View from the Room: Athenee Palace Hilton Bucharest
It’s fair to say before we start, this hotel made our trip to the city we visited during an exceptional and barely tolerable heatwave.
Situated at Revolutionary Square, which we could view from the fifth-floor lounge, it is steeped with its own history firstly involving spies and then all the journalists that gathered here to film the fall of communism in 1989. It has two restaurants (French and Italian) and one bar, The English Bar where rumour has it the British journalists hung out while all sorts were going on outside.
Located on a corner, with a Gucci shop at its base, it probably doesn’t look as grand on the outside as it did in its early 1900s birth, but the entrance sure does. The first thing to notice is the tall floral display on the grand table which sets of the chandeliered hallway beyond it that leads to events rooms, the bar and Roberto’s, the Italian.
The expanse of the entrance makes both the reception and concierge desks on opposite diagonal corners look small. This belies the enormous part the staff made on our enjoyment in this up and coming city. In particular, the two senior concierge staff who delivered 5-star service at every turn.
Excellent, spacious room with everything we needed:
- Large bed
- Drawer and two shelves both bedside units
- Two armchairs & a table
- Desk & office chair
- TV unit with 6 drawers
- Another unit ideal for bags/hats close to the door
- Double & single wardrobes including 10 wooden hangers and a shelf
- Good storage unit & fridge (with a well-stocked mini bar at usual hotel prices)
- Two mugs, two glasses, two espresso cups
- Pod coffee machine & kettle
- Iron & board
- Ice bucket
- Two bathrobes and two spa slippers
- Plenty including two either side of bed already being used
- One at desk and one in hallway close to bathroom & full-length mirror
- Good bath and overhead shower (detachable)
- Two bath towels, three hand towels
- Space around sink for storage
- Two hooks
- Towel shelf over bath
- Large lit up mirror
- Tissue box
- Lots of toiletries & spares everyday (toothbrush kits, shower cap, face soap, cotton buds, shoe shine, sewing kit)
- Attached hairdryer
- Shaving point
- Large TV with the largest selection of English language channels I’ve seen outside of the UK
We booked an Executive Room which was roomy and well equipped and gave us to access to the amazing Fifth Floor Executive lounge where a good breakfast buffet is available every morning, 6-10am (11 am on weekends). This includes three hot items, usually bacon, sausage and eggs. Also, there are rolls and toast, yoghurts, cold meats, cheeses as well as a selection of cereals and basket of fresh pastries.
There are drinks and snacks available all day. A coffee machine that dispenses the caffeine of your choice a selection of teas and cold drinks and usually some nuts. At various points, there are additional snacks such as afternoon tea trays served around 3 and pre-dinner snacks 6-8. When I say pre-dinner, if you’ve had a decent lunch, this will do for your supper as there’s usually pasta, something with meat and one other such as spring rolls. Alongside there is a big salad selection, wine and other drinks as well as beautiful mini-desserts.
Although there is a coffee pod machine, kettle and mini bar fridge with room for extras, it was an absolute delight to sit in a large lounge with a balcony overlooking Revolutionary Square. We felt incredibly spoilt every day.
- Lit up the room well
- Double bedside lamps
- Hall light
- Kitchen area light
- Desk lamp
- Freestanding lamp
- Treatments including hairdressing
- Small Jacuzzi
- Free towels & refreshments
- Two lifts - always seemed to be available
- Lift straight to spa
The two senior members of the team mentioned earlier went out of their way to suggest what to do in the heat. Even though one of their recommendations turned out to be appallingly run, they never wavered, after all, we learnt pretty quickly there isn’t a lot of choice out there.
When we decided against a day trip to visit castles – which was our one must-do – they immediately came over to us to find out what had happened. The long trip was already delayed by 25 mins because they had to wait for another vehicle. The one we had been allocated seemed like a converted van with cramped seating. Meanwhile, the morning was getting hotter by the minute and when we could not be assured air con in the 39c heat, or indeed seats together in the alternative vehicle, at 80€ each, we decided against it.
We’d had a 6 am start, so I decided to take advantage of the extra time and have a leisurely breakfast (I can never eat before 9 am) and plan our day. Concierge were up and down the 5 floors to helping us to find alternatives as we were re-planning our day. Nothing was any trouble to them.
It’s fair to say that despite all of its amazing buildings and colourful history, tourism has a long way to come in Bucharest. But the Athenee Palance Hilton is already got there.
So, as you can see, it’s the service that made this hotel. Special mention also goes to the exceptional Manil and the staff in the Fifth Floor Executive Lounge.
24 hr room service is available but we didn’t use due to the fifth-floor lounge open until 11 pm.
Photos from the Fifth Floor Lounge