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RADISSON BLU IVERIA Tbilisi, Georgia


SLAP BANG RIGHT IN THE middle of the city, this hotel makes a statement, a thumbs up in mirrored glass and minimalistic decor between a majestic curve in the Mtkvari River and the main street, Rustaveli Avenue, of the capital. The public areas have had a makeover in the last year or so in that signature Scandi-like-style that you expect from Radisson. Forget clutter, cornices and hospitality claptrap. This is stylish and cool. By Nick Easen


WHERE IS IT? You really could not be more central to the urban life of the Caucasus here, yet it’s just under half-an-hour by taxi from Tbilisi International Airport. The good thing is that Georgia’s capital is a very walkable city, step out from this spot and it’s easy to explore; equally it’s accessible for meetings with local Georgians. WHAT’S IT LIKE? The Radisson Blu Iveria is well considered and thought out, from local papers opposite the front desk to the Georgian food corner in the breakfast bar, serving khachapuri, cheese-stuffed bread and churchkhela, candle-shaped grape and walnut confectionary. When I checked in, the hotel


was busy, which I suspect, is testament to the popularity of this establishment. The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe delegation were basing themselves here for election monitoring. However, it’s also used a lot for meetings by big global brands, such as Sanofi, Audi, Uni Pharm, Kaspersky Lab, BMW, Audi and Bentley. The double height and long


lobby area is impressive; it was only renovated in 2017-2018. This is not an intimate space, but one designed to impress, as are the


views from the Iveria Terrace looking out over the river and the skyline of downtown Tbilisi. ROOMS There are 249 rooms in total. The hotel told me it’s the largest number of premium accommodation quarters in the capital. The rooms make the most of the views looking north or south along the Mtkvari River, with floor-to-ceiling glass and couches strategically placed to enjoy the city lights. Good minimalist design complements the spaces well. There’s a rooftop pool, 62 connecting rooms and ten with wheelchair access. BUSINESS Let’s just say it’s well equipped. The ballroom is impressive; there are 12 meeting rooms in total and the hotel can cater for up to 400 people. You can tell the hotel crew are used to managing big meetings. There’s even a separate three-storey event hall, called Republic, across the road for larger conferences. VERDICT As a travel manager looking to book a spot in Tbilisi, this impressive hotel is a very strong contender. It’s uber- professional, there are a lot of facilities, they’re serious about business travel and Georgian hospitality is legendary It rubs off on you at this Radisson hotel, too.


Iveria Terrace


looking out over the river and


downtown Tbilisi THE RITZ-CARLTON Berlin


THE RITZ-CARLTON, BERLIN was built in 2004 and offers a stylish stay in a very modern area in the heart of the city. There’s a small gym and pool, plus a sauna and steam room for weary business travellers. By Matthew Parsons


WHERE IS IT? The Ritz-Carlton lies at the heart of Potsdamer Platz, near one of Berlin’s largest parks, the Tiergarten. It forms part of the Beisheim-Center complex, a “contemporary interpretation of the European city with its blocks, streets and squares”. That means lots of glass buildings, and little soul, but in the immediate area you’re a five-minute walk from the historic Brandenburg Gate, and a short stroll to the more down-to-earth Kreuzberg district with its street art, graffiti, Turkish restaurants and cafes. WHAT’S IT LIKE? I stayed during the GBTA European Conference, and many of the delegates I talked to commented on how fortunate I was to be staying in one of the best hotels in the city. It’s a large property, with 303 rooms, and during late November I saw an even split of business/leisure guests staying here. An atmospheric Christmas


tree installation ceremony was taking place when I arrived, with guests and staff mingling over champagne. With a packed GBTA agenda, there was, unfortunately, no time to visit The Lounge, which offers snacks and afternoon tea (2-6pm) with piano music. Nor did we try the Fragrances bar, which serves cocktails based on perfume and aromas. However, the bartenders were entertaining


buyingbusinesstravel.com


at The Curtain Club bar where we sampled the cocktails. ROOMS I stayed in a Deluxe Stadtblick Room on the 9th floor, and it ticked all the 5-star boxes. I liked the modern design, low lighting, peacefulness and above all space (40 sqm). There was a deep marble bath, and separate shower and toilet cabins. The only minor problem was no shampoo, but after a quick phone call to the concierge it was delivered within minutes. The 10th and 11th floors are reserved for Ritz-Carlton Club guests, and it’s dubbed a “hotel within a hotel”. BUSINESS The hotel offers 1,800 sqm of meeting and banquet space, a large ballroom that holds 900 people, plus six additional meeting rooms and a boardroom. All the rooms have LCD projectors, stereo systems and overhead/ slide projectors. There’s a dedicated business centre. During the GBTA Conference, this property was where the GBTA board members chose to stay, which speaks volumes. VERDICT The hotel was designed to resemble an Art Deco high-rise. It’s a class act with great staff and attention to detail. It’s got an excellent reputation in the business travel community and, with Tegel airport 25 minutes by taxi and Schonefeld 30 minutes away, there’s really little to fault.


2019 JANUARY/FEBRUARY 149


Deluxe Stadtblick room


HOTEL


HOTEL


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