Before leaving on my trip, I exchanged several emails with hotel personnel to get directions and guidance about how to get to the hotel. The concierge was quite specific about which cabs to use from the Warsaw Fryderyk Chopin Airport (WAW), and it may have saved me some grief.
Heading to the curb where taxis waited, I was approached by two different men in plain leather jackets and asked if I needed a taxi. In Warsaw, gypsy cab drivers are common – and unregulated. Using one means foregoing any protection you might have from local regulatory authorities in the event that anything untoward happens.
Having been advised to use only taxi assistants wearing yellow jackets, I walked past the men without the uniforms and was shown to a fully licensed, regulated cab for the short ride to my hotel. The hotel’s concierge had told me a taxi ride would be about 40 złoty (the unit of Polish currency, pronounced ZWOH-tay) plus tip. Arriving at the hotel, my driver told me the fare was 42 zł, which was more or less in line. I didn’t see the fare meter during that first trip but since learned that it is often located next to the driver near the floor.
|Guest room living area|
Under construction, the new Warsaw Spire is a complex of three new upmarket office buildings with more than 100,00 square meters of space, intended to be, “A modern landmark and a powerful symbol of Warsaw’s energy,” according to the developer.
My room included a separate living areas, a large master bath with separate tub and shower, an extra half-bath, flat-screen TVs in both the living and sleeping areas, a coffee bar with a Nespresso coffee maker (one of my favorite indulgences) and a hot pot, an in-room minibar, iron and ironing board, and robes and slippers waiting at the foot of the bed.
In keeping with Hilton service standards, everyone I met bid me a “Good morning,” or “Dzień dobry” (the Polish equivalent), and were more than happy to answer my questions, give me directions, put me in a taxi, or meet whatever need I had. Eeryone spoke English to one degree or another, which is important for many of us.
The property also has an Illy Café off the main lobby, an on-site health club with a Caffé Nero in its lobby, an Olympic-size lap pool, and a large soaking pool and a hot tub. Health club facilities are free for guests to use.
A dinnertime snack at the lobby bar included a bowl of żurek, a traditional Polish sour soup made with rye, white sausage and egg. The soup was well-prepared and its slight sour flavor profile as tasty as any I had later at several other restaurants in Poland.
|Breakfast at Meza|
The property is near several tram lines that can whisk guests most anywhere in the city, as well as several major thoroughfares with their shops, stores and restaurants for those who want to go off-property. It is just a couple of blocks from the Warsaw Uprising Museum and within walking distance (or short tram ride) of the city’s stare miasto or Old Town, which is recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage site.
All told, I found the Hilton Hotel & Convention Centre an excellent first stop for my inaugural trip to Warsaw.
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Photos by Carl Dombek
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