Hidden on a charming side street a mere 650 metres from the hustle and bustle of Krakow’s main square lies a modern white building, containing a small boutique hotel. First opened in 2017, the Grand Ascot Hotel has a feel of luxury and calm which is the perfect escape after exploring the city. I feel I found the perfect hotel during this stay as everything was just right.
Piasek Południe is a district on the outskirts of the old town and main tourist areas of Krakow. Providing the best combination of away from the crowds and close to the attractions, in my opinion. Grand Ascot is only a 30-minute drive from John Paul II Kraków-Balice International Airport which is great if you want to start exploring the minute the airplane lands, I know I do.
The hotel is on a one-way street with no bus or tram stops. However, it is only a 350 metre or 5-minute walk to the Teatr Bagatela tram stop on Karmelicka street. Krakow main station is a hub for buses and trains is only a 30-minute walk away.
My furry blue legs are only small, so I like to pick hotels within easy walking distance of three attractions I really wish to visit. This trip I didn’t need to limit myself as the majority of attractions were within comfortable walking distance.
Rynek Glowny (main square)
Only 650 metres away from the hotel is possibly the most famous site in Krakow. A medieval square perfect for shopping, eating and getting chased by pigeons (like my photographer). Head here early on a morning to miss the crowds and enjoy the pastel-coloured buildings. You can read about the main square in a post I wrote last time I was in Poland.
Wawel Castle is just over 1km away on a path which leads to Planty Park and the Vistula Riverside walk. Heading further afield is Kazimierz 2.5km away but I found the city to be a lot more accessible on foot than public transport as I could cut off some distance through the pedestrianised main square, where the trams have to loop around.
The city is (mainly) flat and if you use the riverside to walk along there are an abundance of seats to stop and rest. Krakow is a very accessible city for everyone, and the hotel were more than happy to organise transport and tours for anyone who required one.
I was lucky enough to stay in a family room which was the same size as a small apartment. The room itself was modern, decorated with a few pieces of furniture in dinosaur blue (I love it when I match the room). The windows overlooked a small courtyard and trees which gave a lot of privacy. I really liked this touch as it ensured the room was quiet and I didn’t feel as though I was staying in a city centre.
I was lucky enough to have 3 rooms comprising of two bedrooms, each containing two single beds, and a bathroom. The larger of the rooms also had a small seating area and coffee station. Perfect for an afternoon pick me up.
Each room had two single beds one with a softer mattress and one more firm. I found this to be a really nice touch as humans tend to be very fussy about where they sleep. Each bed had two huge cosy cushions and a fluffy duvet to cuddle into after a hard day exploring.
I loved the great wifi connection in room and the empty fridge which allowed me to keep bottled water cool. However, my photographer did find the light switches confusing and we had a nightly light show before going to sleep (humans … ).
Now for the best part of the room, the bathroom. I know I have commented on some incredible bathrooms in previous hotels. But the Grand Ascot Hotel has the best shower I have ever been in. Having both a rainfall shower and shower head to use in a huge cubicle, makes up for the lack of a bath. Rainfall showers are so underrated, and I always feel like a celebrity if I stay in a hotel with one.
We found the room to be accessible and easy for everyone to use. Except my photographer who couldn’t figure out the light switches. Although this wasn’t an adapted room it could have comfortably been used by someone with a walking aid or wheelchair as there was lots of space. The shower had no step to enter and was big enough to have a party in. The room was up a small ramp from the lift and had no steps to go up to get anywhere within the hotel and restaurant.
Finally, the important part and possibly my favourite subject, food. The hotel has one bar in the lobby and Restaurant Four which is used for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
A small buffet affair with a lot of choice. I loved the number of different types of nuts and berries available. The yoghurts being in pots was a great idea, since COVID I am rather sceptical about spoons (don’t ask me why). The only downside was the lack of labels to state what foods were. Being a veggiesaurus I was nervous about trying anything I wasn’t 100% sure about. I can imagine people with allergies would feel similar about this. The restaurant also had a coffee machine with big coffee mugs, instead of the tiny ones you usually find across Europe which I found was a nice touch.
The chefs in the hotel have managed to take Polish favourites and European flavours and turn them into innovative and delicious dishes. Best part of the menu was the well thought out vegetarian/ vegan dishes, it is often hard to find a place where non-meat options aren’t an afterthought. Four Restaurant also had gluten-free options clearly stated throughout the menu. I’m pleased I ate in the restaurant as I found some of the best Pierogi (dumplings) I have eaten in Poland. The ravioli was also really good and was presented in a style similar to the pierogi, I really loved the Polish taken on an Italian classic.
The hotel has four conference rooms, a gym and a spa. None of which I had the time to use. I however did enjoy using the Hotel Lobby bar. The prices were very reasonable and staff were really friendly and helpful. Check in time of 14:00 is a little later than usual but my flight was an evening arrival, so it didn’t affect me. The check-out time of 12:00 lunchtime was a nice touch as I didn’t feel as though I was being kicked out of my room really early. The hotel also has a luggage room where the staff are happy to store bags and suitcases whilst you do some last minute exploring.
Grand Ascot Hotel – ul. Józefa Szujskiego 4, 31-123 Kraków
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