For my first night in Krakow on my Baltic Explorer trip, I selected the Hampton Inn, part of the Hilton Group. I was planning to gain HHonors Gold status with a “Fastrack” offer (read about my promotion success) and this brandnew Hampton is one of a handful of Hilton Hotels available for only 5,000 points! Find out if it was a good value!
Location: The Hampton Krakow is located 5km from the city center, near a suburban mall. The mall has some basic stores and fast food and a tram stop is on the other side of that large mall. While it is only 15-20 minutes by taxi or tram, it is not very convenient for Krakow where many hotels are in easy walking distance from the Old Town and its many sights, restaurants and tours.
Service: The Hampton Krakow is pretty new – and it shows: The staff is still working out the kinks and several of them were still in training. It took a little bit of back and forth between several staff to get me checked in and on the way. Unfortunately, it got worse the next day at breakfast. The staff was overwhelmed and not able to manage the crowds. There were long lines at the only coffee maker, yet the staff behind the bar (with a coffee machine) was idle and what appeared to be management was watching the scene without addressing the issue. The check out the next day also took some time, but at least was processed without further issues.
Room: My room, a basic queen room, was the highlight of the stay: It is much more contemporary than Hampton Hotels I’ve seen in the US, with modern carpets and furniture and a dash of bright green color to liven it up. While it wouldn’t be my first choice of accent colors, it looked modern and fresh. The room is small, but nicely outfitted with a comfortable bed, chair, work desk, TV, safe and coffee facilities. The bathroom is also very modern with a sink straight out of Pottery Barn and a glass enclosed shower. Bathroom amenities are offered in dispensers, which I prefer as a more ecologically friendly choice.
Amenities/Restaurant: The Hampton is supposed to have a fitness center (as described on their web site), yet it was not ready during my stay and all I got was a “sorry”. It is one of my pet peeves when Hotels market their amenities and then don’t have them. Any good hotels notes maintenance or closure on their website. Failing to do so is simply deceptive.
The restaurant is spacious and offers the typical hot breakfast standard for a Hampton property. It includes fresh fruit, yogurt and cereal; pastries and breads; as well as eggs and breakfast meats. The variety and quality are good for a select service hotel and inline what you’d expect from a Holiday Inn Express or similar. Unfortunately, Hampton doesn’t seem to have adjusted to European differences: Many Northern Europeans love their breakfast, enjoy it for a while and have lots of good coffee with it. The Hampton offered a automatic espresso/cappuccino maker – but only one! There were none of the pots of filtered coffee typically found in European hotels, so a long line formed and remained throughout my breakfast. The machine behind the bar wasn’t used and it wasn’t till after my meal that staff “found” a second machine and installed it. This was the same problem as at the Hampton Warsaw, so it looks like Hampton Europe has some work to do to get their act together.
Conclusion: While the Hampton Krakow offers very nice rooms that I wouldn’t mind staying in again, the service issue, lack of amenities and chaotic breakfast, combined with the location far out of town, left me disappointed. At a cash rate of $80/night during my stay, it is poor value and I’d recommend you stay closer to town to enjoy the city and all it has to offer. If you are a Hilton HHonors member and have lots of points, it’s a much better deal at only 5,000 points/night and might work out if you are staying longer and don’t mind the ride into town.