I have lived and worked in Bucharest. I have stayed at most of the major hotels (Radisson, Marriott, Carol Parc, etc.) in the city. The Rad is always my first choice and for me is the best hotel in Bucharest. Not only do I stay here but when friends and family visit, I book them here. Even if the hotel exceeds their budget, I usually chip in the extra money from my own pocket because I know that the hotel will take care of them.
While each hotel has its own advantages and disadvantages and every traveller has a slightly different idea of luxury, I choose the Rad based on comfort and service. The rooms, particularly the bathrooms are the most up-to-date and luxurious in Bucharest. Beds are comfortable (with full King beds in some rooms) and based on European standards rooms are large and bright. I usually ask to stay over the pool area to avoid traffic noise but even then only very loud car horns or sirens can be heard through the windows and I have never heard noise from any of my neighbors. Some reviewers have characterized the rooms as "soulless" I am not sure that is fair, while the rooms are to a western standard I find the design funky, enjoyable, and functional.
I have eaten in Prime and Cafe Citta and had excellent meals there well above average of normal hotel food. However, the food and excellent service comes at a high cost well above that of most Romanian restaurants this is the same at the Marriott and other western hotels.
Beyond the rooms, the excellent food, and the best equipped fitness center in Bucharest at the adjoining World Class Health, what makes the hotel truly luxurious is the service. I have been fortunate enough to say in a lot of great hotels but I rarely have received better service anywhere. Early on during my stay, as I was learning the city, the hotel sent bellman, a security guard, and even a service manager with me to go the bank, change money, etc., just to make sure there were no problems.
More recently, a taxi in Bucharest cheated me. He charged me 30 Lei ($9) for what should have been a 10 Lei ($3) fare from the hotel to Piata Romana and back. When I arrived at the hotel, I gave the receipt to the head bellman, Mihai and he consulted with a young concierge, Vlad. They apologized profusely, and within 10 minutes they had called the company and the driver returned with my money. The next day, three separate staff members apologized and asked if the matter had been resolved. This kind of service anywhere, much less in Bucharest, is wonderful. If you ever have concerns about a taxi make sure to get a receipt and have the taxi drop you off in the hotel semi-circle no where else so that CCTV can get their information. Some pirate taxis will try to drop you 100 meters from the hotel to avoid the cameras. Staff were always friendly and helpful, particularly at reception and concierge. I also had the best most attentive housekeeping service of anywhere I have ever stayed.
Some previous reviews have mentioned the presence of "vice" in the hotel particularly escorts, etc. This is present in every major nightclub and hotel in Bucharest (and some minor ones as well) and many places in Central and Eastern Europe. I take this seriously because I don't want to be around that sort of behavior and I certainly don't want my friends and family around it. Having stayed in most of the major hotels, I can say that from my observations, the Rad has the least of these sorts of problems and I have personally observed security and other hotel staff ejecting such patrons from the hotel. While not perfect, I think the Rad does a better job than similar luxury hotels.
The only problem I had during my stay were disturbances on Calea Victoriei, particularly on weekend nights. Pirate taxis (those not affiliated with the hotel and thus likely to overcharge) stand opposite the hotel and try to confuse patrons into taking them, a small number of escorts walk between the Hilton Hotel on the next corner and the Rad, beggars and casino patrons walk through the hotel semi-circle. The hotel needs to do a better job of policing this single area and working with city authorities to do something about this. They particularly need more security staff and bellman after 11 pm on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday to better control the semi-circle in front of the hotel.
Despite this criticism, I want to be clear that none of these problems made it inside the hotel and the hotel does position staff to make sure such problems don't make it inside.
The Rad is my choice in Bucharest and I would freely recommend it to colleagues, friends, and family. Bucharest is a challenging city, but at the Rad you are going to have as comfortable a stay as possible.
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- Bucharest Radisson
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