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30 Dec 2013

"Mystery guest" in the hotel Garni

We continue our series of publications devoted to Minsk «star» hotels. As a reminder, the correspondent of stays at the hotels as a "mystery guest" and shares his impressions. "Minsk"  and "Victoria" were the first hotels which took up the challenge. Now we will find out what level of service is provided in the three-star hotel "Garni". Later you can assess "Yubileinaya", "Crowne Plaza", "Europe" and "President-Hotel".

Garni Hotel built by "Minotel" JSC, which also owns "Belarus" and "Sputnik" hotels, opened its doors for guests more than a year ago – in September 2012. On the hotel's website it is proudly mentioned that the hotel building is an architectural monument. According to belarusian classification the hotel, located in the historic center of the city on Internatsionalnaya street, got three stars.

It was not difficult to book a room. I made a call, left my contact details and specified the day of arrival. Cost of a single standard room with breakfast included is 1,050,000 rubles.

When I checked-in the small lobby of the hotel was deserted. It took less than 10 minutes for receptionists to prepare all the necessary documents. They had no change, but promised to give me 20 thousand rubles of change when I will check-out. Looking ahead, I must tell you that the money was not returned.

On the web-site of the hotel a single standard room is described as "comfortable" and "classic", and I have to agree with it. Furniture looks new; each guest can feel comfortable in the room where space is organized in such way. There is not a lot of furniture in the room - only the most necessary. At the reception I got the key card and wi-fi password. On the desktop I found an intelligible instruction how to connect to the Internet. Connection speed was quite decent.

The coffee ordered into the room was brought in 5 minutes. Two cups of well done americano and a bottle of mineral water cost 65 thousand rubles.

The room is air-conditioned. There are no complaints on its work: in spite of stifling heat on the street, it was always cool in the room. The temperature on the control panel was set at 19 degrees, but the alcohol thermometer, located nearby, desperately played up.

"Horizont" TV in the room broadcasts more than 40 channels, less than half of which are foreign. Unpleasant thing – the turkish language was selected in language settings. I tried to return it back to the Russian or English, but it failed.

It is noteworthy that smoking is prohibited in all rooms and throughout the hotel, that's indicated in the notice.

The windows overlook the courtyard. On the one hand, the view is not picturesque, but we can assume the positive thing: even with the windows opened you do not hear noise of the city in the room.

There is no mini-bar in the room, but guest can use a miniature fridge built in the desktop. There is also a notice on the desktop that informs about a free bottle of water in this refrigerator.

We look and see – there is the promised bottle of water.

The bathroom is quite decent. There are even notes attesting that the plumbing had been disinfected on the washbasin, toilet and bath. I found a container with liquid soap and one-use shower cap near the washbasin. In addition to this there is a set of towels.

At the time I checked-in I was warned that due to renovations of the heating systems problems with hot water passing through the central water supply can occur.

But I was pleased with the fact that for the convenience of guests hot water is heated with a boiler. Actually, the only drawback of the room was almost complete lack of ventilation in the bathroom that under certain circumstances may cause noticeable discomfort.

Decided to go for a walk, I left on the handle of the door the sign that asked to clean the room. After half an hour the room was clean.

Closer to the evening I ordered a dinner to the room. In order to give me the opportunity to choose a dish, a few minutes later the waiter from the restaurant "Pan Khmelju" came into my room. This restaurant (it’s noted on the hotel website) is an integral part of the hotel.

I chose the pork with mushroom sauce and vegetables and a bottle of drinking-water. I had to wait my order for 20 minutes. In just a few seconds before the food was brought I heard the pure sound of cutlery falling to the floor in the corridor just outside the door of my room. Apparently the waiter dropped a knife and fork, which he carried on a separate tray with bread on it. But he did not return for new cutlery, and lifted them immediately knocked into the room. The dinner cost about 185,000 rubles. I gave to the waiter 200,000. He did not bother to ask whether it is necessary to bring the change or not and left the room.

I washed the cutlery, dined (ordered dish was really tasty) and went to bed. Bed in the room is equipped with an orthopedic mattress.

Linens are clean and fresh. Close to midnight, I made a call to the reception with a request to find a headache pill. As it turned out, the hotel staff has first aid kit always at hand.

Before going to bed, I asked the hotel employee to wake me up at 7 am, but at the appointed time there was neither calling through an interphone nor knocking at the door. But iron and ironing board were provided by a maid in 15 minutes after my call to room service.

Later, during the check-out procedure the hotel receptionist admitted: "The girls who did a night shift were so swamped with work, that they forgot to notify us that you should have been awakened at 7".

Let’s summarize. General impression of living in the "Garni" is positive at large. The hotel is located in a nice quiet area of the city, guest room inventory, formed last year, can still brag of new furnishings, cleanliness and tidiness in the rooms. I liked to stay at this hotel, and now the price for rooms corresponds to their quality. At the same time it would be advisable for the hotel management to improve the level of training of the staff.


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