I would like to share my experience of visiting Aura Palace Hotel at Karlovy Vary booked by Astra Agency (have no complaint on the account of agency).
It is not my first time in KV but surely the last one at Aura Palace. Actually, Ive been there with a group of my relatives - 2 from Moscow, Rus, 2 from Geneve, Swiss, 2 from Chisinau (Moldova), 1 from NY, USA who also share my opinion and even advised me to express our opinion in writing. Also, I am not commenting on SPA and small obsolete gym which is a different topic.
- The ultimate benifit - the hotel is really close to mineral springs (the main hall), what initially dictated the choice of the hotel as my mom has the porblems with knees.
- Some guys told me that they liked fresh renovated look of the hotel and classy design (reminding Double tree by Hilton), however, in my opinion, the value is not in how it looks but how "it tastes" (works). At this point any resemblance to DT by Hilton ceases to exist.
- FOOD ... the food was terrible!!! On the second day of our stay our group of different people from different places of different ages (21 - 60 yo) decided against eating in the hotel although we paid for that (all inclusive)!!! The guys running the hotel tried to create an impression that the menu was balanced for diet however it is not an excuse for serving food which looks like prepared from something which "had already been eaten" / or on the edge of expiry date.
- NOISE ... well that was expected, any hotel situated in the central part is surely the target for all sort of noise coming from drunk people and youth hanging around days and nights. In this case it was not exception - when turning in I had to shut all windows to avoid restless night. I also forgot to add that apart from outer sounds I woke up at night from sounds coming from other rooms – for instance, people having sex, moving furniture, some guys brought boombox, etc – as of the end I was really fed up of complaining.
- VENTILATION ... yeah- they will tell you about the modern ventilation system, however it is a kind of "atmospheric" indeed or the system simply does not properly work as I tried to adjust the temperature on average at 21 C but again it was stuffy in the mornings. Staff was helpless...
- ELEVATOR /Lift ... not mentioning that for several days 1 of 2 elevators was not working resulting in expectation ranging from 1 to 7 minutes in rush hour... this was nothing compared to what happened on the last day ... I stayed in the lobby, the elevator's door opened and I saw terrified eyes of the wife of my brother who whispered that the lift fell!!! I said, how can that be??? The staff was helpless again... Ok, I took that on account that probably Ann (wife of my brother) was a sort over sensitive woman unless I was in the same elevator with my mom when somewhere close to the ground floor the elevator made a drastic jump - effect of roller coaster (free falling), mom almost fainted. Well... I went to the reception cursing everything that moved - do you think they gave any explanation or simply apologized?? NO!!! it was just as a matter of fact...
- Staff ... I already mentioned above that the staff was nice, silent and helpless with really basic knowledge of English that made it difficult to interact. However the breaking point was on my last day of stay... We got an invoice for everything, paid the balance and... (the conversation went as follows):
The woman at the reception requested: - Where is the check list for minibar from your room?
I said: - I have no idea, I paid no attention to it.
She replied then: - Go and get it, you need to sign THIS DOCUMENT!
I said: - I do not know where it is and I do not care about it, I already paid for minibar according to your internal notes (included in the invoice), so it is not my problem as long as financial matters are OK.
She confirmed that it is not payment issue and replied: - We request our guests to sign this document. So it is your problem!!!
Then followed my almost hysterical laugh, I said good bye and went away as the situation strongly reminded catch 22 situation. So, we left the hotel accompanied by a polite ignorance of personnel.
To sum up, colleagues, friends, travelers, if you value your time, physical and mental health (or simply looking for a decent quiterest) AVOID this Aura Palace as it looks like AURA (if ever existed) transformed in a kind of CARMA. Surely, this is the case of mismanagement based on their rough estimation that the opinion of a single guest does not mean anything as there will be more... Well, ignorance of such simple rules is the road to nowhere...
PS I can assure you that I do not represent any competitor or I am not trying to give any form of the biased opinion - this is my own experience and if you like to hear more details pls write to my address firstname.lastname@example.org