Hotel Best Inn tries very hard to appear as an upscale hotel, but so many factors just kept bringing it further and further down in my eyes. To preface this review, I was here on business with NATO for one week and working at the Joint Force Training Command in Bydgoszcz Centre.
The hotel itself and the grounds look very nice. It’s not overly done up, but it’s pleasant to look at. The surrounding area is also very pretty, if very remote (more on that later).
When I arrived I went straight for the main desk where I was surprised to be greeted by a hostess who didn't speak any English. Not just poor English, but no English at all. Having traveled extensively I'm frequently confronted by situations where I'm having to struggle to communicate but never at the hotel front desk. After what should have taken 2 minutes, but took almost 5-10 minutes, I was given a key.
I was somewhat shocked when I walked into my room to find a baby crib, an unmade bed and a glass of what looked to be warm beer sitting on the bed table. I immediately went back to the front desk where it was yet another ordeal to try and explain why I was back with all my baggage. Eventually a hotel employee who did speak English was brought in to help. Despite all this the staff were incredibly friendly and all smiles the entire time. Never once did I feel like I was being ignored or pushed away or feel like I was a problem, it was just very difficult to communicate. The end result was I received a new room reservation rather than having to wait for the first one to be cleaned.
This new room was just next to the one I had recently vacated and was at the end of the hallway near an exit door and had a large window which opened onto the hotel driveway. It was clean and remained so for the entire week that I was there. I had a lot of personal possessions lying about the room in various places and was also pleased to find that they were never disturbed by the cleaning crew the entire time I was there. The room had 3 small (very narrow) single beds. Despite being very clean in appearance, one of the pillows on the bed smelled rank. Like someone with horrible body odor had used it as a seat cushion. I tossed it across the room and never touched it again. Everything else, including the two other pillows, smelled freshly laundered. As I mentioned the beds were very narrow, which for someone like me (6'1" and a toss-in-my-sleeper) made it very difficult to get to sleep and stay asleep.
In that same vein, having a window next to the driveway was aggravating. A large, bright streetlamp was just outside my window and left on all night. All of the beds were close enough to the window to be affected, so the solution wasn’t as simple as just switching beds. After the second night I finally used the bedcovers from the other two beds to fashion some makeshift blackout curtains. Thankfully the maid-service left them there so I didn't have to repeat this every night.
Though I couldn’t hear my next door neighbors all the time, I could easily hear whenever they were in the bathroom, which must have abutted my headboard. Running water, flushing toilets, showers and other general bathroom noises were all very audible.
The bathroom had no toiletries except for a bottle of hand-soap attached to the wall by the sink. I usually bring my own, so this wasn't an issue for me but other visitors should be aware. This is not something typically provided by the hotel either. My travel companion hadn’t brought any and asked if they could provide shampoo. He was led around to try and find something to satisfy him, but ended up empty handed. On each bed was laid a towel for showering which was woefully inadequate. It's about the size of a slightly large hand-towel. I'm guessing this was to allow for larger loads of towels to be done at once. Thank goodness there were three beds because it took 2+ towels to dry off after my shower every morning.
The shower itself was large and would have been nice... except for the fact that the fastener for the removable shower head was broken. This meant that there would be no relaxing in the water of the shower to wake up as you had to hold the shower head at all times. Such a disappointment considering a part like this can't cost more than a few Zloty to replace.
There is also no Iron or Ironing Board in the room. I don’t know if one could have been gotten from the main desk as I had no use for one this trip, but could be a deal breaker for others.
Another major disappointment was the Internet. I’ve become accustomed to free internet being about as slow as dial-up, when it works, but it’s still aggravating to encounter it. For the first day the internet didn’t work. When it began working the next day it was so painfully slow as to almost be non-existent anyway. If you’re doing any more than just basic email you’ll over-tax it. Skype was out of the question as was most web browsing, youtube or video/audio streaming. Coverage was pretty extensive but in this day and age it’s getting harder and harder to make excuses for poor internet.
There is also no phone in the rooms (at least not in the room I was in). If you have to make any local calls you have to use the front desk. Likewise if there are any problems with the room or anything necessitating a call to the front desk, you have to walk to the front desk to get it taken care of.
The TV is your run of the mill set. Nothing special. Not flat screen. Where it fails is in only providing 4 channels. The only non-polish channel being an RT News channel.
Surprisingly there is an ample supply of plugs and outlets in the room. Even in most 4-5 stars I find I’m having to decide whether to leave a lamp plugged in or charging my phone or charge my laptop. Here I was able to do all three and could have plugged in more. Something I wish more hotels would do.
My first and last evenings I ate dinner there and was not disappointed. Though not Michelin quality food, it wasn’t gross or tasteless and was presented well. I especially enjoyed their salad. Although we did have to wait quite a long time before ever being presented with menus. The breakfast was a very European breakfast of a few meats and usually a single type of cheese and bread. They also served yogurt and a small selection of cold cereal. Where I was disappointed was in the drink selection. You had your choice of either Coffee or Tea or a pitcher of slowly warming milk which tasted (to me) like the UHT Boxed Milk I’ve experienced typically only in 3rd world countries. No juices or even water was available. On one morning I was unfortunate enough to not find a table and so sat at the bar with a clear view of the kitchen. Disturbingly, I watched as dishes were brought back for washing where the trash and leftovers were removed and the dishes given a very cursory wipe from a sponge under cold running water. In the 10 minutes I sat there I never once saw any application of soap and the faucet remained angled to the cold side the entire time. Not really what one wants to see as they’re eating off the dishes that just came from that kitchen.
The straw that broke the camel’s back for me was the distance from the city centre. It took a 10-15 minute cab ride to get in or back from Centre which made eating out, touring and general exploring after work quite tedious. Like I mentioned, the surrounding area was forested and quite nice to look at... but it was the same view after 10+ minutes of walking. Fortunately the cabs aren’t prohibitively expensive, but I’m sure you could do much better at the centre of town.
All in all, the hotel looks nice and is in a very quiet part of town... which is to say it’s not in town at all. The decor is nice, the grounds are nice and the employees are friendly and ready to please but I just can’t give it a higher rating based on the fact that there are so many tiny yet quickly and easily solvable problems that have not been addressed.
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