Ensconced in a modern building nestled next to the remains of a 14th century home, and located 1 minute by foot from the Polish...

By David Armstrong

If location, location, location is the key to success in urban real estate, the Radisson Blu Hotel Gdansk is nicely situated to find success in the hospitality market, too.


While the Radisson Blu Hotel Gdansk is contained in a modern building, it is located next to the remains of a 14th century home very close to the Polish seaport's picturesque and thriving Long Market

While the Radisson Blu Hotel Gdansk is contained in a modern building, it is located next to the remains of a 14th century home very close to the Polish seaport’s picturesque and thriving Long Market

 

Ensconced in a modern building nestled next to the remains of a 14th century home, and located 1 minute by foot from the Polish seaport’s picturesque and thriving Long Market, the Radisson Blu Hotel Gdansk brings smoothly multilingual, professional service to the city center.

The 134-room Radisson Blu Gdansk, operated by Brussels-based Rezidor Hotel Group, is one of the group’s 400-some hotels around the world. Rezidor, majority-owned by Minneapolis-based Carlson, is especially popular in Europe, where the Radisson Blu brand combines functionality and sleekness.

I stayed at the Radisson Blu Gdansk in October 2012 on my first visit to the historic city of 455,000 people (there are 1.1 million people in the metropolitan area). I found Gdansk, the country’s fourth-largest city, to be a good introduction to Poland: friendly, pretty, safe for a mid-sized city, easy and pleasant to get around.

The Radisson Blu Gdansk is located in a picturesque central area of the Polish seaport city hard by Gdansk's busy Long Market

The Radisson Blu Gdansk is located in a picturesque central area of the Polish seaport city hard by Gdansk’s busy Long Market

 

The Radisson Blu, in turn, is an easy and pleasant place to be based. It is located in Old Town, near the city’s modern seaport and about a 10-minute car or tram ride to the famous Gdansk Shipyard.

There, electrician turned president Lech Walesa helped launch the Solidarity labor movement and promote anti-communist activism throughout the former Soviet bloc in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Gdansk Lech Walesa Airport (IATA code GDN) is named for him.

The 3-year-old Radisson Blu Gdansk, fronted by a two-level, atrium lobby, is a favorite of business travelers: notably, Germans, Scandinavians and Russians.

This is the attractive atrium lobby of the Radisson Blu Hotel Gdansk

This is the attractive atrium lobby of the Radisson Blu Hotel Gdansk

 

In line with this, the hotel contains 165 square meters (1,776 square feet) of meeting space, encompassing a ballroom and two break-out rooms.

The hotel tries to combat the stress of business travel with its spa. The hotel spa, with both a wet sauna and a dry sauna and an array of aromatherapy treatments, is complemented by a gym with high-tech workout equipment, as well as weights and treadmills.

Promotional materials for the hotel characterize it as a 5-star property. By international standards, it is closer to a 4-star: certainly good but without the pampering and enormous staff-to-guest ratios you find in a Hong Kong, Paris, London or Tokyo luxury hotel.

While the Radisson Blu Hotel Gdansk has a somewhat plain exterior, its interior is modern and attractive

While the Radisson Blu Hotel Gdansk has a somewhat plain exterior, its interior is modern and attractive

 

My room was classified ‘business-class’. This is the third tier up in a four-tier system that starts with single rooms and tops out with deluxe rooms and suites.

My business-class room – 650 Polish zlotys (PLN) or US$208 per night including breakfast – was on an upper floor, facing an eye-pleasing street of stone-clad apartment buildings. The room was spacious and comfortable. It had a good-sized desk and ergonomic desk chair for working and two leather lounging chairs for relaxing.

The room contained two narrow but comfortable beds of the type inexplicably popular in continental Europe. The bathroom was large, with a heated floor, but the shower was crammed into and over the bathtub.

The business class rooms in the Radisson Blu Hotel Gdansk are spacious and comfortable. Each has a good-sized desk and ergonomic desk chair for working and two leather lounging chairs for relaxing

The business class rooms in the Radisson Blu Hotel Gdansk are spacious and comfortable. Each has a good-sized desk and ergonomic desk chair for working and two leather lounging chairs for relaxing

 

Additionally, my room included free, high-speed Wi-Fi (public areas of the hotel also have this welcome amenity), a Nespresso coffeemaker, mini-bar, daily newspaper, laptop-sized safe and LCD flat-screen TV.

Breakfast in the hotel’s expansive, brasserie-style restaurant, Verres en Vers, featured eggs cooked to order and a groaning board of meats, cheeses, fruits, vegetables, nuts, pastries and good bread.

Indeed, I found Polish bread equal to that of next door neighbor Germany for flavor and satisfying chewiness. Coffee, tea and juices were of a similar high quality.

In addition to serving breakfast, Verres en Vers, the Radisson Blu Hotel Gdansk's brasserie-style main restaurant, offers rich French cuisine for dinner. Verres en Vers is on the ground floor of a converted Gothic-style residence and opens onto a terrace overlooking Gdansk's Long Market

In addition to serving breakfast, Verres en Vers, the Radisson Blu Hotel Gdansk’s brasserie-style main restaurant, offers rich French cuisine for dinner. Verres en Vers is on the ground floor of a converted Gothic-style residence and opens onto a terrace overlooking Gdansk’s Long Market

 

In warm weather, Verres en Vers – on the ground floor of a converted Gothic-style residence – opens onto a terrace overlooking the Long Market.

Lined with stone and brick buildings and graced with cafes and shops, this handsome, car-free thoroughfare, six blocks in length, was lovingly and meticulously replicated from photographs after World War II, which leveled Gdansk. After the war, the city became part of Poland. Previously, it was the eastern German city of Danzig.

From the 1990s on, the Long Market, and indeed much of Gdansk, have been admirably restored and modernized, turning a once-devastated and dingy place into an attractive travel destination.

In addition to its main restaurant, the French brasserie-style Verres en Vers, the Radisson Blu Hotel Gdansk has a sleek bar called Sure Bar

In addition to its main restaurant, the French brasserie-style Verres en Vers, the Radisson Blu Hotel Gdansk has a sleek bar called Sure Bar

 

I booked a private city tour with a guide who set out from the Radisson Blu and related Gdansk’s rich history: member of the Hanseatic League of trading cities in the Middle Ages, semi-autonomous ‘free city’ between the world wars, catalyst of the post-Cold War liberation of communist Europe, contemporary Poland’s largest port and lifeline on the Baltic Sea. It was also for many years a hub of Europe’s lucrative trade in amber.

As Gdansk has revived, the area around the Radisson Blu has become an attractive strolling and shopping district. I enjoyed taking early morning walks, heading through and beyond the Long Market, people-watching, window-shopping and eye-balling the central city’s mix of vintage and contemporary architecture.

All this was within a 15-minute walkabout: location, location, location, again.

The Radisson Blu Gdansk is a popular hotel with businesspeople. In line with this, the hotel contains 165 square meters (1,776 square feet) of meeting space, encompassing a ballroom and two break-out rooms

The Radisson Blu Gdansk is a popular hotel with businesspeople. In line with this, the hotel contains 165 square meters (1,776 square feet) of meeting space, encompassing a ballroom and two break-out rooms

 

The Radisson Blu Hotel Gdansk is located at Dlugi Targ 19, Powroznicza, 80-828, Gdansk, Poland. For more information and reservations, call +48 58 325 4444, or visit www.radissonblu.com/hotel-gdansk. Nightly rates are from 320 PLN (US$103).

David Armstrong is a San Francisco Bay Area journalist specializing in features, news and reviews about travel destinations, airports, airlines, hotels and resorts. He is the former tourism, aviation and international trade reporter for the San Francisco Chronicle and covered tourism, movies, media and theater for the Hearst-owned San Francisco Examiner. He is the author of five books and numerous travel articles for TheStreet.com, Travel + Leisure, Global Traveler, Napa Sonoma Magazine, The Globe and Mail (Toronto), Toronto Star, Chicago Sun-Times, Aviation.com and many others. He blogs at http://davidarmstrongontravel.blogspot.com.

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