I stayed at the Hotel Hetman in October 2012, when I transited via Warsaw. I spent only one night there, but overall I was impressed by the level of service. Although the room was small, it was comfortable and very quiet. The buffet breakfast was amazing, with everything from Polish pastries to slices of Spanish omelette. The hotel has good connections to the city centre and is handy for Warsaw East railway station (Warszawa Wschodnia), where you can catch many intercity and international trains.
It was an interesting experience as I stayed in the Hotel Wilenski as it was then in November 1999, and even stayed in the same room. At that time it was a very basic hotel that appeared to have changed little since 1989. I would definitely stay at the Hotel Hetman the next time I'm in Warsaw.
A holiday break in Warsaw would not be complete without a visit on Sunday to Lazienki Park to sit on the benches or grass surrounding the imposing memorial to Frederic Chopin. Here world-famous pianists, laureates from renowned festivals and professors from leading music academies of music perform his immortal piano solos. It is an incomparable moment as silence descends upon the gathered audience and only the notes of the piano fill the air.
Royal Lazienki Park bus stop on Aleje Ujadowskie, enter park and monument is opposite. Concerts are FREE Sundays at noon and again at 4.00pm from mid May until end of September.
Google map: bit.ly/fWUF0s
Most eastern European cities have a beautiful town square tucked away somewhere, but Warsaw's Old Town Market Place (Rynek Starego Miasta) is unique. The old town was completely flattened in World WarII - one of Warsaw's 'sister' cities is Coventry. Between 1946 and 1980 this square, and the rest of the old centre, was painstakingly re-built, using as many of the existing bricks and detail as could be salvaged from the rubble. Warsaw is truly a phoenix city.
The whole area is now a World Heritage site and there is a castle, cobbles and horse-drawn carriages to beat the best of them. The Warsaw Historical Museum is in the square if you want to find out more. Afterwards, watch the world go by at one of the square's restaurants - try some serious Polish food such as pork knuckle with sauerkraut.
It's a perfect location, everything is within walking distance, both you and your posessions are safe as you don't just have a key to your room but there are a few locked doors you need to get through before getting to your room. The bar is excellent with friendly staff, cheap drink (even if it's not happy hour!) and pool, table tennis, cards and board games available as well as a mini cinema theatre, the bathrooms are kept well, there is a great kitchen facility and they sell any toiletries you may have forgotten at reception. I would definitely go back and recommend it.
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