Location & Check-In
The hotel is located in a small side-valley near the main ski resort for the 2014 Winter Olympics. It is owned by Gazprom, which also operates a ski-resort close by (which however struggles with a relatively low altitude and absolutely non-demanding runs compared to the other areas around Krasnaya Polyana). The whole place is huge, consisting of two major hotel blocks and various large winter cottages which can be rented separately. Surrounded by solid-wall fences it feels more like a fortress than a resort. We believe that the whole place is not really run to attract guests – they seem to be mainly unwanted elements disturbing a far bigger and more important arrangement of matters. That theme reflected our entire, consequently brief stay.
First and foremost: do never set a foot in Block A – you will remain depressed for your entire stay. Although recently built, the mix of materials, “design” and “representative” elements is a delirious mixture of make-belief splendor, Baikonur and Alice in Wonderland Russian-style. No, no, no! Block B is more contemporary and ok for a couple of days. The rooms are equipped with all necessary amenities, however, overly large, giving the comparatively scarcity of furnishings. Bathrooms are modern but have design-wise absolutely unbearable shower partitions, you have to see to appreciate.
Yes, Grand Hotel Polyanna offers food, too … but a coffee or any other welcome was not volunteered to us. Never mind, you will not leave the place hungry … which sums it up nicely.
The key challenge given the size of the place is orientation. Whereas Block A (again to be avoided) is effectively a labyrinth, the spa & leisure facilities in Block B are more integrated and overall finding your way is hence easier. Restaurant areas are overall extremely sizable and feel empty except maybe during peak season over New Years and extended holiday weekends when snow conditions are perfect.
Overall Value & Rating
Ok – it is big and attempts to be a five-star. The rooms are ok as are the facilities. But does that make you wanna go there and eventually come back? GI team has its doubts. The overriding theme of “not-welcome” here, despite occasional but rare bright spots with staff interaction, are a clear deterrent. The Radisson a couple of kilometers down the valley is much more personable, with friendly and more motivated staff. The Grand Hotel Polyana has a good advertising approach, the photo with the woman on the balcony wearing a white bath-robe overlooking the snowy peaks got us intrigued for the place, but it felt more like the Siberian tundra – cold, windy and not very livable…