Hotel Harrachov Inn (formerly the Hotel Graf) is a good all-round family ski holiday hotel right on the hill at one of the best ski villages in the 'Krkonose' or 'Riesengebierge' mountains, 350 kms and about a 4 hr drive from Berlin, straddling the Polish/Czech border. Especially if you are family with small children and have to juggle being on the ski slopes or trails with small kids who are just beginning or babies who need naps when the snow is best, the Harrachov Inn is great. The back of the hotel is directly on the rope tow 'bunny hill' (also where lots of the ski schools are active), and a close skate to the main chair lift. We've been coming here with an assortment of little kids (who are now 2, 6 and 7) for about the past 5 seasons. It is also the first hotel we tried in the area, and despite some irritating drawbacks we keep coming back. The hotel is clean and reasonably well kept, with simple and OK local Czech food that usually kids also like to eat. When staying over 3 nights we have always gotten a fairly good deal including half-board (breakfast and dinner), a large family room, a voucher for a free meal at the local brewery (more on this ahead) and a 15% discount on ski rentals and ski school. There are various other discounts for ski passes depending on 'how' you want ski, for how long etc. (the family ticket 2 adults + 2 kids is a good deal). One of the things, besides the included dinner meal that makes the place a great family stay is that there is a nice lounge with a play area AND a bar, upstairs, overlooking the ski hill. This is a great place to have lunch, apres-ski, let the kids romp etc … You'll have to put up with some typical Czech AM radio (sometimes too loud) but this room/space is what gives this place the nod for us. If weren't for this, probably the 'irritating' things would make us start looking for another place.
These are … even though the rooms are for 4 or five people, you usually only get towels, glasses etc for two. The front desk staff are usually students from out of town parked there to run the place on auto-pilot. The hotel is part of the small 'Czech Inn' chain of hotels and restaurants, and the front desk staff are usually clueless about anything that does not match the exact reservation in the computer system, or about anything else in Harrachov. Unfortunately twice we had discrepancies between our confirmed booking and actual situation upon arrival (once, the dates did not match and we had to leave a night early to stay at another pension in town, and once the family room we had confirmed reservation for was occupied when we arrived so we got a smaller regular 4 person room instead.) The indifferent, front desk staff just shrug their shoulders and tell us to contact the reservation dept. (who are probably in Prague). I would expect them to at least call the reservation people for us - if there is a 'serious' problem. Luckily the hotel has good free WLAN / WIFI and the reservation people respond to emails relatively quickly and can be moderately helpful. When they had screwed up our dates, and there was no room for our last night available anywhere in town (the chain also includes two other places) they offered us a free night at their '4 star' hotel in Prague. Given that we were here to ski this was not a useful solution. The cleaning staff however are very friendly and considerate, and we always gotten the extra towels etc we needed once we tracked them down. The rooms themselves are very basic, and the shower doesn't always provide hot water when one would want it (i.e. directly after a long ski day, or at 8 am). On my personal 'shower quality index' I would rate the showers at the Harrachov Inn as 6.8 (0 being no shower and no hot water, 10 being a powerful drenching hot shower, easy to use and enough room to turn around without knocking the shower knob to cold!). The beds are firm and adequately comfortable, and some rooms, usually the larger family rooms, come with a balcony. Views out the front, over the parking lot are also nice, as they are out to the back towards the ski hill. One should ask for and try to get a balcony room when booking, it makes a big difference to the room's comfort level having one. Not only for sake of being able step outside, but also because you can keep a cooler out there for lunch/snacks/drinks as there is no mini-bar or fridge in the room. Also, the rooms tend to be very hot, and it is sometimes difficult or impossible to control the heaters … so you may have to keep the window or door open.
There is a basement ski storage with small and relatively useless wooden lockers, with a door that exits directly out to the bunny hill. It's convenient and practical, and you just have to hope that nobody will steal your gear (up to now, we haven't had any issues with security here, either in the room, or in the storage basement).
My intonation in this review has been 'family' hotel. If you are a family with kids over 15, or people with no kids etc., then the place, although a fairly good deal for anybody, may not be best for you. There are lots of good pensions, and more 'upscale' places in Harrachov for about the same price … that we would probably stay at if our kids weren't so young.
Last note … the brewery. It has amazing dark and light beer! It's worth going there just for that even without the dinner voucher (which isn't such a great deal anyway as you get a tiny portion of something you probably wouldn't have ordered the first place). The brewery restaurant is also owned, or at least run by, the Czech Inn group which is likely why they offer this deal for 'half-boarders' at the hotel. You can even take a beer bath at the brewery, but this seems a bit gimmicky. Stick to drinking it … it's delicious. One parting mystery … the amazing beer from this local brewery only seems to be available at the brewery - not only does the hotel not serve it, but it makes no mention of its very existence! a real pity!!
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