We stayed at the Niebieski Art Hotel and Spa for 5 nights as a party of 2 adults and a 4 year old child. Prior to our arrival, we reconfirmed our request for a rollaway bed with the hotel, and they responded very quickly that everything had been arranged. When we arrived, we were upgraded to a slightly larger room with a balcony facing the river, which was great!
The hotel had almost a Scandinavian design feel to it. We found that our room was designed quite simply and cleanly, with some artwork on the wall but otherwise austere. Our room had a queen sized bed and a rollaway twin, which was on a nice frame as opposed to the more standard folding kind with a thin mattress. The room was spacious enough to hold our luggage and still have ample walking space and play space for our child. We had a flat screen TV, a desk, and some chairs. The balcony didn't have seating, although our neighbor's room had chairs, so we presume it could have been arranged. The room had wired and wireless internet for free (no security code). We found the wireless to be of adequate speed for general internet browsing, but slightly slow in quality for doing work. The room also had a closet for hanging clothing as well as a safe, which was neatly opened by our room key in stead of a code. Free water was provided in glass bottles, which was a welcome touch for evenings at the hotel. We didn't use the mini bar. The room facing the river was quiet other than occasional foot traffic in the hallway. We don't know if the rooms facing the road behind the hotel would be equally quiet or not.
The bathroom was spacious and had a walk in shower, separated from the rest of the room by a plastic curtain (not exactly luxurious, but the shower was nice and spacious so it didn't matter in the end). We also had a sink, toilet, towel warming rack, and three sets of shampoo, lotion, and body gel. Our only complaint was a lack of tissues.
Our rate included breakfast, which was served in the main Vanilla Sky restaurant. Breakfast was in buffet format, and mostly cold items except for scrambled eggs and a few meats. The quality of the cold selections was excellent -- multiple kinds of fish, cheeses, meats, cereals, yoghurts, breads, and juices. Coffee / tea were available, and espresso-type beverages on demand. We found it to be a great start to the day, although our child regretted not having more hot options e.g. pancakes. during nice weather, the restaurant had outdoor balcony seats which are lovely, overlooking the river.
We also ate dinner once each at the hotel's two restaurants - Vanilla Sky and Pizza Fresco. The latter had excellent pizza and pasta choices, and was very child friendly. Considering the quality of food, the prices were extremely reasonable and had we not wanted to try more Polish cuisine, we would have been tempted to return. Vanilla Sky is a Polish fusion restaurant which appears to turn into a dance floor on occasion (not while we were there). The food was good -- we had beetroot soup with ravioli and then steak and pork dishes, and our child had pasta from the kids menu. The entrees appeared to try too hard to be creative, and would have been better with simple focus on the fresh quality. But we did enjoy ourselves, and also our child enjoyed the play room which was set up just behind the restaurant. Unfortunately our child was out of our sight while finishing off the meal, which meant that we took turns checking on him, but in the end, he had a great time so we were fine with it.
The location of the hotel on the river was fabulous - we walked to town twice. It was a slightly long walk for a 4 year old child, considering we were going to tour the rest of the day, but doable. He had a great time tossing pebbles into the river. The area in between the hotel and Wawel Castle is under renovation, so there was construction equipment at work during the weekdays. On the weekends, they left it open for people to walk or bike, which was quite nice. The hotel had a tram stop just behind it, so catching a tram to Old Town was easy and quick. The neighborhood didn't offer much to see or visit, other than the hotel itself, so if you want to walk out to shops and restaurants in the immediate area, this isn't the place for you. If you don't mind a stroll to city center and a good place to stay, then definitely give this hotel some consideration.
The staff in both the restaurants and the reception area did not exude friendliness (likely a cultural nuance), but when approached, they were very helpful and efficient, and even offered up helpful tips to ensure we didn't make common tourist mistakes. They all spoke passable English, although can't say everyone seemed comfortable in the language.
We took taxi's in both directions from and to the airport, and the price was between 80-100 zlotys and took approx 20 minutes to drive. The taxi which our hotel arranged was a large and comfortable van which was cheaper in the end than the small public taxi we took on the way in.
The hotel lobby also has the bar immediately there, with just two small sofa's for seating. We didn't intend to sit at the bar, but having seen it, we wouldn't have found it to be a place to linger, had we wanted a drink.
n.b. there is construction going on immediately next door to the hotel, but we didn't notice it at all. We did not use the fitness room or spa so can't comment on those. One last note -- despite passing no smoking laws in Poland a few years ago, there is quite a bit of smoking everywhere. Our room was clearly labeled as no smoking, but there was a slight residual odor in our room, possibly filtering in from the balconies or neighboring rooms.
We enjoyed our stay and would recommend the hotel.
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- Also Known As:
- Niebieski Hotel Krakow