Aug102018

DoubleTree Krakow Poland or Hilton Garden Inn as best Hilton hotel choice?

Hilton has three hotels in Krakow, Poland with Hilton Garden Inn, DoubleTree and Hampton Inn. All three of these hotels are inconveniently located for a tourist. There is also the Hilton Garden Inn Airport Krakow, a great airport location if you need to be at the airport, but not convenient for touring Krakow unless you are simply passing through on a day trip.

Surprisingly, there is no full-service Hilton in Krakow. This city is one of Central Europe’s primary tourist hot spots over the past five years. Sheraton, Radisson Blu, Park Inn, Hotel Indigo, Holiday Inn, Best Western Premier and a couple of Accor hotels are located in the city center with locations better than the Hilton brand hotels.

I have stayed at all four Hilton brand hotels. This review has a focus on DoubleTree Krakow, where I stayed three nights last week. Having also spent two nights at Hilton Garden Inn Krakow last week, this review compares the advantages and disadvantages of both hotels in terms of price, location and amenities.

Krakow Hilton brand hotel prices

Hilton’s variable points pricing rates makes it difficult to state how much each hotel costs in points for a reward night, however, there are some basic trends.

Hilton Garden Inn Krakow = Between 20,000 and 30,000 points is standard price, but the hotel is 30,000 points on many dates in Sep and Oct 2018 and as low as 16,000 points per night for some Nov 2018 dates.

Loyalty Traveler – Hilton Garden Inn Krakow is 20 minutes from anywhere in town

DoubleTree Krakow = Between 20,000 and 30,000 points is standard price. In general, low 20s more common than high 20s.

Hampton Inn Krakow = 10,000 points per night most dates. This hotel was 5,000 points per night in 2017.

Loyalty Traveler – Hotel review Hampton Inn Krakow Hilton Honors category 1 reward nights (June 26, 2017).

Hilton Garden Inn Krakow = 10,000 points per night most dates. Hotel review to come.

DoubleTree by Hilton Krakow

DoubleTree by Hilton Krakow location

DoubleTree Krakow and Hampton Inn Krakow are conjoined hotels located by the Galeria Plaza  shopping mall near Tauron Arena, about 4km/2.5miles east from Rynek Glowny, Old Town Square Krakow and the train station. The primary disadvantage of these two hotels is the location is too far from Kazimierz and Old Town to walk. Besides the shopping mall with a large Carrefour grocery store, a theater, bowling alley and gym, many of the store locations in the upscale design mall are unoccupied.

Public transportation is easy to access by walking 5 minutes from the hotel through the shopping mall to the tram line for #1, #14 and #22 trams into the city center.

‘Plaza’ tram stop by DoubleTree

  • #1 tram goes to Old Town.
  • #14 tram goes to train station and north end of Old Town.
  • #22 tram runs between Kazimierz and Old Town.
  • #62 tram is a night tram available Thu-Fri-Sat after midnight.
  • Download Jakdojade mobile app for public transportation routes and timetables. This app is essential for finding your way around Krakow on public transportation and will show you times with walking routes to tram stops and options for getting to your destination. One night at 11:30pm, I checked the app while at a Kazimierz pub to see we had 7 minutes to make the five minute walk to the tram stop and get back to DoubleTree or else wait for the night tram 30 minutes later. We made it to the tram stop in 7 minutes, Kelley does not walk at Pole speed. Fortunately the tram was 2 minutes late. On a side note, I noticed trams sometimes wait at stops for a minute or two when they get ahead of schedule to depart at the scheduled time.

Tauron Arena holds lots of events and major concerts. Events at Tauron Arena are a major price driver for room rates and reward rates at DoubleTree and Hampton Inn. While Hampton Inn is generally 10,000 points per night, rates rise into the tens of thousands when there is a major concert or event at Tauron Arena.

During our week in Krakow there were concerts by Roger Waters of Pink Floyd and Iron Maiden.

Hampton Inn Krakow next to DoubleTree Krakow.

The main reason I would choose DoubleTree over Hilton Garden Inn is price. Another reason is DoubleTree has an indoor swimming pool.

I also find Carrefour Market with 8am-9pm hours at Galeria Plaza quite convenient for buying groceries and beer. They sell hot grilled chicken at Carrefour. Otherwise, there is not much happening with the location. I think the hotel room is nicer at DoubleTree and the hotel interior is more upscale than HGI Krakow.

DoubleTree Krakow lobby

DoubleTree Krakow lobby

DoubleTree Krakow lobby

The main advantage of Hilton Garden Inn Krakow when price is comparable is the location is walkable to both Old Town and Kazimierz in 20 minutes. No need to worry about trams since you can simply walk back to the hotel. Taxis and Uber will be cheaper too for the shorter distance to city center locations.

DoubleTree Krakow Room 417

Room 417 is the Hilton Honors floor. Executive Lounge is on top floor 5.

DoubleTree Krakow Elevator Foyer Floor 4

DoubleTree Krakow Hilton Honors Floor 4. Look closely and see sign still reads old loyalty program name HiltonHHonors.

DoubleTree Krakow floor 4 elevator foyer.

One difference to note from Hilton Garden Inn Krakow, where we had checked out less than an hour before, is DoubleTree had cool air flowing through the hallway. Once we stepped out of our air conditioned room at HGI Krakow, the temperature in the hallway was about 10 Celsius hotter. Hallways at HGI were not air conditioned and the space was uncomfortably hot during the summer heatwave in Krakow.

Room 417 view looks out over a football playing field. There are several blocks of high rise apartments in the mile before reaching Plaza Galeria. There is rural park land around the hotel to walk through if so inclined.

Galeria Plaza shopping mall is opposite side of hotel.

Comfortable bed and pillows. My main objection to Hampton Inn Krakow where we spent 5 nights in June 2017 is I did not like the bed or pillows.

Comfortable desk chair. Wifi worked great at all the Hilton brand hotels in Krakow.

Coffee pot in cabinet. Refrigerator had items, but we moved them out to counter for our groceries. HGI Krakow had empty refrigerator.

Cushion chair provided two comfortable chairs for our stay. We ate a few Carrefour bought meals on the small table.

Shower had good water pressure, flow and temperature control. I recall HGI Krakow having temperamental temperature control in shower.

Lots of bath products with shampoo, body wash, and lotion.

Bath robes in room convenient for visiting spa and pool in -1 floor level.

Towel heater rack would be useful for hand laundry clothes drying in winter. HGI Krakow has two guest laundry rooms on 3rd and 6th floors for a hotel advantage over DoubleTree.

CNN International and Euronews were two primary English language stations.

DoubleTree Spa and Pool

There were always people and several children using the indoor pool when we visited and I did not take any photos. Cool blue lighting. A receptionist at the Spa to sign in for pool use. Pool to right and fitness room to left.

6-10pm pool hours during our stay with pool closure 1-3pm.

DoubleTree website has several pool photos.

DoubleTree Krakow Lounge bar and 5th Avenue Restaurant

I walked by to check out the DoubleTree Lounge bar and restaurant. Price for a beer was 15pln, but while we stayed at the hotel, Carrefour market cold beer for 2.59pln per bottle was our pick. Carrefour probably had 50 or more brands of beer with about 10 brands refrigerated.

Restaurant prices were about double what we paid for our meals at restaurants in Old Town and Kazimierz. There is a dress code sign by the door, so don’t show up in your robe, swimsuit and flip flops.

Loyalty Traveler – 3 restaurants I like in Krakow, Poland

DoubleTree lounge

DoubleTree lobby chill space

More locational photos for DoubleTree and Hampton Inn Krakow

Accessing the hotels from the tram stop through a shopping mall at night after nearly all the stores have closed is somewhat odd. The photos below are to assist the newcomer seeking to use public transportation to the hotel location .

From Krakow Glowny train station take Tram #14 Lubicz tram stop to Plaza tram stop in the MISTREJOWICE destination direction. Single ticket 3.80pln. Automated ticket kiosk at tram stop to buy tickets with cash or credit card. Trams run at least every 20 minutes and much more frequently during mid-day. Stamp your ticket in the yellow box on the tram.

‘Plaza’ tram stop going into Krakow.

Plaza tram stop

Galeria Plaza entrance

Galeria Plaza shopping mall doors are across street from tram stop. Entrance is upper level and exit to hotel is directly across mall on lower level. There is an escalator during mall open hours, an elevator and stairway directly inside the doors when escalator area closed.

After about 10 or 11 at night, it is necessary to walk all the way through the mall to the far end near the Carrefour Market to access open doors and exit the mall. It is kind of weird walking through a darkened mall at night. There was a security guard on a Thursday night that directed me to the open door. I had already tried the other two locked exit doors. On Friday and Saturday the bowling alley was open to 3am, so more people around in the mall at midnight.

Galeria Plaza mall interior

Galeria Plaza

Galeria Plaza mall seen from in front of DoubleTree Krakow.

DoubleTree Krakow Stay 3 of 4 for Hilton Honors Silver elite

I spent 8 nights at Hilton brand hotels in Poland with 2 nights at Hampton Inn Oswiecim to visit Auschwitz, 2 nights at Hilton Garden Inn Krakow, 3 nights at DoubleTree Krakow and 1 night at Hilton Garden Inn Krakow Airport.

DoubleTree Krakow advance purchase rate came to 261pln/$69.70 per night.

I dropped my Hilton Honors elite status from Diamond in 2016 to Silver in 2017 and Blue member in April 2018. I have now requalified for Honors Silver elite.

The primary value to me of Honors Silver elite is the option to book 5th night free reward stays for a trip in October 2018.

All in all, I would probably stay at HGI Krakow if rates comparable to DoubleTree. The rate at HGI Krakow went to $90 per night for the dates I stayed at DoubleTree Krakow for $70 per night. I like the option to walk back to my hotel at night.

 

 

 

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.

More articles by Ric Garrido »

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Comments

  1. Thanks for the timely review! I just booked a short trip to Krakow for next month, and I’m likely going to stay at the HGI at the airport. 10k points per night can’t really be beat, and it’s a quick train ride every 20 minutes for about $2 to downtown. Have you stayed there?

  2. Yes. The hotel itself is nice and located between airport train and terminal.

    Primary complaint is our room had the worst functioning air conditioner of the Hilton hotels in Krakow. We were hot at night.

    Hotel review coming today.

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