I am writing this review having stayed at the hotel a few times (including having our wedding there) so we have a pretty good idea overall about this place.
First thing you notice is how understated this place is. The building outside is down a street just off the square and, as per a lot of buildings in Krakow, there is grandiose frontage to the building but it's not overwhelming in any way. It's when you walk in that you find out how cool this hotel is. The door leading in gives you a good first impression. Quality tan stained huge wooden door - only someone who has really thought about it would put that as their main feature piece. Inside, you have quality decor but nothing too outrageous, just bits of the same wood as the reception counter, the dark iron statues which add to the general vibe of the hotel and the low level lighting to give it a nice atmosphere. More important is that they have tried to keep it the theme of new and old. So, you have the old (whether original or not I do not know) frescos, brickwork, arches, etc and then the new i.e. lighting, lifts, floor, parts of the wall. It is a lovely mix and coupled with the overall atmosphere of the place, you feel very comfortable upon entry. It's not a Four Seasons/ Mandarin Oriental luxurious feel but a modern take on a 5 star theme and it works very well. Just go to the library bar on the ground floor and the seats/ lighting/ whiskey bar/ atmosphere will give you a good idea of what I am talking about!
Second, the rooms. Wow is all I can say. We have stayed in junior suites and above so I cannot comment on how small other rooms are. The rooms we have stayed in, however, were fantastic. Each time we have stayed on the first floor so we had the super high ceilings and a large room/ bathroom. the beds are large and comfortable and each room has a lovely old wooden desk with a great big wooden wardrobe - all in the same style as you see throughout the hotel. The bathrooms are very nice too with a jacuzzi bath in your room and a separate shower, towels in abundance and all very nicely laid out for you.
Thirdly, the food. The breakfast is great. You have a buffet of cold meats, breads, yoghurts, fruit, pastries. All lovely and there is no way they will run out as they replenish it so often. Then you get to choose one of the hot dishes, freshly cooked for you (and not sitting in some horrible heater) so every morning you can pig out on bacon, eggs, smoked salmon, etc. Great!!! Moreover, we were so impressed with the tastings for our wedding, that we actally booked to have our new year's eve party in the hotel. The food is probably the best in Krakow and you'd be hard pushed to find a better place in Krakow to eat, especially if you don't want the typical Polish fare and we have eaten at a fair few places including the Pod Roza, Szara, Morskie Oko, Wesele, La Campana (fantastic in summer - a must for sitting in their beautiful garden) etc, etc. Make a trip to the roof bar for tea or for the evening - great views of Mariacki and the square and a gem of a place to be to escape the hustle and bustle. I hope this review doesn't then crowd it out like crazy.......
Lastly, the spa. Although we have never managed to have a massage there, we love the basement pool and sauna/ steam room. I am not sure what facilities the other hotels have but these ones were very stylish and very intimate; they were small but not crowded and very well maintained.
Lastly, if you go, try and speak to restaurant manager Tomasz. He helped us organise our wedding and was superb. He took deliveries of our favours, our decorations; he gave us advice on local make up artists, hairdressers. Basically, we cannot rate the guy highly enough and he made each stay special for us and our wedding a totally unbelievable experience. Just note though, he is the restaurant manager and not the manager of the hotel so maybe you shouldn't bother him unless you intend to eat there/ have a wedding there :-). You'll love it here.
One word of warning though, if there is a wedding, you try and get a room as far away from the breakfast room i.e. the front dining room. Polish weddings go on (ours went onto 5am) so if you want to sleep, get a room at the top near the back of the hotel.
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- Also Known As:
- Hotel Stary Krakow
- Stary Hotel Krakow