This review is based on an extended stay of just under three months.
Unfortunately, its almost impossible to divorce an assessment of accommodation from the person overseeing the rental of that accommodation, and it's this difficulty that takes my rating for this place down to a two!
1. The location is good; only a few minutes walk to train station, bus station, main square, major tourist attractions, markets, restaurants, coffee shops and dry cleaners.
2. The WiFi signal is excellent.
3. Large TV, with good programs available in English (Animal Planet, National Geographic, and Viasat History).
4. The wall radiators are non-functional (no central heating), but there's a portable electric heater that's quite adequate.
5. There's a washing machine, if you can figure out how to use it - not all machines are the same. I'd asked Katarina, the owner of the apartment, if she could take a few minutes to show me how to operate it, but that never happened. (However, there's a dry cleaner close by.)
6. There's a small drying rack on which to hang hand-washed clothing.
7. Plenty of hot water 24/7.
8. Skylights provide a lot of natural lighting, which is great.
1. This apartment is not a serviced apartment, unless 'servicing' means three times in 84 days; there's no vacuum, no broom, no brush, no mop, no dustpan, no pail, no nothing to wipe up floors or clean off floor mat.
2. In the Amenities list, 'Linens Provided' and 'Towels Provided' are somewhat ambiguous phrases, as they fail to include exactly how often these things are 'provided'; my linens and towels were changed only three times in 84 days! (I often ended up using the duvet as a reversible sleeping bag.)
3. Dealing with the owner, Katarina, was a major challenge. Granted, this could have been due in part to my lack of Croatian and her self-proclaimed poor English. It could have also been due to my inevitable comparisons between her and other owners/managers elsewhere, also with self-proclaimed poor English but with far better PR skills.
A. Misinformation - Tram from Train Station to Apartment
Prior to my arrival, I'd sent Katarina an email, asking for information on how to get to the apartment from the main train station. Included in her reply, which I am now re-reading, is the dubious claim given below. (Her second reply is simply confirmation of her first message.)
'10-15 minutes walk from the apartment,
or 2 tram station, which is free for tourists .. (3 -5 minutes by tram)'
'from the station to the apartment you have a 10-minute walk, or tram two stops (5 minutes) tram is free for tourists.'
I subsequently contacted the Zagreb Tourist Office about this claim and received the following reply:
'The information you received about the trams being free for tourists is not correct.'
Had I actually followed Katarina's advice I would have put myself at risk of a 250 kuna fine were a tram inspector to have asked to see a ticket!!
It's very difficult to have much respect for a local who provides rubbish information to a visitor!
B. Inconsistency - Payment Policy
As stated in several of the emails Katarina sent me - and which I'm now re-reading - a deposit would be required prior to arrival and then after arrival, 'whatever suits you'. What suited me was the deposit and subsequent payments in '30-night chunks'.
I reconfirmed this with her, by email, about 2 days after I arrived. She was OK with this, but then an hour later sent me an email asking for FULL payment for the entire time I'd be there! Inconsistency - another negative! When I told her I'd then be leaving directly, suddenly the originally-agreed-upon '30-night chunk' arrangement was ok.
C. Ambiguity - Serviced vs Non-serviced Apartment
Upon my arrival, Katarina advised me that in about two weeks, the cleaning woman would come to clean the apartment. That statement - and the absence of any cleaning utensils in the apartment - led me to believe that the apartment was indeed 'serviced', at least to some extent. (Serviced apartments are typically serviced once a week.)
As it turned out, the cleaning woman didn't show up until 3 weeks later and only twice thereafter.
On the day of the 3rd - and last - servicing, I returned to the apartment to find the washing machine in full operation, a roll of paper towel missing from the kitchen table and nobody around.
In my experience, using the washing machine in a guest's apartment is not something normally done by cleaning personnel, so it's not unreasonable to ask the owner what's going on.
A roll of paper towel is neither here nor there. I provided my own paper towel so as to clean the apartment myself and to wipe up accumulated dust, dirt and grit from the floors. Given that most cleaning personnel bring their own cleaning supplies and don't use what the guest has, I was curious as to what had happened to the paper towel. Again, not unreasonable to ask the owner what's going on.
However, when I emailed Katarina to ask about these things, I received a reply with a real 'attitude'.
Seems it was 'Diana's Cleaning Service' - whatever that is - that did the cleaning, and I did 'not say thank you'.
With respect to the paper towel, her reply was as follows:
' ... probably spent paper roll to clean dirty apartment that you leave ....'
I found that comment quite insulting as well as 'surprising'. Normally, a guest/tenant doesn't provide cleaning supplies for the cleaning staff. Usually, cleaning personnel bring their own supplies.
In the end, it was simply easier just to avoid communicating with her at all.
Other Cons (possibly for others and not emphasised in the property description):
1. This apartment - actually a loft - is on the 5th level; elevator goes up only as far as 4th level, so in most cases, a person would take the tiny box of an elevator up to the 4th level and then walk up to the 5th. This wasn't a problem for me, as I preferred to use the 120 stairs anyway as one way of keeping fit, but might be a problem for others.
2. This apartment is immediately over the elevator shaft and the bedroom alcove is immediately adjacent to the elevator control unit, so every time the elevator is in use, there's a series of shrill whining noises followed by loud clunking sounds rumbling through the apartment. Depending on the length of one's stay, this kind of noise might prove quite bothersome.
3. The shower unit is very small and has neither a soap dish nor a hook on which to attach the shower head. Ok for me, but could be a problem for someone who's a bit on the chunky side, especially if trying to hold a slippery bar of soap in one hand while holding the shower hose in the other. (No convenient towel racks or towel hooks, but there are three chairs over which damp towels can be draped.)
4. Strong, periodic stench emanating from the shower outflow pipe. Sometimes overpowering, but significantly reduced by putting a wet cloth over the outlet at the base of the shower unit. Could prove very irritating to some people.
5. The tap in the kitchen sink needs an extension that's fitted with a splash guard! The distance between the tap and the bottom of the sink is about 43 cm, so when the water hits the sink surface, there's a very wide radius of spray across the counters. Not a problem for me, but could be a nuisance for others. I simply put a towel around me, cleared the counters, then covered them with plastic bags.
6. Being part of a loft, the ceilings are pitched. Not a problem for me, but could be a problem for tall people, especially in the bedroom alcove.
The bottom line:
Would I return to this place? No.
I consider myself to be a pretty low maintenance guest/tenant, and I'm fairly adaptable to conditions that are not always optimal. I'm also a very responsible person, and I don't make a lot of mess, particularly for others to clean up. I find it offensive being told that I leave a dirty apartment, particularly in the absence of any cleaning utensils that can be used between the rare cleanings of the apartment. I also resent being put at risk of a costly fine because of false information!
Would I recommend this place to others? No.