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Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Globtroter Krakow - The Perfect Guest House In The Heart Of The City

Dearest friends,

One of the biggest worries when travelling to a different place - be it in your own country or outside its borders - is where you would lay your head. It falls under logistics and it always takes quite a lot of time to find a good value place. There is always this issue that you would like to be in the city center, in the heart of the city, so you could feel it and be in arms reach to all the attractions... but usually when you select something city center you get a huge paycheck... Well guess what? The place I will tell you about today - Globtroter Krakow - combines quality accomodation with the great location and excellent value :)
I first bumped into them on their gorgeous Facebook page, which has feeds on a daily basis - pictures of Krakow and the important touristic places around Krakow. The pictures are taken by the manager but also by the person responsible for the communication/attracting new customers. The house itself - with its inner garden - was rented by the managers since 2002 and ever since the place was a guest room for travellers.
The staff is multi-lingual and in case you have any questions whatsoever they are more than happy to help you. There are 3 day-time receptionists and 2 male staff receptionists during night hours - which sounded really nice, and I am happy they did not take girls as ladies do need their beauty sleep ;)) Plus there are 2 cleaning ladies split between week vs. weekend and a maintenance person to make sure all runs smoothly. All of them you can barely see doing their job, but you always end up with clean towels / new toilet paper / more coffee and tea. They are somewhat similar to fairies - they do their jobs but you never catch them / you never see them...
The doors at the entrance are open only until 10 PM and after that hour, even if you have a key you cannot get inside unless you buzz in and the receptionist comes in and lets you get inside. Which is a plus in terms of security and also explains further on why all nightshift receptionists are male ;) So make sure you buzz in and don't go on damaging the nice doors. I will tell you more about the entering in the premises in a different post, as you need to get through multiple sets of doors and ring @ 2 interphones.
Krakow is on a growing trend as tourism now tends to focus more and more on the Eastern Europe. People are aware Krakow exists mainly due to Schindlers List - the wonderful Oscar nominated movie - and Auschwitz & Birkenau. Ocasionally they may also know about Wieliczka - the Salt Mine just outside Krakow - due to it being part of the UNESCO Patrimonium. There are more and more visitors coming in mainly from UK, USA, Germany and Italy. Especially during summertime you can find frequently groups of jewish people in their pilgrimage...
Russians nowadays, for example, like to be hosted in top standard hotels and private apartments. In Globtroter Krakow, during wintertime, the main number of tourists coming in is from Poland - Zakopane is close by and you can just jump in the bus for max 2 hours, enjoy the mountains for the day, come back to Krakow by sunset. Perfect location ;) During summertime the main tourists come from UK, but there are also Germans, people from Norway, Italy and the United States of America; so the place gets quite cosmopolitan :)
Masks from around the world
The place can be easily booked for larger groups. As Rick Steves put it - in his Guide Book from 2005-2006 on Easter Europe - "Globtroter Guest House offers 15 rustic-feeling rooms with high ceilings and big beams around a serene country courtyard", "larger suites for up to 5 are also available". The people coming in from the USA usually come due to this Guide Book that shows the place in a very positive light :) Also people who tell that they came due to Rick Steves get a 10% discount as well ;)
Small souvenirs that the managers collected in their travels
The Globtroter Krakow collaborates with agencies from the USA in bringing groups of tourists to Krakow. This place is great for families that want to have a quiet and home-like vacation. The rooms are comfortable and each of them has a bathroom inside the room - with shower and warm water running just fine ;) so don't be scared it's an old building, everything is very well maintained! The place is quite big and runs on ground floor + 2 floors up. From the second floor terrace you can actually see the tower from St. Mary church - the one with the hejnalista = the person singing on the trumpet each hours, you just can't miss him!
The Globtroter Krakow also comes with a basement with 2 fun-time rooms - one with a pool table and the second one with a ping pong table. It is great for families with kids that have a need to explore and run around the place. It might also come in handy if outside is freezing cold or if its raining non-stop... you might stay there for an hour or two and enjoy a game of pool :) The balls and the sticks can be found at the reception area.
Andrzej Mleczko sketches with original signature :)
Loads of leaflets from where you can pick and choose what to do next in Krakow
There is also another special room - that I actually enjoyed more, as a book freak - on the 2nd floor of the house: the reading room. The room has no windows, so you can focus on some quality time reading. There is a table with chairs in case you want to have a short meeting with the family/friends. There is also a small corner with a desktop, but that looked hardly ever used and that is normal... I mean in this age/era everyone comes with their own laptops/palmtops/iPhones and what-not-gadgets and there is a possibility to connect them all via WiFi. And it's free of charge!
There is also a small library with books and magazines in various languages. If you take one book from there to read you must also replace it with another one and leave a small note for the next reader and for Globtroter Krakow. As I was looking inside the books I could find some notes dating from 2009, with people saying what great time they had in Globtroter Krakow :) There are a few games, like dominoes, if you wish to get entertained in a more war-like manner.
There are a few travel guides for Poland but also for various other countries and phrase books. You can also browse through the 2 tables filled especially with flyers and guides created for Krakow and its surroundings. There are flyers on different museums and attractions - in Polish language, English, French, Russian & Spanish - that give you the exact location/price/opening hours. I also found there a very interesting flyer about tours that you can take by bike & where to rent the bikes from - including how to rent + map + short info on the interesting points along the way!
One thing I really really love is the small little things around the place... The old chests, the wooden cages with carvings and with small fake birds inside them, the old frames with very old maps of parts of Poland on each floor and almost each room, the odd wooden boxes laying around the place, the painted stones in the garden - the ones that look like ladybugs!, the huge map of the world as 2 sides of the globe that sits in the reception - and that is actually an extra large puzzle!, the small wooden and ivory statues, the knights helmets in the dungeon, the weird and different masks at the reception... Each of these tiny memories were gathered by the managers in their very own trips around the world but also on the local flee markets - like the one in Kazimierz, in Plac Nowy ;) For me it is very nice that the managers get so much involved into creating a place that people would feel at home and it is nice that they brought here all these things - you can touch them and feel them and make pictures with them :)
Globtroter Krakow has a very warm and fuzzy feeling about it. It somehow makes one feel at home away from home. You can't say its fashionable or over-the-top extraordinary but it is a calm place where a weary traveller can rest his head. Globtroter Krakow is located less than 80 years from the Main Square and it somehow feels you have landed in the countryside, where time stood still. Where people can have their own time and live at their own natural place. Its a place that feels like it was not rushed, rather left to breathe. Indeed I believe that the staff thinks that "our home is your home" and truly that is the Polish spirit :) 
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The prices are decent, when you think about the wonderful location and the quality of the service, so I will surely recommend Globtroter Krakow to my friends who will visit me. I am just very sorry that I found it so late, or else I would have hosted my family/friends there during our wedding last year :( The rooms are indeed comfortable and we slept well there for 2 nights. You can pick and choose beween rooms for single and up to 5 people + apartments for a full family! Bathroom - as I said - is inside each room and you have your very own TV + free WiFi. Fret not! I shall tell you more about the rooms and prices in my next post, in a day or 2 ;)

** Sponsored post but written from the heart, without any external influences**

Yours truly,
A LadyBug That Enjoyed Her Stay @ Globtroter Krakow