After reading a lot of reviews, mostly on TripAdvisor, I've winnowed out the chaff, but I'd like your thoughts before making these fateful decisions. AC is usually a must for me. I think September could be hot and open windows might mean a lot of street noise, as well as uncomfortably warm.
Gdansk (4 nights from Friday Sept 8).
- Celestin Residence, Straganiarska 19. Sounds like modernized medieval building, nice amenities, but no AC
- Mercure Stare Miasto. Quality varies with this chain, but I've enjoyed all the Mercures I've stayed at. Looking at the map, it's not as central as #1, but not too far away, closer to the train station and looks like a large supermarket around the corner. Amenities like #1 plus AC. And it's almost $100 less for the 4 nights.
Warsaw (4 nights from Tues, Sept 12). Warsaw isn't cheap! #1 and #2 are $75-80/night, the others are $105-120.
- Hotel Apartments Zgoda. 2 rm suite with kitchenette, AC, free laundry
- Ibis Old Town. I've often stayed in Ibis hotels, know what I'm getting. I'm a little hesitant about this one because it's huge, 333 rooms, which could mean groups and lots of noise in the corridors.
- Novotel Centrum. lots of amenities
- Mercure Grand.
- Chopin. The RS guide makes this one sound really attractive, but no AC and though it has an elevator, TA reviews mentioned that it's a long flight up from ground floor to get to the slow, tiny elevator.
Krakow (5 nights from Sat. Sept 16). At Zoe's recommendation, I booked the Hotel Ester back in April.
Thanks for your insights.
The Ibis in Gdansk was great. It's just on the edge between the Old Town and the New Town, with a shopping mall incl. supermarket a block away. The only time I used transportation was taxi from the airport on arrival and to the train station on departure. The station was only a 10 minute walk away, but it meant a flight of stairs down and up to get across the street to the station, and the taxi was cheap. I walked everywhere and nothing was far. I did use the AC but only because street noise woke me up several times the first night - occasional passersby with loud voices in the still of the night every hour or two till dawn's early light. I was so glad I didn't stay at the Mercure just down the street. There are 2 or 3 major buildings going up next door to it and the construction noise was noticeable from a couple blocks away. Thankfully the Ibis was on the other side of the Mercure and most rooms (including mine) were not toward the Mercure. The staff were very helpful and friendly. The room was comfortable (with the minimum amenities that Ibis provides), great bed, good shower, good lighting.
In Warsaw I ended up in an apartment through apartmentsapart.com (recommended in the RS guide). I phoned them to book and they were super helpful and responsive. The apartment was a block from the main square in the Old Town, very convenient location. The flat itself was a tad run down and not quite as clean as could be, but nothing to really be bothered about, and it was comfortable and more than adequate. The website said there was AC but I saw no sign of it and never needed it - just opened the windows when I wanted cooler air.
Now I'm at Hotel Ester In Krakow in the heart of Kazimierz and loving it.