Not All Business
by Becky Sue Epstein
Opened in 2009, Tbilisi's Radisson Blu outpost in the country of Georgia has positioned itself as a place to see and be seen for wealthy locals. At the same time, it attracts international travelers, including business, government and NGO clientele, all of whom appreciate its location near the Opera House on the prestigious Rustaveli Avenue.
The Radisson Blu was once the site of a Soviet-era hotel, and its still somewhat austere glass tower rises on a bluff overlooking Mktvari River, which winds through the city center. Guest rooms have great views of Tbilisi from either side of the building, and — naturally — those on the higher floors are the most desirable. From the standard accommodations (323 square feet) to the executive suite (1184 square feet), the hotel offers a range of styles and sizes (249 total) to suit all needs, including the sixteenth floor devoted solely to business class rooms. In addition, there are three business rooms and one junior suite on each of the other floors.
Among the room amenities, guests will find conventionally stocked mini-bars and free coffee, tea and hot chocolate paired with an electric kettle. TVs offer several English-speaking channels, and Wi-Fi is free throughout the property. The attractive, thoroughly modern rooms, done in clean whites with subdued accent colors, also feature glass-walled bathrooms (WCs are separate) with Anne Semonin products.
The Anne Semonin experience continues at the spa, which has nine private treatment rooms, solariums, a fitness center and an enclosed infinity pool spread over two levels on the hotel's top two floors. Also on the rooftop, the Oxygen Bar boasts views of the city ... though the name is a little misleading, as smoking is allowed in this glass-enclosed area.
The first-floor Filini Restaurant, which serves Italian food, has a pleasant open-air terrace. A comprehensive buffet breakfast is served in the restaurant every morning, with myriad dishes to please European and American as well as regional palates. Room service from this kitchen is available 24/7.
A third dining venue, the Surface Bar, is located on the ground floor, and offers international pub-style food. Also on the ground floor, the oft-used conference space (a mingling area, ballroom and nine meeting rooms) is supported by competent, multi-lingual staff both behind the scenes and at the lobby desks. As with the rest of the hotel, the meeting rooms with views are the most notable.
While this hotel offers all of the expected facilities, it also breaks from the norm, with its own casino and an art gallery that showcases Georgian artists. But as with any hotel stay, it doesn't matter how beautiful or comprehensive a lodging is, if the employees aren't up to par. Fortunately, that's not the case at the Radisson Blu. The check-in staff is qualified to help with the numerous requests it receives from its multi-national guests, and service is detail oriented — case in point: a card printed in English and Georgian that says "Please bring me back to the hotel" for guests who end up in an area of the city with signs only in the local language. As for those who enjoy their stay, this card can also serve as a "note to self" — a reminder to return the next time they are in Tbilisi.
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