I had the pleasure of calling the Riviera on Podol "home" for about three weeks on a business trip in July and August 2011. I can honestly say the staff are some of the best I've encountered in any hotel, whether in Western Europe, the US or even uber-hospitable South Africa. They take a genuine interest in your needs and take pride in not just meeting but exceeding them.
The Riviera is offering five-star service at a much more reasonable rate. Perhaps more important is the personalized service that makes the experience far more intimate and cozy than one would have at a huge chain property. They are proud to show guests what true Ukrainian hospitality is. Kyiv is in desperate need of more properties like this and should be proud of the Riviera for setting such an example.
I arrived with a horrible cold and cough; a little while later, a piping hot glass of milk with honey was delivered to me in the business center. This is the level of service that Dennis, the front-desk manager, strives for daily. He remembered my name from the first day, something that just doesn't happen in huge chain hotels.
The breakfast staff greeted my colleagues and me each day with a smile, a "dobre utra" and even a memory of how we each ordered our eggs the previous day (and sometimes a suggestion of cheese, ham, vegetables, etc). The food at breakfast is delicious, fresh and varied. Every day I had eggs to order, cereal with fresh fruit, a huge salad with steamed vegetables or spinach, cheeses, meats, hot pancakes and pastries...needless to say I was full until dinner every day. On the morning of my colleague's birthday, I asked for "something special" for him. A festive mini cake complete with bright sparkler arrived just after he finished his breakfast. They even turned the lights down as they brought it out. That same colleague would later receive a bottle of sparkling wine in his room (a surprise).
As business travelers, my colleagues and I couldn’t have asked for more. The front-desk staff is always friendly, patient and professional, with a high level of English. Wi-fi throughout the hotel is priceless! Every day we ordered at least two taxis, which we often rescheduled several times. The staff never once seemed bothered by our ever-changing plans and we always had a ride on time. Any request we had, they would meet with pleasure, from sourcing an electrical cord for our own portable printer to helping with directions when we chose to walk or take the metro to meetings.
I can’t say enough about the level of service at the Riviera. It is what made my stay so special. But as I'm rambling (I was there for a while, so there is a lot to say!), these are more positive aspects:
- Location: Couldn't be more convenient! The metro and funicular (both clean and fun experiences) are literally steps away. In minutes you can be in the breathtaking square by St. Michael's church up above. Take the steep road on the other side of the hotel to connect with charming, cobblestoned Andriivski Uzviz, where you'll find street vendors selling Ukrainian crafts and clothing -- and a stunning approach to the ornate St. Andrew's church. The Podol area of Kyiv is special, with its laid-back but buzzing vibe, dozens of cafe terraces and old-city but modern feel. And of course the river views are lovely from the hotel's 7th-floor restaurant!
- Rooms: The rooms are very well-equipped and cleaned to near-perfection every day. Beds are very comfortable; linens changed each day (at least from my experience). I miss the luxurious comforter and pillows! Shampoo, conditioner, lotion and two complimentary water bottles were replenished daily. And I loved the Roshen chocolate on my pillow each night. My room had a lovely balcony with views of the river and the funicular, which made for fascinating people-watching.
- Other: Laundry service was fast and accommodating -- I'd asked for my clothes to be washed but not dried; when I returned to my room, everything had been placed on individual hangers and hung to air dry in the bathroom. My colleague sent a jacket to be washed; when she received it back, they had taken the opportunity to mend a tear in the sleeve without her asking! I also got a haircut at the lovely spa. So convenient and the stylist was very friendly.
Only suggestions: Perhaps the business center could be a bit roomier, but they were always willing to help me print from the Cyrillic menu on the computer :-) I only used the fitness center once (I opted to "exercise" by walking all over, up and down Kyiv's many hills and stairs), as it was a little too small for me. But I'm glad they have one; many hotels don't!
To everyone at the Riviera on Podol (Dennis, Natalia, Andrey, Sergiy, Yuriy...everyone in the 2nd and 7th floor restaurants, the room service staff, the housekeeping staff...I wish I could remember all your names!,) “dyakuyu” for making our stay so very comfortable, memorable and unique. I will certainly be back on my next trip to Kyiv and I wish you nothing but success for years to come!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Boutique Hotel Riviera on Podol is located in the central historical part of Kiev in just 30 minutes drive from the International Airport. Hotel offers 64 standard rooms and 15 suites with the Dnipro river view. Boasting luxurious interior, modern equipment and inimitable service provide a wonderful opportunity to work and relax.-Conference hall for 70 seats and a Meeting room.-Business Centre, free Wi-Fi Internet connection all over the Hotel.-Restaurant with Ukrainian and European cuisine, 24-hours Room Service, large selection of dishes for breakfast, Terrace on the top floor, VIP lounge adjacent to the Restaurant. -Fitness Centre and SPA. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Boutique Hotel Kiev