After being dropped around the corner by my taxi, I’m greeted by a porter before I make my way to the entrance, which starts my stay in the right fashion. I’m escorted to the quiet reception area, handed a welcome drink and checked in. Before I know it, I’m in the lift on the way up to my room.
I arrive on a Saturday afternoon, and it’s eerily quiet on the surrounding streets. There are a few stragglers making their way towards Bratislava Port, which is a few minutes’ walk from the property. Set on the Danube River, the port area is home to waterside cafes (some serving shisha), restaurants and a shopping mall. In the other direction is the historical district. The airport is a 15-minute drive away.
I’m staying in a 70-square-metre executive suite, with a separate living area and additional sitting area. The room is comfortable enough and has plenty of windows. The bathroom is of a good size, but the shower isn’t the best, and the decor feels tired. The building dates from 1902 and was reconstructed in 2008, but I feel like it could do with another freshen up, in keeping with the historical art nouveau style.
Friendly from the get-go and extremely helpful. Whenever I ask for anything or make a special request, I’m attended to promptly. I’m warmly greeted each time I leave and arrive back at the hotel. At meal times, the staff are intuitive to my needs, without hovering.
For most of my two-night stay, it feels like the hotel is empty, although I’m assured it’s not. On the first evening, I’m the only guest dining at the restaurant, which is a little odd, but I get the full attention of the waiter. The breakfast experience is entirely different – when I arrive at 8am, the cafe is full of what appear to be older European tourists.
Tulip House has two dining options. Rhapsody is located in a cosy vault space downstairs, while Café Tulip offers all-day dining. I enjoy a full buffet breakfast (€20 [Dh80]) in Rhapsody on the first morning. It’s a basic selection, including cereals, cold meats and cheeses, fruits, yogurt and toast station. An omelette from the à la carte menu and a cappuccino are both delivered promptly. Dinner is at Café Tulip, where I’m the only guest. I opt for a three-course menu, which is superb. For my starter, I choose beef bresaola served with lettuce, roasted beetroot with balsamic and horseradish dip (€8.50 [Dh32]). My main is a well-cooked grilled corn-fed chicken breast and risotto with sugar snap peas and wild garlic pesto (€13.80 [Dh56]). Both dishes are tasty, but the dish of the night has to be the vanilla pannacotta with strawberry tartar (€4.40 [Dh18]).
The location, and that the hotel feels quite homely, thanks to the warmth and friendliness of the staff.
The hotel feels a little tired, and I wasn’t able to try the spa because it was fully booked.
A central hotel not too far from the sights. Suitable for business and leisure travellers.
The bottom line
Executive suites at the Tulip House Boutique Hotel (www.tuliphousehotel.com) cost from €130 (Dh528) per room per night including breakfast, taxes and Wi-Fi.