Tried & Tested

Hotel check: Crowne Plaza Hotel Bratislava

24 May 2010 by BusinessTraveller

What’s it like? The 224-room Crowne Plaza Hotel Bratislava is a well-established property, centrally located in the Slovak capital. Formerly the Forum hotel, the Soviet-style building was taken over by Intercontinental Hotels Group in 2005. It’s a large, dominating building from the outside but inside has a good atmosphere, the lobby area and Plaza bar busy with people chatting, and light streaming through the large windows. There are pastries and apples on the reception desk and a Ferrari on display (the offices for Ferrari are in the hotel). One nice touch was that the lifts had mats in that changed to show each day of the week. Staff were friendly and helpful.

Where is it? Centrally located on the edge of the Old Town and opposite the Presidential Palace. It’s about a 40-minute drive to Vienna airport (which has good international connections) and about 15 minutes from Bratislava airport, a large hub for Ryanair and other European carriers. You can walk into the centre of the Old Town in ten minutes and be by the river in 15 minutes.

Room facilities Rooms are on the second to fifth floors (Executive Club rooms are on the fifth). All have a bath and shower with adjustable shaving mirror, a minibar, safe, workdesk, free wired internet access, tea and coffee-making facilities, and a large TV. Executive Club rooms and suites come with free wifi and breakfast, served either in the main breakfast room as a buffet or in the Executive Club lounge (continental). The lounge is open to Club guests from 6am to 11pm and also has free snacks and drinks, a free cocktail happy hour and access to two meeting rooms (free for club guests and one other person). I stayed in an Executive Club room, which was spacious and comfortable with simple décor and a soft, comfortable bed.

Crowne Plaza has launched a Sleep Advantage programme with new beds and bedlinen and advice from Dr Chris Idzikowski – an expert on sleep and director of the Edinburgh Sleep Centre. The Bratislava property had just instigated the programme when I stayed in April. The idea is that the hotel will do everything possible to make sure you get a good night’s sleep. From Sunday to Thursday no housekeeping or engineering activities are carried out from 9pm to 10am and guests are also asked to respect the quiet zone. The hotel guarantees a wake-up call within five minutes of your requested time, or your room is free. I found This Works aromatherapy essential oils on my pillow. These included a roll-on Breathe-in product made with frankincense and eucalyptus, and a Deep Calm pillow spray with lavender and camomile. I slept very well for the two nights I stayed. 

Restaurants and bars Breakfast is served in the main Magd A Lena room from 6am to 10.30am (11.30am on weekends). It is a large, open space with sunlight streaming through orange curtains, making it bright and airy. The buffet breakfast includes an array of cold meats and cheese, salad, fruits and yoghurts, Actimel, bread and fresh juices and a wide selection of teas and coffees. I didn’t think the hot selection looked very appetising but other people seemed to be enjoying it. Magd A Lena is open only for breakfast and group lunches and dinner. Fusion restaurant is open for lunch and dinner (12pm-3pm and 6pm-10pm) and has a Malaysian head chef who produces “Euro-Asian” cuisine. There are dishes from Malaysia, Thailand, India and China on the menu and I tried a Thai noodle dish, which was delightful. The service was also excellent. The Plaza bar in the lobby is popular for coffees and cocktails and you can order your drinks and sit on the lovely open terrace at the back of the hotel. There is also a cigar lounge.

Business and meeting facilities The Crowne Plaza is well-equipped for meetings and events and often hosts government officials and huge car exhibitions. There is 1,246 sqm meeting space and a total of 14 meeting rooms, including a ballroom with capacity for 350 people theatre-style. Most meeting rooms have daylight and can be connected and adjusted according to your preferred layout. There are plenty of breakout areas too. The Boardroom Bratislava has a nice concept – it’s a large panelled room with a circular boardroom table and traditional chairs. There are comfy chairs and a sofa and coffee table in the same room so the meeting is all-contained. The casino (which is to close in June) may be refurbished into more meeting space later in the year. There is a business centre by the Executive Club lounge.

Leisure facilities The fitness centre (open 5.30am-11pm) was refurbished with new machines in August last year and has a wooden floor and huge windows. You have to pay for the sauna (€10) but it is free to use the lovely pool. There are also massage treatment rooms. 

Verdict An excellent well-established business hotel with all the facilities you would need and in a good location for the Old Town’s delightful cafés and squares. 

Fact file

How many rooms? There are 224 rooms, including 15 suites.

Room highlights A good size and a great bed and free internet access. Executive Club rooms come with excellent benefits including lounge access.

Price Internet rates for a midweek stay in June started from €162 for a Standard room.

Contact Crowne Plaza Hotel Bratislava, Hodzovo Namestie 2; tel +421 2 5934 8111;

Felicity Cousins

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