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Travel Blogs from Krakow
Today we had the amazing and sombre opportunity to visit the town of Oswiecim, for those who don't know this is where Auschwitz was/is. We felt it was our duty since we were in the area to see it, though we both were glad to have been there also wish we hadn't gone. There is far more there than we'd expected to see and saw the things we'd hoped not to see. I will not go into detail on this day as I wouldn't be able to do it the justice it ...
... it was snowing lightly, but not too cold as I was wearing a jumper, coat, beanie and two pairs of pants. We entered through a replica of the famous Auschwitz gates, as the originals were stolen and vandalised a couple of years ago.
The Auschwitz buildings, they seemed to be mainly multi story red brick buildings, I was expecting them to be smaller. Outside it was eerily quiet, sombre, hard to imagine the atrocities that would have been going on such a ...
... were walking down we came across a poster on JP II on a house. Apparently he used to live in this house.
On reaching the town square we had a couple of hours to do our own thing before regrouping for our optional tour to a salt mine. A few of us grabbed some lunch and explored the immediate area around the town square. Thwarted in our hope to climb the tower of St Mary’s Cathedral (apparently you can’t), we ...
... the train station. Before I left, I met ANOTHER Australian, who was traveling with an American friend whom she had met whilst working at a hostel in the highlands of Scotland. Turns out, they were heading to Krakow most likely the next day, so I naturally gave them my email, told them what hostel I was staying at, and we agreed to try and meet up. I also gave them my piece of paper I used to get my train ticket, but ...
... Anyway, after Auschwitz the bus was a bit gloomy, especially as it was also gloomy weather. We stopped for a picnic lunch however it was raining so the picnic happened on the bus which was a bit of a squash but also fun and a bit of a laugh. To be Continued...
CAUTION - Pictures from Auschwitz below, nothing graphic, just possible some sensitive photos.
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Historical Traveler Reviews Grand Hotel Krakow
I have Just returned and i have to say it was great. My advice is to deal directly with the hotel when booking using email and fax . This will sort out any problems. The rooms were nice the food was good but as with all hotels dont use the mini bar. Remember most of the bars are underground in Krakow, look for PUB and you will not go wrong. By the way they have a new manager and he is very good do give it a go.
We stayed in Krakow for my birthday weekend. When we arrived the receptionist wished me Happy Birthday for Monday !!! Ten out of ten for noticing the date on my passport, and this set the tone for the entire four day stay. The staff were extraodinarily attentive and efficient. Breakfast was a fantastic buffet which would satisfy anyone, and the room was lovely. Huge with a great bathroom. All in all a great hotel in a great location in a lovely city. PS go to Krakow at the very end of Nov early Dec for the Christmas market! Lively and lovely!
My girlfriend and I stayed in the Grand Hotel for three nights in July 2006. Contrary to many of the negative reviews on this site, we found it to be a very pleasant experience.
Oh dear, the food.
The hotel was very nice, and we did not find it noisy at all. But the food was disgusting. We have never paid so much, for such poor food, in any hotel all over the world. That bad, I am afraid - no wonder the place was empty.
And do not ask for a white wine in the bar - it too is awful.
First the positives: the service and the rooms. The staff were very friendly and helpful. Special kudos to the doorman who gave us exact and accurate directions to the train station, which was very complicated due to extensive construction. And the rooms... Ours was large and nice, if a little dated. We were staying as part of a wedding group, though, and thus saw the suites, which are truly astounding.
I am frankly shocked to read some of the negative reviews for this hotel on this site. A group of six of us arrived at the Grand Hotel having been 'bounced' from the over-booked SAS Radisson.
I wish to inform you that I stayed at the grand hotel in Krakow May 28th 29th 2005, when we arrived at the hotel we was informed that our rooms (2 sets of guests one usa one uk) had been given away and they asked us to leave??? we had booked these rooms via internet and travel company in March 2005, they then said the rooms did not have water and that was the reason, we then explained that we would take rooms without water, the receptionist then admitted that she was telling LIES and said her manager had told her to do this. I then walked out of the hotel and walked into the hotel next door and asked them to inquire about room availability with the grand etc, and surprisingly yes there was rooms available, how could this happen we asked, we requested to speak to the manager and was informed she was away in Warsaw and the receptionist was laughing on the phone whilst speaking with her, however the manager then appeared some 2 hours later, again she could not have been in Warsaw and again a lie, now please remember this is a 5 star hotel and this is not what you expect from them, especially when they threaten to phone the police because we complain about not having rooms available. we was then given one single room and one double room both rooms the air con did not work and we was moved again. the breakfast was warm and the cheese was seriously off!!!, we requested a wake up call which we never received and missed our trip to Auschwitz!!!!!, we requested an iron only to have the phone put down on us, we requested a final meeting on the last day for 11.00am and the manager arrived at 12:25 and I had a taxi booked for 12:30 leaving no time to discuss the hotels terms and conditions, the managers boss as she described him pretended to not understand us he walked in at 11.45 and went upstairs, all he had to say was "why you no pay" and smiled to me he was taking the ---- was he supposed to run a quality hotel with an attitude like this?? I really do not understand his attitude, and all he could say was if I do not pay he will call the police as I left the hotel the police arrived even though I had paid. Now I can assure you that I will post this information on every website in the world to penalise you and your business and reputation will be ruined unless you credit both myself peter bates and Randall goldring for the shabby disgraceful and insulting stay I had in your hotel, please be assured that I will continue this posting of information for many many many many many years. Over to you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
As a special treat, I booked five nights at the 'five star' Grand Hotel, confirmed through Central Reservations.
Good stay, friendly staff
My girlfriend and I stayed at the Grand for a long weekend in January 05. The hotel is generally pretty plush - it looks like it has not long been refurbished. The room was comfortable, the bed spectacularly so. The bathroom was good too though there was no shower curtain or divider which made showering difficult if not possible. Good breakfast and the restaurant looked lovely - though it was very empty in January. There wasn't a bar as such, rather a room where you could order drinks. This is not a problem given the hotel's fantastic location near the main square.
We paid only 110 Eur per night for the room which I thought was good value. I'm not sure it is worth the much higher rates in summer though.
I recently stayed at 3 very nice hotels in Poland. However the fourth, the Grand in Krakow, was both the most expensive and completely unacceptable. I'm not sure how this hotel got 5-stars, but its current management obviously believes that it is running a 2-star facility. Here are some of the problems: no heat in the rooms, no lights in the hallways, and no concierge service - a problem compounded by having a trainee on duty at the desk. Some of the facilities advertised by the hotel don't exist -- there is no bar. Other facilities are unavailable - the fitness center was locked during my stay. I tried to move to another hotel from the near-empty Grand, but the good hotels in Krakow were full. Apparently other travelers knew enough to stay away from the Grand. Don't make the same mistake that I did by selecting the Grand.