This is a relatively new hotel, and is perfectly located for exploring the old town, and for the central bus station. If you arrive by bus, just look up and across the canal - you'll see the sign. We booked over the internet, and got a room with a view of the Zeppelin sheds, so I don't think they're discriminating in any way against internet bookings. It does appear as though some of the rooms look inwards onto the atrium, though.
The decor is modern, but with a retro-ironic leaning to the sort of godawful 70s wood veneer that I haven't seen since cheapo furniture warehouse MFI went out of business. Rooms are comfortable, with a mini-bar, safe, iron, hair-dryer etc. No tea and coffee making. The double glazing works well, we were never aware of the heavy goods train that regularly rumbles right past the front of the hotel.
There's free WiFi everywhere in the hotel, but in our room (803, right at the top) reception was of the just-about-works-if-you-stand-on-the-toilet variety. Once you get a connection, the link is 90s-dialup slow, their internet connection is nowhere near up to the number of guests trying to use it. No business center, but ask at reception and they will give you an email address to mail etickets etc to, and they will print them for you, so you can collect them later. Most convenient.
On the sixth floor, there is a terrace bar, which has fine views of the city. We were fortunate enough to sit out and watch a combined city sunset and thunderstorm whilst sipping the local brew, which was fairly memorable. Only downside is there's no actual bar service there, you have to pop down to the ground floor in the elevator and get your drinks there; monumentally idle as I am, I can't really consider this a complaint tho. Plus the ground floor bartender is a funny guy.
Breakfast is the usual buffet selection, my only gripe here is that the hotplate thingies for keeping the hot food warm need to be turned up several notches. It is tepid at best. There's a wide selection of cereals and bread products etc instead tho.
As part of our booking, we were given "gift vouchers" for free evening meals, which must be chosen from the "chef's special menu". We've had some experience of free hotel dinners, so braced ourselves for the worst, but we thought we'd give it a go before nipping in to town for something edible. The selection is small (four mains, two desserts on the first night, two starters. two mains on the second), and the portions aren't massive either: but that's where our expectations foundered - not only did we get a generous basket of bread rolls, but the quality and presentation of each dish was utterly excellent. Somebody in that kitchen has considerable pride in their work, and they are clearly working miracles with a limited budget. Absolutely first class.
I'm giving this full marks, because it was significantly better than my expectations (which is rare), and apart from crap internet I can find little to complain about (which is pretty much unheard of). Good job, Hotel Avalon.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Located in the historical part of the Riga – Old Town – the Avalon hotel offers the unique opportunity to enjoy the Middle Ages charm and elegance of the city combined with modernism and comfort. The new four-star Avalon represents the combination of modernity and antiqueness with the full reflect of the New life in the Old Town. The panorama elevator will let you feel this special atmosphere in the Atrium of the hotel. With a view of commercial and shopping center, Daugava River, the old town churches and towers the Avalon hotel is ideal place for tourists and business persons. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Avalon Hotel Riga