For most people, a backpacker’s story would always entail stories of sleeping in a hostel, a couch or anywhere not conventional. I myself have slept in places I never imagined I would end up with (back of a vegetable delivery truck). So writing about my experience staying in a hotel (yeah I know it is not a fancy 5-star hotel) is relatively new to me. I’ve been so accustomed to that typical scenario of: “As long as I have something behind my head” that reviewing a hotel became unfamiliar.
As I’ve previously mentioned (countless times) in my recent entry about Georgia, the country is backpackers and budget traveler’s paradise. Accommodation is affordable (hostels and even 3-star hotels) so I thought maybe I can give it a try upgrading myself from my usual hostel bed. While I was in Tbilisi, I stayed in New Hotel.
I arrived in Tbilisi in an unholy hour of 3:40 A.M. The hotel is located Garekakheti, 9, 0144 Tbilisi City which is 14km from Tbilisi International Airport. I would consider it a blessing that my arrival was way early, it didn’t take long to reach the hotel, have myself checked-in and took a quick nap before starting the city tour before lunch time.
The hotel is 5km away from Freedom Square where most interesting spots to visit are located. It is not that far and cab fare won’t burn a hole in your pocket. The language might be a problem but you can opt to seek help from the reception for you to get it and haggle.
I personally liked the location because it is quiet and away from the busy city noise. The nearest restaurant is a few blocks away but I am fond of walking (even in unfamiliar places) so it was an added bonus.
Room and Amenities:
I had the standard double room which looked nice and cozy. I felt like a kid seeing the room and the large double bed all to myself. For once, I will not be in a bunk bed shared with 4 or even 12 other strangers. I can have my own privacy (even for a night)!
My room was on the 2nd floor and I had a small balcony overlooking the street and the rustic neighborhood. I mentioned in my Instagram post that the neighborhood reminded me a lot of how Omsk was. The buildings looked familiar.
The bed, despite being large, is too soft for my own liking. I would have preferred a more firm cushion but anyhow, I know I don’t have any reason to complain.
I wish the centralized heater could provide more heat. It was freezing during my entire stay. I am not sure if it is just too cold (-4) or the heater wasn’t really functioning well despite setting it to the hottest temperature possible. I cocooned myself under piles of pillows and blanket to keep myself warm.
The loo is clean and spacious. I’ve been to a couple of ridiculously tight bathrooms, taking a quick shower will trigger your claustrophobic side you never knew you had. Basic toiletries are provided (Yay, I saved the toiletries that I brought for at least a day) and fresh towels too! Nothing can beat a fresh proper towel. PackTowl towel are just too synthetic.
On a more personal note, if anyone would ask me what is one thing in Qatar that I miss most when I travel, my answer be the bidet. As petty as it may sound, I miss it most every time I am on the road and bathrooms don’t have it. New Hotel provided plenty of bathroom rolls, though. (Tip: Always bring your own wet wipes).
Like in most hotels, coffee and tea are complimentary. For New Hotel, there is a catch, you have to pay 5 GEL (7 QAR/1.92 USD) for a small bottle of water for you to make your own cup of coffee. Otherwise, you have to bring your own water (which I did after the city tour).
Note: Hotel room glasses, cups and even the kettle itself are the most common dirtiest public items. This hotel wasn’t exempted. The kettle has almost half an inch of dust settling on the bottom. I had to quickly wash it off before pouring my bottled water in, or else, the entire bottle could have gone to waste.
I didn’t roam around to check other amenities of the hotel as I needed to have my quick nap. I was aware (from checking online) that there are a game room and an open garden at the back. It could have been nice to hang out during summer or when it’s warmer but definitely not this time when the mercury drops sub zero.
Wifi is fast and FREE.
Budget travelers would agree that breakfast (especially the complimentary free breakfasts hotels and hostels offer) are the most important meal of the day. You can maximize the free offer and stuff yourself up so you will be filled until lunch time. I often take a slice or two of bread or even make my own sandwich from the breakfast buffet and take with me on the go. Save your precious pennies!
The mini bar and breakfast area is located in the basement and the breakfast buffet opened at 9 A.M. I find it a bit late but since I needed that nap and city tour will start by 11, I didn’t mind.
The breakfast spread was decent. Nothing special. There were plenty of bread, cheese, and other dairy products. As it leans towards the non-pescatarian friendly side, I stuffed myself with bread and egg to keep me full.
The current rate of the room I had as of writing is 116 GEL (QAR 160/ 43 USD) inclusive of breakfast which is around the same rate that I had back in December.
I’ve seen hostels for 35 GEL which of course is far cheaper and perhaps would give you a more organic feeling of how Georgian living is like. But I would say that for short travels, especially in places where cost of living is not expensive like Georgia, giving yourself an upgrade is a well-deserved treat. The amount I paid is fairly reasonable for the staff did a good job in making me feel comfortable and they meant it when they said they have an English-speaking staff. Language didn’t become a problem at all.
Would I recommend New Hotel?
If you’re staying for a night or two, this is a good option. If you’ll be staying in Tbilisi more, there are cheaper alternatives in a better location if you are into long city tour kind of walking or staying up late partying.
Have you been to New Hotel recently? How was your experience like?