday, 29th August 2014
 Latest Articles  (Click title to read)
Enforcing Your Policies Outside The Workplace
Sunday, 31st August 2014

Rate Quotation Training Tips For Reservations and Front Desk Staff
Saturday, 30th August 2014

Make Guests Tweet!
Friday, 29th August 2014

Staying Connected: Avoiding Online Withdrawal on Vacation
Friday, 29th August 2014

The State of Travel Startups
Friday, 29th August 2014
 Most Read Articles  (Click title to read)
Global Update: Who's Where and Doing What - June 2014
5 Social Media Trends to Embrace this Year
Global Update: Who's Where and Doing What - May 2014
Top Ten Things Luxury Guests Want!
Millennials Seek More Value from Luxury Hotels
 Useful Links  (Click company to visit)
A-Listings - Exclusive Links Section @ 4Hoteliers
www.4hoteliers.com/4hots_mshw.php?mwi=9

AETHOS Consulting Group ~ Overview and Articles
www.4hoteliers.com/4hots_mshw.php?mwi=72

Book Hotels & Travel
www.hotelscombined.com/?a_aid=105951

Connect with us at LinkedIn
hk.linkedin.com/in/4hoteliers

Customized Hotel & Restaurant Equipment
www.forkandchopstick.com

Digital Innovation Asia
www.digitalinnovationasia.com

Follow us on Twitter!
www.twitter.com/4hoteliers

Hospitality Consultants ~ Lifestyle Concepts
www.lifestyle-concepts.com

Hospitality IT & Technology
www.nonweiler.com

Hotel Opening Processes: Exploring better ways to open new hotels.
www.hotelopeningprocesses.com

ITB 2015 Marketing
www.4hoteliers.com/news/story/9725

Private, luxurious holiday villa in Valbonne
www.villa-valbonne-biot.com/en

Sayang - For True Wine Lovers
www.sayangwines.com

TravelDaily China Travel Distribution Summit
event.traveldaily.cn/23/index_en.aspx

TV4Hoteliers.com - Live Interviews
TV4Hoteliers.com

Wynamics ~ Working the Dynamics of Wine
www.wynamics.com

ZIXI - Your Asian Partner: Advisory - Sourcing - Project Management - Market Entry
zixi.hk


© Copyright 4Hoteliers 2001-2014 ~ unless stated otherwise, all rights reserved.
You can read more about 4Hoteliers and our company here

Use of this web site is subject to our
terms & conditions of service and privacy policy