on April 22, 2009
Hotel Hetman is the last hotel I stayed in Warsaw just before I moved over to live in the city. The hotel is situated in an area of Warsaw called Praga which is one of my favourite areas. Praga once had a reputation for being a bit dodgy and wasn't the best place to walk around during an evening. Over the last few years this district has had a face lift and is now considered to be one of the more Bohemian areas of Warsaw. Booking~~~~~~Reservations were made on line using a credit card. A deposit of 20% was taken and the balance was then paid on the day of departure. This was a very straight forward transaction.Exact Location~~~~~~~~~~~Hotel Hetman is a tenement building which was built at the end of the 19th century and has been recently renovated. Location wise it is in a superb location - being within walking distance of the Old Town, close to Praski Park and the Zoo, St Florian Cathedral and the beautiful red brick Orthodox Church of St Magdalena. A Carrefour shopping complex is close by as well as a hospital and the famous Le Cedre restaurant which serves the best Lebanese food in Warsaw.Trams 13 and 23 will take you to the Hotel Hetman.Arrival and Reception~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~We arrived at the hotel quite late in the evening about 9.30pm. I remember being greeted by a young man on reception who could speak quite good English. He was polite but a little aloof. The reception lobby is quite stylish with a dark oak Art Deco type desk facing the front arched doorway, looking out on to the street. The reception hall was well lit with tiny lights in the ceiling like in theatres and also brass and stainless steel mounted wall lamps which made the whole area very pleasant.Postcards, newspapers and a comprehensive selection of leaflets illustrating, 'what to do,' and 'how to go on,' in the city were available. The reception area is quite large with a long sweeping entrance at the back of the desk which leads to a very large bar area with a Grand Piano. I might add that on that particular evening the bar area was 'dead.'After checking in and having our passports scrutinised we were given a swipe card to let us into our room. We then took the lift to check out our room which was on the 3rd floor. Altogether there are 68 rooms. Room~~~~~After fiddling around with the swipe card we eventually opened the door and I noticed how heavy it was. Probably for soundproofing reasons or perhaps fire precautions. The room was very pleasant and had a cosy atmosphere. We had a double bed with a very highly polished headboard which matched the desk and mirror at the front of the room. I do believe you can ask for two seperate beds if you don't wish to have a room with a double bed in. A double bed was fine for us and after immediately toppling on top if it, it seemed very soft and comfy. The bedspread was quilted in a floral pattern which matched the curtains. Nothing too hectic. The carpet was a pale green which matched the 2 covered seats of the chairs next to a coffee table with a vase of flowers sat on the top if it. I thought this was a nice touch. On top of the desk was a very attractive lamp giving the room a mellow ambience, a small tray with two small bottles of water - one natural and the other sparkling. There was a radio, telephone, internet connection and satelite TV also in our room.I was impressed with the two very large windows because I do like a lot of light to shine into a room in the day so this was excellent. Bathroom~~~~~~~The bathroom was quite small and compact but very modern. I have found this to be the case in a lot of Polish and other Eastern European hotels that the bathrooms seem to be the trendiest rooms. All the tile work was brand new and was a mottled rusty colour with very posh stainless steel taps. The shower was in the bath but then had a trendy perspex full length splash cover. Towels were incredibly soft, white and fluffy and a pleasure to dry your skin on. I am very fussy about towels. A selection of free shower gel, soap, shampoo, moisturiser were in a little wicker basket at the side of the bath ready for us to use which was a nice touch.Restaurant~~~~~~~~We only used the restaurant for breakfast so I am unable to comment on the other meals served. Breakfast is in the form of a buffet which is laid out on a table in a small foyer type room leading off from the dining room. Breakfast is served from 7am until 11pm. We generally arrived for breakfast at around 10am.The dining room is pleasant enough except the carpet looked like it needed a good hoovering and the tables weren't cleared away very quickly so as it was very busy each morning when we entered the only table free was one that was full of someone else's debris.If I am honest I have to say that the whole breakfast time was a fiasco. Although the buffet table might have been full with goodies to start off with by the time we arrived it was half empty and there wasn't any juice or coffee left so we had to ask and the response wasn't over positive. From what I could make out there was a very odd mixture of foodstuffs left to eat - some I wouldn't try at all. Lots of pickled things - mushrooms, cucumbers, beetroot etc. Squidgy bits of fish floating around in oil and peppers - not my sort of thing for breakfast. Just give me some cereal and toast, please! I did find some cakes but they were a little dried out. Eventually I found the cereal selection and a couple of boiled eggs and fruit so in the end I was happy. But I wasn't impressed with the bill of fare for breakfast and the service was totally disorganised.Bar~~~The first night we arrived the bar was absolutely dead and the waitress wasn't serving. In fact, I think she was closing up. We asked for a drink but she refused. My husband asked the young man on reception if we could have a beer taken up to our room and he said that there wasn't any staff on duty to do room service. Perhaps try tomorrow. We were both a bit miffed with that and went up to our room to sulk. But my husband is a very determined character and wouldn't let this lie so after about half an hour he phoned down and the night porter answered. My husband asked if he could bring two beers up to the room and he did. He quietly knocked on the door and brought the two beers and two glasses on a tray. He smiled and we said, 'Thank you very much.' Thank goodness somebody was civilised.Overall opinion~~~~~~~~~~I wasn't really impressed with The Hetman. It had no character at all. This hotel could be anywhere in Europe and sadly I have stayed in a lot of hotels that are very similar. They have given the building a face-lift but not moved on in customer care circles. The staff weren't entirely rude but they were disinterested and without charisma.The rooms were clean and very comfortable but lacking in character . The breakfast room/dining room was chaotic and the staff waiting on were totally disorganised. The only good thing I can say is that the location is good and Praga is a great area. I have stayed in a cheaper hotel in the same area which is more jaded but has a lot more character and a nicer ambience - Hotel Praski. So I am sorry Hotel Hetman I have to give you the thumbs down. I don't think I will be using this hotel again or booking any of my family into it. Just to give you an idea of price - we paid around £60 about 18 months ago. I have checked and the price is a round £80 now for a double room. Off peak deals are available and it is cheaper to stay in the hotel at the weekend.
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