Aug172016

Holiday Inn Krakow City Centre great location for tourists

The best feature of Holiday Inn Krakow City Centre is its location only a couple hundred meters from Old Town Krakow in one direction and less than ten minutes walk to to the trendy café/pub/arts area of Kazimierz, the historic Jewish center of the city. The hotel ranks as #37 of 258 Krakow hotels on TripAdvisor.com.

Holiday Inn Krakow

Holiday Inn Krakow City Centre Hotel

HI Krakow sign

Krakow KRK Airport Arrival

We really had no idea what to expect upon arrival at the Krakow Airport. I knew there was a train from the airport to the city and that was about it. The first challenge was getting a train ticket. There are automated machines in the arrivals section of the airport and at the train tracks platform.

Krakow Airport trains

Krakow Airport looked modern and clean with easy access from the airport terminal to the train platform without having to leave the covered interior of the airport.

Krakow Airport train

Krakow Airport

The train reaches Krakow city center train station in 5 stops and about 20 minutes.

Krakow train ticket

This is not your train ticket.

On the train with our luggage we relaxed in the comfortable cushioned seats, until the woman checking train tickets came by. I handed her my paper ticket from the automated machine and she looked at it and said in broken English, “This is not a train ticket.”

I looked at the paper and realized this was my credit card receipt and the only paper I had seen come out of the ticket machine. She laughed and said something in Polish to the other people on the train and they laughed too. As she stood there waiting, I pulled out my credit card to show her that it was the same credit card number on the receipt. She laughed again and went on to the next train car. I did not have to buy two more tickets.

Welcome to Poland.

The cost for the train ticket from Krakow Airport to city center was 8 PLZ or $2.00 USD per person.

Important to know is the train station is called Krakow Glowny.

Krakow Glowny

Krakow Glowny – Central Station.

Galeria Krakow

The largest grocery store I found during our six days in Krakow was the Carrefour in the Galeria shopping center seen in the photo above. The train station is accessible from multiple points inside the modern multi-floor shopping mall.

Galeria mall  

Carrefour

Galeria train signs

The worst part of our time in Krakow was the 15 minute walk from the train station to the Holiday Inn hotel in a torrential rain storm. The rain fell so hard that afternoon that the Sunday penultimate stage of the men’s Tour of Poland cycling race was canceled that day. The next day we saw the final stage of the 8-day race as it finished with a Krakow time-trial. Fortunately, that first afternoon was the only day it rained during our stay in Krakow.

Holiday Inn Krakow

The hotel was being remodeled during our stay with part of the lobby closed off near the elevators. We had a 5-night stay and our room was on the first floor, which in Europe usually means the second floor, in a corner interior with no view except white walls. We called it the dungeon. I considered requesting a different room, but in the end we spent very little time in the room except for night sleeping and it was not too bad having a dark room in the morning after experiencing mostly sleepless nights in the 21 hours of July daylight during our previous five nights in Stockholm.

HI room TV

HI Krakow bed   HI Krakow minifrig

HI Krakow bath

There was a conference at the hotel the first few days of our stay. In general the hotel did not seem busy. As an IHG Rewards Club Platinum elite I received two drink coupons for the bar and we returned the first night after dinner to find some sweets and a fruit plate on the table in the room.

HI Sweets

We did not redeem the drink coupons until midnight of our last night at the hotel when we had a fascinating conversation with the young bartender about life and work in and around Krakow.

HI Krakow entrance

Holiday Inn Krakow courtyard entrance

HI lobby

Similar to my stay at Holiday Inn Brno, Czech Republic last year, the breakfast prices for the Holiday Inn Krakow are outrageously high compared to restaurants and cafes all around the hotel. As I recall, the price of the breakfast buffet was something like $15 to $17 USD when that is about the equivalent price for eating a full dinner at a fine dining restaurant in Krakow.

HI restaurant   HI Bar

The fitness room is on the 7th floor and only had a few pieces of equipment.

Holiday Inn Krakow Room Rates

Holiday Inn Krakow is a great location for a tourist with the Krakow Old Town Main Square only five minutes walk in one direction and Kazimierz about ten minutes walk in another direction for the main nightlife area of Krakow.

Old Town Krakow  

Old Town Krakow

Kazimierz at night

Arts and bars in Kazimierz area of Krakow at night.

Holiday Inn Krakow City Centre is 15,000 IHG Rewards Club points per night. I booked 5 nights for 75,000 points.

The room rate at the time I booked for a July peak season stay was $151 USD per night. The ability to buy points for around $6 per 1,000 through IHG Rewards Club purchase points discounts or by Points & Cash reward stays made using points a far better option than paying the cash rate.

I would be fine booking this hotel again. The only other chain hotel I saw while in Krakow was the Radisson Blu Krakow, located on the opposite side of the Old Town main square, near Wawel Castle. The interior of Radisson Blu Krakow looked more upscale, but I did not see any real advantage to the location compared to the Holiday Inn.

Krakow Google Maps

Google Maps: Krakow, Poland with Holiday Inn Krakow pin. Stare Miasto ‘Old Town’ is surrounded by a narrow, tree-lined green belt where the medieval walls of the city once stood. The Train station is directly above the Holiday Inn pin just out of map view above the word ‘Krakow’. Kazimierz is directly south of Holiday Inn. This area occupied our time for six days with only one time venturing south across the Vistula River to visit Podgorze and the Schindler Enamelworks Factory Museum. Podgorze was the walled Jewish ghetto created by the Nazis during WWII. Stephen Spielberg’s movie Schindler’s List depicts this ghetto and life in Krakow for the Jews during WWII. The Schindler Museum is a first rate experience.

About Ric Garrido

Ric Garrido of Monterey, California started Loyalty Traveler in 2006 for traveler education on hotel and air travel, primarily using frequent flyer and frequent guest loyalty programs for bargain travel. Loyalty Traveler joined BoardingArea.com in 2008.

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Comments

  1. Jewish ghetto was quite an experience for me. I was in Majdanek about 4 weeks ago with my Czech friend and we were astonished. I’m not into old stuff, silly churches or castles, but ghetto was so creepy scared the shit out of me. I was so shocked did not went to all the places and was waiting outside buildings.

    Hope you have fun in Poland!

  2. Early this June we stayed at the Radisson Blu Kraków under the now defunct two for one offer. We enjoyed the location precisely because of its proximity to Wawel Castle. The fact that it was on the green belt and close to gritty little stores and cafes didn’t hurt either. We used uber to and from A/P so being close to train station wasn’t important.

  3. I stayed 3 nights in Holiday Inn Krakow City Centre in early July. Hotel location is great. 5min walk to the main square and 15 to Wawel Castle. Skip breakfast and go out and try some restaurants in the Old Town. You can easily find breakfast for 3-5USD (I can recommend Milkbar Tomasza). Finding anything decent (and reasonably priced) around Old Town in Krakow is a challenge. 15,000 points (my stay was for points) is definitely a steal. Post mentions Radisson Blu Krakow but also there is Sheraton basically just across Wawel (if anybody is interested).

  4. Krakow is great. I would reccomend Tallin also as somewhere that you would enjoy. Short hop from Helsiniki or Riga. Even St Peterburg is reasonably close (another excellent destination).

    Keep up the good work, good seeing budget trips along with the First Class that we get on the bigger blogs.

  5. We used to live in KRK and I was by that HI nearly every day. Really cool to see how things have changed in such a short time (the airport train actually goes to the airport now!).

    When you comment on walking from Galeria Krakowska to the HI, though, I’d recommend heading downstairs from Carrefour to Tram line 50 and getting off at Starowiślna. From there it’s maybe only a couple minutes walk to the HI. There’s also a line that goes right up Starowiślna toward Kazimierz, (stop Poczta Głowna) but I don’t recall offhand where it starts at the plaza around Galeria Krakowska. The tram maps are, however, usually quite sufficient.

    At least the 50 starts underground and your outdoor time (in bad weather) is reduced, especially if you have groceries.

    That said, from the HI, there’s another grocery store at Galeria Kazimierz (somewhat tramway-accessible, get off at the end of Starowiślna before the bridge (Sw. Wawrzyńca stop), and wander left along the river. This one is Alma, and while it’s more expensive by polish standards, is a much nicer place to shop than the Carrefour at the train station (IMO).

  6. Good post, Ric.
    Just curious: How much would a cab ride be to the HI?
    I love mass transit and the helpful posts from your readers are worth writing down. My wife will agree to walks around town, but after 8-12 hours in transit she prefers to pay for a taxi and get to the accomodation ASAP.

  7. We are going to be in Krakow for 4 nights late in October, so I have been avidly following your trip reports of the city. After reading this one, I checked rates for our dates and I see that a new hotel Indigo will be opening mid-September in the old town, however the rates are around $200 a night (or 30,000 points)!!!

  8. @Laura Greenberg – I see from Google Maps that Hotel Indigo is close to Train Station and outside the Planty (green belt park that encircles Old Town). Looks like a convenient location.

    @Dree N. – We were wearing rain gear since we knew from weather forecast the heaviest rain was scheduled for the time of our arrival.

    I did not want to deal with figuring out the bus/trams and getting a ticket for what was basically a 10 minute walk through Planty Park to get to the hotel. I need to be desperate to take a taxi.

    My wife on the other hand took taxis around Copenhagen the following week once we separated and I went to Norway while she stayed in Denmark. She does not have my travel budget sensibilities.

  9. @Shem – Schindler Factory Museum in Krakow is interesting as a timeline of changes for Jews focused on the 1930s and 40s. The museum is organized as a one way passage through rooms that convey the impact of German occupation on Krakow for both Jews and other Poles persecuted during the occupation. You really get a sense of how quickly life deteriorated in the city.

    @Tom – Met a wonderful woman from Estonia in Stockholm from a village near Tallinn. Plan to get to Tallinn and Riga sometime in next couple years.

    @Brice – I’ll look for that Galetria Kazimierz next time in Krakow.

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