radisson blu carlton: a tale of two rooms

the-romantic-the-winoWith only one night in Bratislava, we wanted to make sure our hotel selection was top notch. We went back and forth on whether we should just hightail it to Vienna, but we figured we’d poke around and see if we could find a good place to crash.

It didn’t take much research to find the Radisson Blu Carlton, and it took even less time to become completely charmed with the idea of staying there.

Central location, reasonably priced, with a facade that looked like this:

Radisson Blu CarltonPhoto courtesy of the Radisson Blu Carlton

Here’s the catch: from the minute we stepped in to the Radisson lobby, our experiences were… very different.

Part One: The Wino

Check in was quick, efficient, and done with a smile from the person behind the desk, which I greatly appreciated after an early morning train ride and a restless night of sleep in our non-air conditioned apartment in Budapest.

My room was on the sixth floor, in one of the front-facing rooms with a small Juliet balcony overlooking Hviezdoslav Square, with views of Old Town, Bratislava castle, and St. Martin’s Cathedral. When we arrived, a festival was in full swing in front of the Radisson–we swung open the balcony windows and enjoyed the sounds of musical performances and laughter while we opened the chilled white wine left for us in the room. If this was the true authentic Bratislava, then Bratislava was just heavenly.

Bratislava Views

Views from the wino’s balconey

As far as hotel rooms go, this one had all of the amenities I love: a king-sized bed, a Nespresso machine, big white terry-cloth robes, free wifi, and (le duh) a fully stocked mini-bar. Because I was staying in one of the Junior Suites, I also had separate sitting area, which was parfait for hosting the romantic and the hubs while we drank our wine and listened to the festivities drifting through my windows.

Radisson Blu Carlton Room

Photo courtesy of Orbitz

Part Two: The Romantic

As the wino checked in seamlessly to my left, my own experience was off to a rocky start. The employee was in training and seemed petrified from his first hello. We fumbled through the process together, but when I learned that the wino would be on the sixth floor and I’d be on the second, I almost caused a panic attack by asking if I could possibly be bumped up to have a room near hers. Not normally a big deal, but we had a quick stay–and how would we efficiently get ready for our night out while being four floors apart?!

After some words with his manager, he was able to move me up to a junior suite on the sixth floor, sans view. Being on the same floor was more of a priority, so I thanked him for his troubles and agreed this would be great. A courtyard view didn’t sound so bad, right? Never you mind that the courtyard in question was more of an abandoned cement building currently under construction… I quickly realized we had bigger fish to fry. My room was all the way in the back of the building in a part of the hotel that didn’t appear to have wifi. A quick call down to the front desk confirmed every blogger’s worst fear: the WiFi didn’t reach these far corners of the Radisson Blu. This was another factor that wouldn’t normally be an issue for one night, but our AC-less apartment in Budapest was also without WiFi, and two nights in a row without an internet connection?! ARE WE ANIMALS?

Alas, the staff didn’t seem too excited about moving me to a new room, so I grabbed my laptop and we headed to the wino’s room, where we shared the complimentary wine and  watched the festivities unfolding below her little balcony.

bratislava wine

We quickly forgot about my hotel woes, and made our way out to explore. We fell in love with Bratislava’s charm, and fully agreed that our hotel location was tops.

A few hours later, we returned home, tired and ready for bed. We said our goodnights, and as soon as I walked into the room, I realized: the AC was broken. We had turned it on before going out, but dun dun DUNNNNN: it was a sweatbox. I called down to the front desk once more, thus cementing my reputation as the neediest guest in all the land, and honestly? The next hour was the most confusing. Someone came up to look at the AC, confirmed that something was amiss, and disappeared for awhile. A full hour later (and well after midnight), we were told to carry our bags down to the second floor. It was all more frustrating than an exhausted girl with a budding sinus infection was prepared to handle, but finally–FINALLY–the hubs and I were snuggled in a one bedroom suite… down on the second floor.

Part Three: The Lesson.

Choose your hotel battles. The romantic most certainly should have stuck with the second floor room from the beginning, but at the time, having both our rooms on the same floor seemed far more preferable. Unfortunately, back at check-in, we weren’t warned that the WiFi wouldn’t work in the new room, which, as bloggers, typically trumps all else. When the AC sputtered and died, we assumed there was some sort of karmic retribution in action.

The Radisson Blu Carlton is definitely not a bad hotel– it’s perfectly suited for business travelers and its location is by far the best in the city. It was obvious that room choice greatly affects the experience, and should we return, a room with a view (because, let’s face it, its views are unbeatable) on one of the higher floors would be a priority.

Still, the real lesson here is that Bratislava doesn’t require an overnight stay. You can see the whole city in a day, and as long as that visit includes an amazing meal at Pôvodný Meštiansky pivovar, you’ll feel your time was well spent.


the romantic & the wino



  1. August 29, 2013 / 11:24

    We had the same in Malta last August. Boiling heat and the hotel’s a/c was not working or so we thought. It turns out that the hotel manager turns it off to save money!!! In a 4* hotel during summer in the med!! We were not impressed.
    Paul Farrugia (globalhelpswap) recently posted..How to get one step closer to freedomMy Profile

    • August 30, 2013 / 08:52

      it wouldn’t have been too bad if both our rooms were AC-free, it was the fact that we had such drastically different experiences. AND it didnt help that the romantic had a serious head cold, so a night in a stifling hot room was noooot looking good.

  2. August 29, 2013 / 23:33

    Ah, wifi. Since becoming bloggers, the accessibility of (free) wifi has become a make or break situation. I like that this post came from two different sides. We want more!

    Okay, but next time we want to come with you. Deal?
    Tawny of Captain and Clark recently posted..Wedding Ring or Harry Potter Wand?My Profile

    • August 30, 2013 / 08:53

      one big group trip back to bratislava?! maybe we can stay in the castle next time…

    • August 31, 2013 / 12:05

      it was one of those things where the next little annoyance just topped the one before it! luckily, the wino had a seamless experience so we don’t blame the hotel at all–but it does go to show that sometimes, even which room you’re in can negatively affect your experience!
      Lazy Travelers recently posted..new york staycation at the kimberly hotelMy Profile

  3. August 31, 2013 / 14:01

    Haha, the Wino’s experience sounded fantastic! At least you got to share part of it with her. 🙂

    It’s a bit annoying that they didn’t warn you about the wi-fi. Seriously, now when I travel, especially when I need to blog, tweet, instagram, facebook, whateverrrrrr, I want to cry when it’s not available, which really is a little bit sad. I know you’ll understand though. 🙁

  4. September 1, 2013 / 01:35

    4-floors apart with no WiFi?! Sounds like my worst fears too! I know people probably think it’s weird we’re all so concern about WiFi.. but seriously?! I need to stay connected! I think Wino lucked out.. sorry Romantic. But you girls crack me up. 😛
    Kieu ~ GQ trippin recently posted..Where to Eat in Kuala LumpurMy Profile

    • September 1, 2013 / 16:15

      i know, the wifi thing has just got to be a matter of time. the one that kills me the most is nice hotels that tell you it’s free UNLESS you want to upgrade to the fast internet. like, really?! just give me access!
      Lazy Travelers recently posted..new york staycation at the kimberly hotelMy Profile

  5. September 28, 2013 / 12:04

    Dear the romantic & the wino,

    first of all let me thank you for your experience share. It gears us towards better results and it is a great reflection of our performance.

    With regret we read the blog about our hotel experience and fully understand Wi-Fi is essential for your stay as a blogger. We have moved to a next level of 100 Mb speed and better connectivity now to ensure our complimentary added value has its benefit with no obstructions. There is a central A/C on property with individually adjustable control system in each room and herewith let me apologize on behalf of the maintenance team.

    I believe your next visit will be more pleasant and experience with our beautiful iconic property more delightful.

    Please feel free to contact me anytime,

    Best regards

    Petr Masek
    Director of Sales and Marketing

    • September 28, 2013 / 12:44

      thank you so much for your response, petr!

      hi petr!

      it was definitely a case of miscommunication, and that’s great to know that your wifi situation is improving. the wino’s night made it clear that most guests have an amazing stay at your hotel–there were just unfortunately a few too many coincidences that led to a rough night for the romantic 🙂

      we loved bratislava & the location, and hope you see you again soon!
      Lazy Travelers recently posted..no trave required: #frifotosMy Profile

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