Jun262017

Hotel review Hampton Inn Krakow Hilton Honors category 1 reward nights

Last week I stayed 4 reward nights at Hampton Inn by Hilton Krakow, Poland for 5,000 points per night. This was the first time I stayed at a Hilton Honors category 1 hotel in 19 years of Hilton loyalty travel.

Normally, I do not write hotel reviews for Hampton Inn properties. Hampton Inn Krakow is an exception, due to its category 1 reward nights at only 5,000 points and the fact that chain brand hotel rates in Krakow for Sheraton Krakow, Radisson Blu Krakow, Holiday Inn Krakow and Hotel Indigo Krakow are frequently $150 to $200+ per night.

I purchased 20,000 Honors points in late May for $100 during a 100% bonus points sale ending June 23 and redeemed those points for 4 nights at Hampton Inn Krakow. My reward nights at $25 per night were far lower priced than any other 3-star hotel option in Krakow during our June dates starting around $75 per night for independent hotels.

Hampton Inn Krakow Reward Stay on a busy Saturday Night

Hampton Krakow room rates on our first stay were $160 for Saturday night when I made my reward reservation April 29. I purchased 232 Honors points for $2.32 at the time of booking, since I was slightly short of 5,000 points in my account. I got amazing Honors points redemption value at $32.00 per 1,000 points the from the 5,000 points reward night.

My original intent was to only stay at Hampton Inn Krakow for our first night in the city due to a 9:30pm arrival on LOT Polish Airlines at Krakow Airport from Gdansk. I figured we would move to hotels around Old Town for the rest of our 5-night stay.

What surprised me is after I booked the hotel reward night is I realized it was nonrefundable and could not be cancelled. That was also a first for me on a reward stay.

Turned out nearby Tauron Arena was holding a two-day heavy metal rock festival that weekend. Hampton Inn Krakow sold out all rooms soon after my hotel reward reservation. My reservation terms indicated there would be a 600 PLN ($160) penalty for no show or cancellation.

Our first reward stay of one night was fairly disastrous with a multitude of issues. Still, I gave the hotel a second chance after spending one night stay at Radisson Blu Krakow to take advantage of a 380 zloty room rate, triple points + 5,000 bonus points for a Sunday night. We returned to Hampton Inn Krakow for another 3-night stay (15,000 points).

Our second stay went much better and changed my attitude to one of ‘do not stay at this property’ to a ‘good value reward with warnings’ option for Krakow, Poland.

Hampton Inn Krakow ext

Hampton Inn Krakow, Poland

  • Hilton Honors category 1 reward = 5,000 points/night.
  • Location is about 3.5 to 4 km, 2 to 2.5 miles from Krakow Rynek Glowny (Old Town Market Square) or train station (Tram 14) adjacent to Galleria Plaza shopping mall and near Tauron Arena, an event venue.
  • Tram stop is 5 minutes walk from hotel with service frequency every 10 to 20 minutes to Kazimierz (Tram 22) and Old Town (Tram 14) in 12-20 minutes ride time. Tram cost = 3.80 zloty ($1.00 USD).
  • Taxi ride to Old Town or train station = 25 to 40 zloty ($7-$10.50).
  • Complimentary breakfast provided.
  • Restaurant and bar service.
  • Wifi at hotel had no issues. Good speed.
  • Hard bed uncomfortable for my sleep.
  • DoubleTree Krakow is attached to Hampton Inn. DoubleTree  typical reward nights cost between 20,000 to 30,000 points.
  • Indoor pool at DoubleTree Krakow access for Hampton Inn guests is 70 PLN ($18.50) for one time use.
  • Carrefour Supermarket across the parking lot is open all day, 7 days per week for full service grocery shopping. No refrigerator in Hampton Inn Krakow rooms.

DoubleTree-1

DoubleTree by Hilton Krakow

Hampton Inn Krakow

Saturday Night stay at Hampton Inn Krakow

We arrived by taxi from Krakow train station at 10:30pm on a Saturday night. The cost for taxi was 40 zloty, about $10.50. Taxi prices increase by 50% for rides after 10pm.

We were taken aback when the taxi drove past a residential complex of dozens of large apartment buildings, then turned off the main road onto a small road through the woods with nothing visible around. The winding dark road for about 1/2 kilometer indicated the hotel was relatively isolated.

There were probably 20 people in the Hampton Inn lobby when we entered, mostly drinking. We went to our room, dropped off our luggage and headed back down to the lobby for dinner at 11pm.

Tyskie beer pints were 12 zloty ($3.25 USD). Kelley ordered tomato soup (4 zloty) and I ordered shrimp tagliatelli for 34 zloty or $9.25 USD.

Hampton KRK bar

As we drank our first pint, probably 50 more people arrived in the lobby. We were one of the only people to order food originally, then there were at least 25 other guests dining in the lobby. The staff was totally slammed with drink orders.

We finished the first beer and Kelley’s soup had not arrived. We saw several other diners who had arrived after us get their food orders.

I reminded the bartender about the soup when I ordered the second beer.

My shrimp pasta arrived, but still no soup. I reminded the waiter that we had been waiting 40 minutes for a bowl of soup.

The soup came out a few minutes later. We ate and went back to the room.

Room Problem #1: No working air conditioner in room.

Kelley had called down to reception upon arrival to ask how to operate the AC thermostat. Reception told her to make sure the windows were closed.

We arrived back to the room after an hour in the lobby to find the temperature had not lowered from 23.3 C. or 74F. Being from Monterey, 74 F at night in our bedroom is uncommon. We do not have air conditioning in Monterey.

We were tired and simply opened the windows for the night. The room cooled to probably 70 F by morning.

Problem #2: Most uncomfortable bed I have slept on in years.

The bed was hard in a foam hard kind of way. Personally, I stay at chain brand hotels primarily because I know I will get a good firm bed. I want a firm bed.

But the bed at Hampton Inn was the most uncomfortable bed I have slept on in years. Dead tired from a day of drinking beer in Gdansk and Krakow, I still was unable to sleep comfortably through the night. Kelley was more upset about the lack of AC than the hard bed.

Hampton KRK beds

The floor might be more comfortable than Hampton Krakow beds.

Hampton KRK desk

TV, desk, two complimentary bottles of water and coffee pot.

Hampton Inn krk tv

Hampton KRK room 2

Problem #3: Shower did not drain properly.

In the morning I hopped in the shower. I quickly noticed the water not draining as fast as it came out the shower head. The shower stall floor was only about 1-inch deep. After soaping my body, I saw the water level was close to overflowing the lip around the stall and was on the verge of spilling over onto the bathroom floor. I turned off the shower and waited a couple of minutes, but the water level barely moved down. I turned on the shower and rinsed my body of soap as water poured over the lip and wet the bathroom floor.

Krakow park

Only a cat and me using the bike path Sunday morning. Turned out the bike path was a dead-end.

After an hour walk around the area neighboring of the hotel, I timed Kelley’s shower after warning her about the overflow issue. She was still fuming about no AC and said she needed to shave her legs and damn the overflow. At 6 minutes the water began pouring over the shower stall lip.

I used my wet bath towel to soak up the spillage.

At check-out I told reception about the AC issue and the shower and left.

We took a taxi to Radisson Blu Krakow for 27 zloty ($7.25).

Stay #2 for three reward nights.

Kelley was willing to give Hampton Inn a second try on the condition that I would change hotels, if the AC in our next room did not work. She did not mind the hard bed as much as I did.

We went to our room and saw the thermostat again at 23.3C. There was no way to manually change the thermostat from the room.

Hampton KRK mall view

Our second room at Hampton Inn Krakow had a view of Galleria Plaza shopping mall, but we changed rooms within 15 minutes of arrival due to AC not working.

I called down to reception. The front desk told me they were having a problem with working air conditioning in some rooms. She came up with keys to a different room.

Same issue in the second room when the thermostat read 23.3 C.

I went down to the desk to explain how our previous stay went poorly and we were planning to cancel this 3-night reward stay due to nonfunctioning AC. The receptionist went to a panel behind the front desk and manually keyed in a thermostat reading of 19.0C. Our room stayed cool for the remaining three nights of the stay.

The shower drained too.

I headed over to Carrefour Supermarket in the shopping center for dinner. We were not giving the restaurant another try, even though our shrimp pasta was delicious two nights before.

Carrefour hours

Carrefour Market open 8am-10pm Mon-Sat and 9-9 Sunday.

Carrefour $7.50

Carrefour Supermarket at Galleria Plaza is where 29 zloty ($7.50 USD) bought hummus, baguette, two Zywiec 500 ml cold beers, Jarlsberg cheese, brie, one whole hot grilled chicken and 3 nectarines.

I read an EU report citing Poland as the lowest food prices in Europe.

Hampton lobby

Hampton Inn Krakow lobby with view to Business Center room with two computer stations.

Hampton Krakow Breakfast

Breakfast at Hampton Inn Krakow is complimentary. The large number of people each morning kept me from taking photos of the food spread. Breakfast included scrambled eggs, bacon, sausages and potato patties as hot foods. Sliced meats and cheeses, pastries, cereal (no oatmeal), bread, yogurt, coffee and juices. Cucumbers and tomatoes, banana, kiwi, and watermelon.

Kelley never woke up in time for breakfast. I made her a sandwich each morning and took it to the room.

Active staff kept breakfast tables cleared. One morning I had my plate of uneaten food cleared three different times as I went for another cup of coffee. After that experience I left my eye glasses on the table when I left the table for a cup of coffee.

Hampton breakfast tables

How I solved Hampton Krakow hard bed problem

On the first night of our second stay in a double bed room, I still hated the hard bed.

My solution for the last two nights of our stay was to use the sofa bed.

Hampton sofa

I found the sofa bed to be much more comfortable for me for a good night’s sleep.

Hampton sofa bed

Tram Transportation to Old Town Krakow and Kazimierz

In July 2016, I considered staying at Hampton Inn Krakow and reader comments on Loyalty Traveler about the location dissuaded me. I was encouraged to stay close to Old Town Krakow. We stayed at Holiday Inn Krakow for 15,000 points per night. That hotel went up to 20,000 points in 2017.

Tram transportation to the tourist areas of Krakow turned out not to be a problem at all for us. From Hampton Inn, walk out the front door and across the parking lot to the nearest mall entrance about 60 meters from the hotel. Go up the escalator in the mall and the doorways lead out to a bridge directly to the tram stop.

Tram stop access bridge

Bridge to Galleria Plaza mall from tram stop. Hampton Inn is on other side of mall.

Tram tickets are 3.80 zloty for 40 minutes of travel. You can buy a ticket on the tram, but be sure to get in the first car. I had to make a quick change on our first ride when there was no ticket machine in the second car. Machines take coins only from 10 cents to 5 zloty coins. Change is given. Machines offer English language. Be sure to stamp ticket in separate small yellow box.

Krakow tram ticket

We rode the tram about six times in Krakow. On one trip an inspector boarded to examine tickets. He only reached the third person on the tram, a young Polish man I think, and escorted him off the train while writing a ticket fine.

Would I stay at Hampton Inn Krakow again?

I would stay at Hampton Inn Krakow given similar circumstances of high hotel rates in the city.

My experience with two summer trips to Krakow and two winter trips is there are real bargains to be found in winter for hotels right in Old Town. The nicer chain hotels in Krakow tend to be much higher priced than other hotel options, especially in summer.

Hampton Inn Krakow was around $30 per night when I was in the city in January.

Hilton Krakow Jun17 rate

Hampton Inn Krakow room rate was 600 zloty ($160 USD) at the time I booked my June 17 reservation on April 29.

Hampton Inn Krakow reward June17

Yet, Hampton Inn Krakow was only 5,000 points for a reward night on June 17, despite having the highest room rates of the four Hilton brand hotels. Hilton Garden Inn is located across the river from Old Town and about a 20 to 25 minute walk to Old Town. DoubleTree is connected to Hampton Inn. I never ventured into the DoubleTree during our 4 nights at Hampton Inn.

Other hotels in Krakow

This was my fourth trip to Krakow in the past year. I have also stayed at Hotel Indigo Krakow and Best Western Premier Q Hotel. The two IHG hotels have good locations near Old Town and Rynek Glowny, Krakow’s historic market square.

Best Western Premier Q Hotel was the best room we had in Krakow and included complimentary breakfast, but across the Wawel River from Old Town and about a 15 minute walk.

I had a reservation for Best Western Old Town this trip, but at $120 per night, I opted to remain at Hampton Inn Krakow once we had a room with working AC. We only spent about $40 to $50 per day dining out for lunch and dinner at an average $7 per meal and drinking beer all day at an average $2 per pint.

A $25 per night Hampton Inn Krakow room kept our expenses low for our 4 reward nights.

Loyalty Traveler – Holiday Inn Krakow City Centre great location for tourists (Aug 17, 2016).

Loyalty Traveler – Hotel Indigo Krakow review (Jan 19, 2017).

Loyalty Traveler – Holiday Inn Krakow $100 night earned 23,500 points + $75 rebate (Feb 11, 2017). I only realized today that I received an email March 6 stating I qualified for $75 MasterCard and it was on its way. I never received that $75 MasterCard. Looks like phone call time.

Loyalty Traveler – Best Western Premier Q Hotel Krakow, down by the River Vistula (Jan 25, 2017).

 

 

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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