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Review: the Sheraton Grand Krakow hotel (Marriott Bonvoy)

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This is our review of the Sheraton Grand Krakow hotel in Poland.

The Marriott Bonvoy® American Express Credit Card® is currently offering 60,000 bonus Marriott Bonvoy® points for a limited time.

To show you what sort of hotels you could visit around Europe with Bonvoy points, the HfP team split up and visited four different properties across four different brands in four different countries.  We’ll be bringing you these reviews on alternate Saturdays whilst the 60,000 points offer is running.

The first review in this series found Rob at the Dorothea Hotel in Budapest, part of Marriott’s Autograph Collection – click here to read it.

For the second review in the series Conny headed to Frankfurt and stayed at the Westin Grand. Read her review here.

In two weeks time we’ll show you what Rhys got up to in Brussels.

If you want to learn more about the Marriott Bonvoy® American Express Credit Card® 60,000 bonus Marriott Bonvoy points promotion, then read our article here.

Sheraton Grand Krakow Facade from river

Marriott provided all four hotels in this series for free for review purposes. HfP paid for all of its flights and incidental expenses. The articles are not sponsored and Marriott has not seen the reviews before publication.

The Sheraton Grand Krakow website is here.

Arriving in Krakow and at the Sheraton Grand

Not having visited Poland before I was excited to fill this gap in my travels with the third review in our Marriott series, and curious to see if Krakow would live up to its reputation as a great city for a short break.

Signage at the airport to the city was very clear and I decided to take the train. There is no excuse for not buying a ticket as there was both a ticket machine and kiosk on the platform as well as a ticket machine onboard the train. The cost was a very reasonable 9PLN (c. £1.75) and within 20 minutes I found myself at Krakow Glowny, the stop for the city centre and Old Town.

From here I thought the best way to orient myself would be to walk to the hotel. The walk took 25 minutes and although I may not have taken the most direct route it was a good tour. I traversed the Old Town from north to south, taking in the cafe society evident in the Main Market Square before arriving at the Sheraton Grand on the banks of the Vistula River.

Krakow Main Square

The Main Market Square in Krakow is the largest of all medieval squares in Europe. The Old Town is no longer a walled enclave as the fortifications have been replaced by the Planty, a park full of mature trees almost completely encircling the area.

The Old Town is to the north of the hotel, with the river directly in front of it. To the east of the hotel (viewed from the river) lies the old Jewish Quarter, and Wawel Royal Castle is literally a stones throw away.

Lobby and communal areas

‘Sheraton Grand’ is a sub-brand of Sheraton which was launched in 2015. It was a way of highlighting the real gems in the Sheraton portfolio. We’ve previously reviewed Sheraton Grand London Park Lane, Sheraton Grand Dubai, Sheraton Grand Doha Resort and Sheraton Grand Edinburgh.

Arriving at the hotel, the blocky facade was a bit of a contrast to the historic architecture I encountered on my walk from the station. The hotel is not a beauty, it’s fair to say, but luckily things improve rapidly once you step inside.

The front of the hotel faces the river (so a good view from within) and the entrance opens directly into the lobby pictured below. There are three reception desks to the left which were all manned, and check in when I arrived towards midday was efficient and friendly.

Sheraton Krakow lobby

Directly in front of the lobby is a large open plan space with plenty of seating, housing the main restaurant and bar area. To the right as you pass through the lobby is the entrance to SomePlace Else, a sports bar offering casual dining, and to the right there are two ‘business booths’.

Sheraton Krakow business booths

Here is a picture of the seating surrounding the more formal restaurant area in the large central atrium of the hotel.

Sheraton Grand Krakow

Rooms at the Sheraton Grand Krakow hotel

All rooms offer either a minimum of a King bed or two twin beds, with the main differentiators (it seemed to me) being view (river or castle versus city or atrium) and access to the Sheraton Club room, as well as square footage.

I was given a Grand Deluxe with a king bed and view of the Vistula river

Krakow Bedroom 1

There were ample sockets with USB A charging points, a desk, decently stocked mini-bar, Nespresso coffee machine and a good selection of both caffeinated and decaffeinated teas.

Sheraton Grand Krakow Guest Room Desk

A welcome touch was a free bottle of wine, crackers and ‘sernik Krakowski’ or Krakow-style-cheesecake:

Sheraton Grand Krakow Guest Room Chaise

The bathroom was entirely serviceable, with a single sink and over-the-bath shower. As well as the usual large bottles of shampoo, conditioner and shower gel (by Gilchrist & Soames) the hotel provided a good selection of amenities including toothbrush and razor.

Sheraton Grand Krakow Bathroom

Food and drink at Sheraton Grand Krakow

There are three eating spots at the Sheraton Grand (not including the Sheraton Club) and I can recommend all of them:

  • Anima – the main restaurant located in the central atrium serving Italian food and an excellent breakfast
  • Roof Top Terrace – cocktail bar with a light-bites menu and a fabulous view over the Vistula
  • SomePlace Else – casual dining offering ‘international cuisine’ with a sports bar vibe

Anima

Anima was apparently fully renovated before it reopened after the pandemic. It is light and airy thanks to the glass roof covering the central atrium, with automatic blinds ensuring it doesn’t get too hot during the day.

As you can see below it is entirely open plan but well zoned. Planting, different table styles and some suspended ceiling panels are used to break up the area and improve the acoustics as the open area is five storeys high. This does much to compensate for the fact that you are seated in the middle of a large atrium rather than an intimate restaurant.

In the evening, with mood lighting, this works. If I’m honest, in the cold light of day, sitting on the edge of the restaurant space with a view to the lobby, it is not quite so convincing.

Anima restaurant

Anima is an Italian restaurant offering classic fare, executed to a very high standard. Of course there is a good selection of pizzas and pasta, along with antipasti including beef carpaccio, various sea food items, burrata and bruschetta. Main courses include chicken supreme, sea bass and salmon (with celeriac puree and marinated fennel – I had this and it was really good), veal, beef fillet and steak.

To begin with we were offered focacia served with tapenade and pesto. For starter I took burrata, with rocket, marinated tomatoes, beetroot and a little olive oil. Delicious.

Sheraton Grand Krakow hotel

I can confirm that the Gamberoni scottati aka seared jumbo garlic prawns, capers and rocket in white wine and butter are equally good.

Sheraton Grand Krakow hotel

This is the filetto di manzo; grilled beef fillet, vegetable caponata, wilted spinach with creamy pepe verde sauce.

Sheraton Grand Krakow hotel

In the name of research I tried two different desserts, both classics and very tasty if rather large. Here is the Panna cotta al rosmarino – with ‘forest fruits’ and lemon thyme:

Sheraton Grand Krakow hotel

…. and here the Tiramisu classico.

Sheraton Grand Krakow hotel

Anima is also the venue for breakfast. The extensive breakfast buffet is available from 7am. There are rows of tables offering a wide selection of very fresh fruit, pastries, bread and other baked goods, granola and cereals, charcuteries including Polish specialities, a wide selection of cheeses, juices and smoothies – all beautifully presented and, well, pristine (not a term I usually apply to food).

Additionally, the servery at the open kitchen offers pancakes and waffles, porridge plus bacon, sausages, eggs, mushrooms, beans as well as omelettes cooked to order.

There is also a fine display of terrariums!

Sheraton Grand Krakow hotel

The Roof Top Terrace Lounge & Bar

Not only does this rooftop cocktail bar have a view over the river, but also looking to your left there is a fine view of the nearby Wawel Castle.

Roof Top Terrace View Sheraton Grand Krakow hotel

and

Roof Top Terrace Sheraton Grand Krakow hotel

The layout is a mixture of a fully outdoor space and an indoor/outdoor area with a retractable roof.

Open from 4pm to midnight during the week, and from 12.30pm at the weekend, this is a beautiful place for a coffee or cocktail (or anything else from the extensive drinks menu). The food on offer also looked good and, if you can get a table, it would be a lovely spot for weekend lunch or dinner anytime.

SomePlace Else

Back down on the ground floor is your third eating option. SomePlace Else is a sports bar open between 5pm and midnight every day. As well as the bar there is a reasonable size outside seating area with tables and umbrellas if needed.

It has a good selection of beers and ‘speciality cocktails’ and offers bar food with a focus on ‘Tex-Mex’.

SomePlace Else Sports Bar Sheraton Grand Krakow hotel

Large television screens can be seen from every corner of the bar. There is also a pool table and table football.

For those staying in rooms with Sheraton Club access – mine didn’t – there is also a private lounge which is on a mezzanine overlooking the main atrium area.

Sheraton Health Club

The newly renovated health club opened in April this year and is situated on the lower ground floor.

The space felt very calm and luxurious and I was surprised at the natural light having descended from ground level. As you can see there is a good size pool with a jacuzzi to the side, and out of sight you have a sauna. I particularly liked the design of the sun loungers, although you can’t really see them in the picture below:

Swimming pool Sheraton Grand Krakow hotel

The gym area is well equipped with a range of machines and some free weights, gym balls and space to move around.

Gym 2

There is also a treatment room where you can book a range of beauty treatments and massages between 10am and 7pm.

If you are interested in fitness, the path which runs along the river in front of the hotel goes for miles if you take a left and head past the castle. You can cross over to the other bank for your return stretch. It was a beautiful (flat) 10K walk for me in the morning – running is also available!

When it was time to return to the airport, I didn’t fancy the walk to the train station and got the bus. ‘Jubilant’ bus stop is three minutes walk from the hotel, the journey takes 20 minutes and cost 6PLN (£1.20). Easy.

Conclusion

The Sheraton Grand Krakow is an excellent base for a trip to the city. For me the location was perfect, being a short walk from the Old Town and main shopping centres, right next to the castle but with the peace (and views) that being by the the river brings.

My other highlights were the quality of the food and friendly service in the restaurant, the ambience of the Roof Top Terrace and the swimming pool, which was lovely – just the right temperature and the whole pool area was immaculate.

As for whether Krakow met my expectations on this short visit ….. I saw just enough to know that it really did and I need to come back. I looked at how many Marriott Bonvoy points I need to return and I could easily get a night at this five star hotel for the 60,000 bonus points offered in the current Marriott Bonvoy American Express promotion.

For a weekend in July the Sheraton Grand is around £140 per night or 40,000 Marriott Bonvoy points. It’s worth noting that redemptions book into Grand Deluxe rooms on most dates which cost nearer £200.

You can find out more, and book, on the hotel website here.


How to earn Marriott Bonvoy points and status from UK credit cards

How to earn Marriott Bonvoy points and status from UK credit cards (July 2024)

There are various ways of earning Marriott Bonvoy points from UK credit cards.  Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses.

The official Marriott Bonvoy American Express card comes with 20,000 points for signing up, 2 points for every £1 you spend and 15 elite night credits per year.

You can apply here.

Marriott Bonvoy American Express

20,000 points for signing up and 15 elite night credits each year Read our full review

You can also earn Marriott Bonvoy points by converting American Express Membership Rewards points at the rate of 2:3.

Do you know that holders of The Platinum Card from American Express receive FREE Marriott Bonvoy Gold status for as long as they hold the card?  It also comes with Hilton Honors Gold, Radisson Rewards Premium and MeliaRewards Gold status.  We reviewed American Express Platinum in detail here and you can apply here.

The Platinum Card from American Express

40,000 bonus points AND (to 27th August) £400 to spend at Amex Travel Read our full review

You can also earn Marriott Bonvoy points indirectly:

and for small business owners:

The conversion rate from American Express to Marriott Bonvoy points is 2:3.

Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which can be used to earn Marriott Bonvoy points

(Want to earn more hotel points?  Click here to see our complete list of promotions from the major hotel chains or use the ‘Hotel Offers’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)

Comments (18)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • Tom says:

    Personally, I’d always choose the AC Marriott Krakow or Stradom House (Autograph Collection). The AC Marriott is especially great for elite members and is the best AC I’ve ever stayed at, whether it’s the rooms (suites) or the breakfast. I didn’t particularly like this Sheraton; while the location is good, it feels aged and lacks any ‘Grand’ qualities.

  • ukpolak says:

    We stayed at the Wyndham on ul. Florianska back in Feb and used the Amex £200 off £1000 for a family room for 5 nights (luxury escapes deal IIRC). The room was palatial and breakfasts really outstanding. Kids enjoyed the underground pool too.

    How times have changed from 20 yrs ago, when an apartment on rynek glowny could be had for £30/night!

  • ems says:

    May I suggest you refer to the business lounge at every Marriott hotel (usually Westin Sheraton and Marriott offers such a service).
    As a platinum member who enjoys the free entrance to such lounges I can tell there is a great difference between them. For me and I’m sure for many others the access and quality of food beverages and 5 o’clock meals are a major consideration which hotel to choose. Free drinks and free snacks can become a great saving when you host a back to back full day meetings at the executive lounge…

    • Rob says:

      I agree, and we usually do.

      I was in a Ritz Carlton lounge an hour ago as it happens 🙂

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

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