Now that my hostel days are well and truly over and I am looking for a little more comfort for me and my bump (and hubby, of course), choosing the right hotel is an important part of my trip. On my recent visit to Krakow, Poland I was fortunate enough to be provided with the opportunity to stay in the Hotel Galaxy and was pleasantly surprised with the experience I was given, read on for the full review.
I had planned to pack a lot in during our two-day trip and after an exhausting day of travelling and sightseeing (exacerbated by my rapidly growing baby bump), we arrived at the hotel at around 6.30pm. The hotel was pretty easy to find and we were greeted by an extremely friendly and helpful check-in clerk. His English was excellent and he offered us advice on where to go in the city and the best things to do, providing us with a map and relevant pamphlets.
We wanted to visit Auschwitz the following day but were disappointed when we were advised that it was unlikely any tickets would be available at this late time. This was my main motivation to visit Krakow and I was gutted by this prospect! It’s actually really out-of-character for me not to have known a vital detail such as this, however the rules have apparently recently changed and so when I looked into it on the likes of Trip Advisor etc there was little written about this (you now must pre-book onto a tour in order to manage visitor numbers). Having said that, a little more research and I would have found this out- I can blame this one on ‘baby brain’, right? So anyway, the staff went out of their way to find a group tour that had space and we managed to secure the last two spaces available-result! So off we went to our room happy that all was now sorted….
The hotel was in a great location. It was about a twenty-minute walk from the famous ‘big square’ (every city has one of these from my experience, but apparently this one is the oldest medieval square!) and was right next to a HUGE shopping mall. We were informed that the Auschwitz tour would return at approximately 4pm and that there would be very little opportunity to buy food for lunch, so being a little more conscious than usual of the necessity to eat regularly (or perhaps my pregnancy was just an excuse for my husband to suggest buying lots of snacks!), we went off on a little excursion to the local supermarket. If you want to really experience the local culture, I find that a supermarket is a good place to start, I love to see what food is popular in that particular area and what the ‘true’ (i.e. not tourist) cost of living is like. The supermarket was conveniently located inside the shopping mall over the road which was ideal. There were also many, many other shops ranging from electronics and clothing to beauty products.
We stayed in Business Class Double room during our stay. The room was very comfortable and had everything we needed. There was a mini-bar, leaflets detailing everything you need to know about the hotel and a nice view of the river. I did call down to reception to ask a question and they answered the call straight away and were really helpful-something I’ve never experienced in all hotels! Oh and a lady also knocked on the door a few minutes after we arrived to give us some chocolates-what a lovely touch!
The bathroom was nice and spacious and everything was very clean, although it was a bit unusual to have a window between the bathroom and the bedroom. There appeared to be blinds inside the glass but my husband and I couldn’t figure out how to close them… needless to say I looked the other way when he was using the toilet!!
The Swimming Pool
In order to wind-down after our busy day and to work up an appetite ready for our evening meal hubby and I went for a leisurely swim. OK, well leisurely for me, more of workout for him, but I digress. The pool was really nice. The temperature was nice and warm, especially given that it was -7 outside, and the atmosphere was calm and relaxing, just what I needed after such a busy day! There was also a sauna and Jacuzzi but unfortunately I couldn’t test these being pregnant-they looked great though! The only comment I would make here is that (unless I was totally and utterly confused!!) the changing rooms appeared to be unisex. I walked through the female door, my husband walked through the male door, yet we ended up at the same place! Personally, I’d rather have separate changing rooms, but in the grand scheme of things this wasn’t a major deal.
I know that Krakow has a reputation for its nightlife scene, but being seven months pregnant I wasn’t really up for venturing too far at night, so a meal in the hotel restaurant made for the perfect end to our ever-so-busy first day in Poland. The Andromeda Alfa provided a small, intimate setting which was really nice. The service throughout our meal was second-to-none, the waiters were extremely knowledgeable, friendly and helpful.
We decided against ordering a starter (after all, the baby is taking up so much room now, I doubt I would have had room for it anyway!) but were pleasantly surprised when the waiter brought us a complimentary little something anyway! It was a little portion of Goose meat with an orange fruity chutney. Unfortunately, being pregnant I couldn’t eat it as the meat was cooked medium-rare, my husband reported back that it was extremely tasty! This was accompanied by some miniature bread roles (which I could happily demolish!) which were warm baked and were really nice, some even had currents in-yum, yum!
For the main course I had the steak and my husband had the boiled chicken. Both were cooked to perfection and tasted really good. My steak came with a really tasty spinach (I’d love to know how to make my spinach taste this good at home!) and creamy mashed potato. The chicken came with vegetables.
I was really full after my meal and so declined the desert menu. But much to my surprise (again) the waiter brought me a little treat-some macaroons! Yum, yum! My husband ordered a cheese-cake type desert that he also really enjoyed.
To drink my husband made me very jealous by enjoying a couple of cocktails from the menu, sampling some of Poland’s finest vodkas in the process. He said these were some of the nicest (and strongest!) cocktails he had tried! I enjoyed a fresh grapefruit juice, which also went down very well!
In the morning we went to the first floor for the breakfast buffet. There was lots to choose from including cereals, breads and toast, fruit, cakes and hot food. I enjoyed a couple of small bowls of Nesquick and a small chocolate filled donut (what can I say, baby liked chocolate for breakfast!) along with some fresh fruit. My husband opted for the eggs and bacon alongside his Cheerios. All of the food was freshly stocked and whilst there were a lot of guests eating at the same time as us, it didn’t feel overcrowded.
I had a pleasant stay at the Galaxy Hotel. The staff and their customer service were excellent, room was clean and tidy the food was nice. This was a four-star hotel in a great location for all your Polish sightseeing antics. The hotel had some nice facilities. Overall, I would give the Galaxy Hotel hotel a lifeasabutterfly 4 star rating. You can read more about the hotel on their website, which is available in Polish as well as English.