Monday, October 12, 2009

Belgrade Hotels - 4 Stars Hotels, Part 1

Monday, October 12, 2009


Neutral description: Hyatt Regency Hotel is one of the first Belgrade hotels from world known hotel chains. The hotel is located on the New Belgrade side of the river, near the Branko's Bridge and a few kilometers from the city center, so many public transportation lines intersect in the vicinity of the hotel. At the distance of a few minutes walk from the hotel is one of the largest shopping malls in the Balkans, as well as the Ušće promenade next to the confluence of the Sava and Danube, with a number of  "splavovi" (rafts) with cafes and restaurants. 


Hyatt Regency Hotel has 302 rooms and suites. Standard rooms are approximately 38 sq m and offer, among other things, TV with cable and satellite programs, 24-hour concierge services and room service. Besides regular price of accommodation Hyatt Regency has special offers, packages and special services. Hotel's public space and halls are also available for organizing different types of events, whether it comes to business meetings, conferences or private celebrations, and for businessmen there is a business center. 


Hotel has several bars, a restaurant, swimming pool, shops, wellness center, and several rooms for various purposes, and their own space for parking. The entire hotel has wireless internet connection enabled.


My opinion: When the hotel was built  in the late eighties, its elegant and modern look with a modern way of business and variety of services, began to fade the glory of all other Belgrade hotels. Marble staircase that leads to the hall, located above the fountain that looks like natural stream, once inhabited by live ducks, is real attraction for visitors. Besides its appearance and luxury, the hotel won the Hyatt and a rich and wide range of food, which has always enticed many guests. Hyatt often organized and some days the world's national cuisine, and the heads are usually the heads of Hyatt's kitchen at the hotel in that country. Besides splendid cuisine and good wellness programs, the Hyatt has several rooms for conferences and meetings, which can be adjusted for purpose, if necessary, so that eg. the Crystal Hall can suite formal banquets and weddings, as well as Christmas sales, conferences or fashion shows. A top quality hotel catering meets the requirements of each type of event.


I was lucky to win a quiz prize - one night in Hyatt, so I had the opportunity to see the hotel from "the inside". Room was very spacious (standard rooms are approximately 38 sq m), so that besides huge marital bed, which is more than comfortable, there is plenty of room for medium-sized launge and writing desk. The room is light and the view from windows depends on the side its facing (because it was free, of course I had a disgusting view to some of the ugliest parts of the building). Bathroom is very big, very luxurious, and it was the first time in my life that i saw telephone next to the toilet in reality LOL! The rooms are well sound isolated, so external sounds don't reach the room, and the resting is guaranteed. The staff was so discreet, that you could hardly even notice them, yet all that is needed to be done is perfectly done.


Although it's located on the New Belgrade side of the river, the hotel is very close to the city center, and an additional benefit is that one of the largest shopping malls in the Balkans was built recently near the hotel, next to the great promenade at the confluence of rivers Sava and Danube, with numerous rafts (with cafes, restaurants and night clubs), for which Belgrade is famous.




Neutral description: Built in late seventies, at the same time as the Sava Center, Hotel Continental was the first large modern hotel in Belgrade, and also the first big luxury hotel located on the New Belgrade side of the river. The hotel is connected to the Sava Convention Center and was built in similar style. For many years the hotel has carried the name "Intercontinental" as a part of the famous hotel chain. 


In addition to facilities for seminars and other business meetings, international cuisine, several restaurants and bars, this is one of the first hotels in Belgrade, which offered a wellness and fitness services, including indoor pool, and it was the first to had its own tennis courts. Rooms were equipped to give comfort in accordance with the category of hotels, like fast internet, 24-hrs room service, free cosmetics. Business center with all its facilities is available at any time. 


Continental is located next to the highway, and turned towards the old part of Belgrade, which gives a panoramic view of some of the major Belgrade attractions, as well as the river. The hotel is located in vicinity of Belgrade Arena, shopping mall Ušćethe promenade at the confluence of rivers Sava and Danube, with numerous rafts, and the city center is only a few kilometers away. 



My opinion: When this hotel was built in the late seventies, at the same time as the Sava Center, a miracle of modern age was represented to the citizens of Belgrade, both by design and services. Connected with the Convention Center (Sava Center) this was the first large modern hotel of its kind in Belgrade, and also the first large luxury hotel located on the other side Sava River. Hotel and the Convention Center were built in similar architectural style. Its career began as a part Intercontinental hotel chain, but years of not changing anything important for doing hotel business, like interior, service etc. caused the loss of hotel's former status. It's interesting that the hotel management obviously think that there is no need to make new neon sign for the hotel, and that it was  enough to remove the letters saying "INTER", so ever since, between the words "HOTEL" and "CONTINENTAL" there is disproportional gap - and no one seems to be bothered...


Various seminars, lectures and similar events are often held in Continental and Sava Center, so many of us have had the opportunity to see the restaurants, meeting rooms and congress halls of this hotel. The fact is that when you enter the main hall, where the reception is, one could see the distinct spirit of seventies fashion, which hasn't been changed even slightly: brass pillars, massive rounded seatings, strangely shaped chandeliers, bar with brass parts...


Receptionists are painfully slow and give away the impression of complete indifference. To check in our guest, for whom we had booked a room several days in advance, we had to wait for about 45 minutes. At the end they almost lost his passport!


The less common opportunity for us is to see the rooms - it is usually when you have guests (mostly business). Our colleague from abroad complained about the room, and she showed me the condition of it. It was really scary, especially when you know prices of b&b. Except for the fact that the carpet had disgusting op-art pattern, it was stained in several places, room was very small and narrow, bathroom was very old. After that episode, my company changed the hotel for our colleagues from abroad.


Hotel Continental needs urgent renovation, and if something is not to be done soon to its modernization, increasing competition will quickly run over it. It is a great pity that such large and ambitious investment fails after only thirty years ...






Neutral description: Holiday Inn is one of the newest hotels in Belgrade, located in New Belgrade, 500 m from the Belgrade Arena, between the two largest shopping malls, Delta City and Ušće, less than 5 km from the Belgrade Fair, same as from Knez Mihailova Street, while the airport is 10 km away. The hotel is connected to the multi functional Expo Center XXI. 


This is one of the few hotels in Belgrade where pets are welcome, and with more than half of non-smoking rooms. All windows are double glazed and can be opened. In addition to the fitness center, the hotel offers spa services, andthe reception offers, among other things,  tickets reservation and tourist services. Hotel has a business center, and in addition it offers concierge services. The hotel has a kiosk with magazines and ATM. 


Hotel's restaurant is oriented towards the Balkan cuisine and has an open kitchen connected to the dining hall, while snack bar is located in the lobby. Holiday Inn has 14 fully equipped meeting rooms of different capacities.



My opinion: Holiday Inn Hotel was built recently in Belgrade, it was strange that haven't noticed it, although I knew roughly where it is, and knowing that it was a pretty big building, the whole situation was even stranger. Only recently I found out why it is so, when our friends came to Belgrade by business for a few days. Since we agreed to pick them up in the hotel, I checked hotel  location on the internet, so we headed there very confident and - almost missed the hotel! The building is large, but looks like a lot of other new buildings in New Belgrade, and worst of all is that the sign is totally unnoticeable. I must admit that I have noticed the sign only because of Holiday Inn's distinctive logo, not because it's observable - it is too small, and it's placed just above the entrance. Luckily that it was already dark, so the sign was glowing, otherwise I don't believe that I would notice it on a daylight.



I haven't seen rooms, but my friends said that they were very satisfied and that rooms meet the level of expectancy. What shocked me was a roar that we heard all the time while we waited for one more member to join us. In the beginning I could not realize what it was, but I soon recognized the rhythm of techno music that came from somewhere. In fact, it was coming from the Expo Center XXI, which it is connected to Holiday Inn. I was shocked to find that such loud noise could be heard in the hotel. Soon the last person we waited joined us, and she complained that she could not sleep, thanks to such rave parties because they are shaking the entire room. Really big, big mistake ... All in all, the hotel is great, but when there are no rave parties in the Expo Center. 



The external parking is very tight and it's hard to find space. Reception looks like it came from science fiction films: a lot of open space, glass stairs that lead somewhere, lights in the floor ... Part of the bar looks less SF, but it also looks like it came out of the interior design magazine. Toilets are perfectly clean, with sensor faucets and pot pourri. Front Desk, with its massive pillars, dominates the huge hall. 



Location of the hotel is good for business people who are business-related to Novi Beograd, because it is associated with the Expo Center, Sava Center is only a few minutes drive, and Arena is very close. It is relatively close to the airport, and nearby a large shopping mall, Delta City. 






Note: I wrote all the descriptions and opinions in this post, and they were published on www.trivago.rs. All photographs are my property.


5 comments:

SAJKACA said...

Good post! To be honest I like the style of (Inter)Continental very much and I hope if they happen to remodel it, that they take care of the 70ies spirit that should be emphasized!
I would hire a guy like Karim Rashid to do that, but if the management doesn't even take care about good service it probably care even less about good style!
http://sajkaca.blogspot.com/2008/04/intercontinental-hotel-in-belgrade.html

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