The Ogni Murmanska looms at the top of a hill on the edge of town like something out of a horror movie. We arrived in the dead of a white night to find the building sleeping quietly, shrouded in low cloud. Our taxi driver waited to see us find the main door open before hurtling back to civilisation below. Once inside, however, signs were more reassuring.
Reception is staffed around the clock and check-in was efficient and professional with our visas registered quickly. Our 2nd floor polu-lyux room overlooked the city and was clean and comfortable. The bathroom was a bright shower room and the room contained an entrance hall / anteroom with plenty of space for heavy coats, wet boots and suitcases. The TV had a wide selection of local, national and satellite stations, wi-fi internet access was included in the room rate and drinking water was provided.
The hotel provides an hourly free shuttle bus to the bottom of the hill where you can catch one of the frequent buses or trolleybuses to the city centre for 15RUB. The first shuttle bus left the hotel at 0715 and the last one returned at 2030 (alight at Avtobus Park to catch the return shuttle).
Our room rate included an excellent buffet breakfast with smoked salmon, fresh salads, hot Russian and international choices that changed daily and fresh creamy cakes. There was a selection of fruit juices and teas whilst coffee was from a temperamental machine.
The swimming pool was great fun. About 25m long with a flume, various artificial currents and an area for lane swimming, there was always a lifeguard on duty. Schoolchildren come for lessons mid-morning and families drop in in the evening (often with big splash - ha!). Poolside there are 2 good saunas (the Finnish one was VERY hot - bring an extra towel to protect your feet) and an excellent steam room.
In all areas of the hotel staff are professional and polite and some were really warm and friendly. Most staff speak some English, some speak a lot of English and we also heard German being spoken. The whole hotel is very clean - rooms, communal areas, swimming pool area - and there is always someone cleaning something somewhere.
If you can put up with staying out of the city centre (we were there for 4 days so it made sense to us), what you get at Ogni Murmanska is good value for money compared to hotels of a similar class. Park Inn charge more for a standard room without breakfast than we paid to stay here in a business room with a delicious breakfast. German website ehotel.com gave us a better rate than booking.com and we paid as we checked out. Public transport in Murmansk is cheap and efficient and the airport bus #10 passes the bottom of the hill for the hotel.