I admit that I was nervous about the Intourist Hotel. I'd heard all the bad publicity about how these hotels operated in Soviet times: unpleasant floor matrons who made you leave your room key, cold rooms, only occasional hot water, etc. While the Brest Intourist Hotel is not up to Western European standards, it did not play to stereotype either. And at times, it was a lot of fun. Mainly, the hotel needs to be remodeled. But for the price, it's a fine place to stay. The hotel still has a bit of rigid Soviet formality, but the staff does a good job with what they've got.
LOCATION: When I got to town, I decided to walk to the hotel. It took about 20 minutes from the railway station, due south. Plenty of buses also run from the area just south of the railway station for a mere 480 BYR -- that's under $0.25USD. I didn't see many taxis in Brest, although they had a few. Brest Fortress is an incredible site to see, with free admission. It's about 2 km west of the hotel, and you can walk it easily enough. Bus #17 also goes out that way, but only once per hour or less. There is a department store one block east, and it's the best place I found to browse for some good vodka and anything else you might want. For a good restaurant, try Jules Verne about 3 blocks to the northwest.
SITES: Brest Fortress is the primary tourist site in the city and should not be missed. The hotel has a tourism office that can help you with sightseeing, although it's only open on weekdays. Next door, St. Simon Orthodox Cathedral is light green and very pretty.
ROOM: I was given a well-lit 9th floor room with a view of the Cathredral. The carpet was well-worn, but the room was kept clean and tidy. It was winter and the room was rather warm. The bed was a true single -- not a lot of room, but not uncomfortable. There was a TV and radio, although nothing in English. My favorite thing in the room was a brochure on Brest that clearly came from Soviet times. It was fun reading! At night, the hotel had someone to keep an eye on the floor. She was pleasant and helpful. By day, the hall lights were off and it was a bit dark.
BREAKFAST: Not good! Breakfast was served in the 2nd (?) floor bar. It's very small and I can't imagine what they'd do if the hotel was full. At any rate, only two people were in there. Breakfast was full-service, with some runny eggs and bread. Coffee is not recommended; try tea instead.
DRINKS: There's a small cafe' on the ground floor that doubles as a bar at night. It was Saturday night, and it was packed with people. Local beer is pretty good and costs about $1 USD. Cheers!
The hotel also has an exchange counter, security, a casino and three time-tested elevators. One of them felt a little bit like a thrill ride.
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