“A Theater Rather than Strip Club” – Trip Report Premier Palace Hotel Kiev

by Adam

The Premier Palace Hotel in Kiev was definitely one of my more interesting hotel stays. Believe it or not, four and five star hotels in Kiev are extremely pricey, especially during the summer high-season. This is the final part of a twelve part trip report from my travels to Kiev, Vienna, Tel Aviv, and Kraków. This trip report covers the Premier Palace Hotel.

Here are the prices for some of the more popular hotels in Kiev during my stay (per night):

  • Hyatt Regency Kiev $514
  • Intercontinental $458
  • Fairmont Grand Hotel Kyiv $372
  • Radisson Blu Hotel Podil was $329
  • Radisson Blu Hotel Kiev was $312

I opted for a more “local experience” at the Premier Palace hotel, a Hotels.com Welcome Rewards partner where I could burn some points . The Premier Palace was pricing at $332  per night.

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The Premier Palace is old school with what I can best describe as “classic” Eastern European luxury. At all times there is a doorman holding open the entrance door and bellman ready to assist.

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Check-in – Not overly warm and friendly but extremely efficient. I asked for an upgrade and was told that I had already been placed in a room with a king bed rather than the double I had reserved. They were not open to having a discussion of available room types 😉 . They did however run down the in-house benefits which were extensive: free wifi, complimentary access to the gym, olympic pool, spa, breakfast, and VIP access to the casino and cabaret.

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Speaking of the cabaret, I loved these adds all over the lobby and inside the elevator: “A Theater Rather than a Strip Club”. The special elevator leading to the “cabaret” had a beautiful (but strong looking) Ukrainian woman standing in front of it within the lobby from about 4pm – 5am. She did not smile or speak and waited for potential clients to approach. Similarly, the casino had 2 young ladies and 2 security guards standing outside its entrance at all times – 24 hours a day…strange to see as I was finishing up breakfast early morning. Luxury cars visiting for the night were parked on the sidewalk in front of the hotel starting around 6pm.

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During week two (see KLM economy link above…quick trip back to NYC), I ended up having to play room roulette as the prior guest in my first room had obviously not observed the no smoking rules. I had never smelled such a strong smoke odor in a hotel room and I had just stayed in the same room only two days earlier. It worked to my benefit though as I ended up with another king room but this time with a fantastic balcony overlooking the entire city.

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The decor of the room and my balcony really reminded me of my stay at the Westin Excelsior in Rome. It was supposed to feel like an old palace and it truly did. Of course, that meant traditional rather than modern furnishings (besides the flat-screen) and a comforter.  Like the Westin, it also resulted in outlets quite far from the bed. However, the wifi in this hotel (and Ukraine in general) was fantastic, some of the fastest I’ve experienced in a hotel.

The bathrooms were really nice with heated floors and towel racks, L’Occitane products replaced daily, and an extremely strong shower. Two water bottles were provided in the bathroom as well as two additional in the bedroom each day (still some concerns with the tap).

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Breakfast was served in the Terracotta Restaurant upstairs and was pretty impressive – omelet station, vegie station, full sushi station, fruit bar, smoothies, yogurt, pastries, salmon wraps, chicken and meat dishes, french toast, pancakes, etc.

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One more floor up is the rooftop Atmosfera restaurant and lounge. It’s one of the top rated restaurants and bars in Kiev and also provides amazing views. They have an open aquarium to choose your seafood from and a DJ spinning tunes…and how can it be bad with Michael Bolton and Adam Lambert as past guests?

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The pool was really nicely done and there were several guests who took advantage of it each night. The gym (also opened to the public as a private club) was filled with brand new equipment and personal trainers (all ex military or boxers), very impressive for a hotel gym.

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The staff may not have smiled much, but they were excellent and always proactively looking around to assist guests with luggage, directions, or recommendations. Each time I stepped off the elevator there was someone waiting to see if I needed assistance with my bag.

In terms of history, the hotel website states “The history of the Premier Palace Hotel is inseparably connected to the city of Kyiv, in essence and in atmosphere. The original buildings on the site where the Premier Palace Hotel stands today were erected in the mid-19th century. The site itself included two properties. One of the properties, now bul. Shevchenka 5, belonged to Prince Dimitri Zhevakhov, a colonel in the Russian Cavalry whose family roots went back to the legendary Kartlos, a hero from the Caucasus region and leader of the Georgian people. Kartlos was the great-grandson of the Biblical Japheth, the third son of Noah. The second property, at the corner of the boulevard and vul. Pushkinska, was owned by the Hertzovich–Mirkins, a family of merchants.”

So, if you are planning a stay in Kiev, want great service and a 4-5 star property, and an extremely central location, the Premier Palace is definitely a solid option. …and just remember it’s A Theater Rather than a Strip Club.

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