If you are heading to Kharkiv, congrats! You are going to a mad and wonderful place. Embrace the weird, not many westerners visit, and while the new airport terminal has removed some of the old fashioned charm, it's still like traveling back in time.
I've stayed at the Cosmopolit 6 times, the Chichikov once, and have had a detailed tour of the Aurora. I've been coming here for 4 years. These and Hotel Kharkov are the top 4 hotels in town. Unless you are a student or on a budget, they deserve to be top of anyone's list of Kharkov hotels. The Cosmopolit is unquestionably No 1 on my list.
Let's get the bad stuff out the way first... The Cosmopolit scores badly in the location department. It's a 10 minute drive from the city centre, with very little around. It's located 5km out of town on the relatively undeveloped Moscow road. You pass some parks, factories, woods and a couple of roadside restaurants to get there. The road veers round to the right and you come into a developed area which has an old fashioned convenience store, pharmacy and a couple of low end eateries. None of these are particularly obvious or appealing (with the possible exception of the Pizza place) but they are there if you need them. A modern supermarket is a 15 minute walk further along the road and round to the left - where the road literally comes to an end.
You will therefore be taking a taxi every time you go to or from the hotel. Taxi's in Kharkiv are ridiculously cheap, so you will pay around 50 gryvna (£4 / $6) from the hotel to the city, and as little as 28 gryvna (£2 / $3) coming back. Good luck getting a taxi with a seatbelt for the journey home. (If this bothers you, find a taxi driver you like, and keep their number).
Once you mentally accept that it's a 'taxi every time', this black mark for location evaporates. If you think you will be bouncing in and out of your hotel multiple times a day, this is not going to be the hotel for you, unless you have some mad penchant for deathtrap Lada's and their multi-tasking taxi drivers. If you like the idea of retreating to a place of genuine luxury, privacy and comfort, and feeling you are the only person in town, Cosmopolit is your choice.
My review of the Cosmopolit in detail...
I've talked about the location as a negative, there are a couple of other negatives and I write these mainly for the hotel to fix them.
The main one perhaps has less to do with the Cosmopolit but Ukraine in general. If you are not adventurous in the food department, as I am not, you will have a tough time. Ukrainian interpretations of Western food are frankly odd, with the notable exception of breakfast. The restaurant in the Cosmopolit is considered a very high end 'Italian' restaurant in Kharkiv. Veer away from the pizzas though and it's pot luck. It's also expensive. The Ukrainian dishes are much cheaper and actually reasonably priced, if you are feeling adventurous. The translations on the menu aren't great. Here's an important tip though... Food in Ukrainian restaurants is often sold literally by the gram, so the price you see is not necessarily the price you pay. The Cosmopolit have got better at pointing this out to foreigners, presumably after some complaints. It generally only applies to meat and seafood dishes.
If it rains at night, a design flaw in the outside metal window ledge means the sound of falling rain drops echoes loudly into your room, sounding like a radiator creaking. It kept me awake for hours one unfortunate night, like some cruel Chinese water torture. The hotel should fix this. I now bring ear plugs just in case.
The bed clothes suffer from being man made fibres, most notably the bedsheet which generates enough static to light a city. I'm sensitive though to man-made fibres so this might not bother you. It actually doesn't bother me that much, I end up throwing the bedsheet in the cupboard.
Now I've got all the bad stuff out the way, I can get onto the good stuff... and there's loads of it!
The Cosmopolit is an AMAZING hotel, beautifully designed, contemporary, and if a building can be sexy, this one is it. We're talking low-light, sophistication, and something Ian Schrager or Philippe Starck would be proud of. That this hotel is in Kharkiv, Ukraine is verging on the bizarre.
The service is nigh on impeccable. The staff stay here a long time, I see the same staff here from 4 years ago. They clearly take great pride in their work, value their jobs, and probably feel they are lucky to be working here - I can't blame them. If you need to work in general, this is a great place to do it. The desk is a decent size (unlike the Chichikov or Aurora), the rooms are very large and modern (unlike the Chichikov or Aurora), the internet works great, and nobody bothers you at all.
A substantial breakfast is included and is very good. A choice of hot food made to order from your table (eg Bacon and Eggs) is free and included, full service coffee to your table and a decent buffet. The staff are friendly and attentive without being over bearing.
Room service is available 24 hours a day which is great. There's a well stocked mini-bar that is priced reasonably. You've got satellite TV, cordless phone, and TONS of space.
Without hyperbole, the bathroom is the most amazing bathroom I've ever experienced in a hotel anywhere in the world. Heated floors, beautiful large beige tiles, it's a wetroom with a modern twist on Roman times. I challenge anyone not to have one shower during their stay - just for the fun of it. Did I say how much I love this bathroom?
I could go into much more depth as I know this hotel better than any I've every stayed at, but I don't want to bore you to death or kill all the surprises. Come here and you'll have a great time!
UPDATE: UEFA have selected the Cosmopolit as the official Kharkiv hotel for the Euro 2012 championships. The owners are tripling the size of the hotel and adding a gym, swimming pool and new bar. A year is a long way away, but depending on who is playing in Kharkiv I'd say there's a pretty good chance you'll find me at the bar, chatting it up with the players. Come and buy me a drink!
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- Also Known As:
- Cosmopolit Hotel Kharkiv