Have you ever stayed in a luxury five star hotel where you wouldn’t want to be upgraded to a larger room? Have you ever stayed in a hotel which opens its swimming pool and acqua facilities, which happen to be mind blowing, at 10 am? Have you ever been to a hotel where you have instantly felt the most odd thing about it was its furniture, lighting and carpets ? (throughout the entire hotel).
I have ! And this is the 87 rooms AURELIUS HOTEL in the mountain resort town of POIANA BRASOV in the heart of Transylvania.
Location and facade architecture are the only two features of the hotel which cannot be questioned. It is situated on an artificial lake in the heart of Poiana Brasov, and its facade resembles a true Alpine resort hotel, with many wood accents.
On welcome, one would be surprised to notice there is no security and no bell staff. The front office is actually made up of one staff who performs several other duties. Even though we booked through a travel agent and had a voucher, it was striking that I was not asked for any ID and no form needed to be completed.
Rooms are huge by size, and I mean really huge, with a standard double at 100 sqm. I got a twin with two king beds. Due to the height of the room (over 2,5 meters) and the very large windows everything in the room seems tiny. One has the feeling the room lacks furniture or other decor pieces otherwise seems empty. As throughout the hotel the room are decorated in the same ”classic kitch” style – cheap crystal chandeliers, basic curtains with no blackouts and white laminated wood furniture (all new). The furniture is so new that cupboards and wardrobe need to be key locked to remain closed. There is no airconditioning or wireless internet and the TV set is from the mid 90’s and a limited low resolution channels. There are minibars in the rooms, yet they are all empty. Other important features: lack of a services booklet, TV guideor room service menu. Room service is also inexistent as a service.
The same contrasts meet guests at the SPA facilities which are again huge…two indoor swimming pools, whirlpool, 2 dry saunas and a large sitting lounge area, all windows facing the mountains. Despite the incredible facilities and cleanleness, there is no shower gel or soap in any of the 6 showers by the pool. There is no attendant or supervisor on the premises or any other means of communications i,e, a phone that would connect to the front desk (just in case someone has a heart attack). Towels are available on request and one has to go all the way through to the reception desk to ask that they send someone. On a more serious note, one would instantly notice there are no health or security instructions and no information on the pool depth and temperature. The other odd thing is that the pools open from 10 am. There is a well equipped gym, part with Technogym, yet facilities look deserted – no water, towels, music, not to mention lack of a trainer or supervisor.
Restaurant is as striking as the rest of the hotel. There are fixed timings for breakfast, lunch and dinner, outside those hours there is no service. Breakfast is extremely good, with a large variety of hot and cold buffet dishes and beverages with the exception of coffee which is by request and at extra charge.
While the hotel is beautiful, I am sure you all agree with me :
– how can the owner invest so much in a property such as this one and operate it like a newspaper kiosk
– with another sister property in the city of Sibiu (Imparatul Romanilor Hotel) which has been operating for many years – why not bring staff from there?
– why would the Ministry or Tourism Authority, wherever in the world, formally rate a property like this at 5 stars ?
– if the owners had no experience in management, why they did not employ an experience manager or management company ?
All these questions deepen the mistery surrounding the hotel….otherwise a favorite of both the governing party PDL as well as the leading opposition one PSD…
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