This is the third in an eleven-part series covering my June/July 2019 trip to Slovenia and Venice. You can read my last post, covering the flight on Adria Airways from Copenhagen to Ljubljana, here.
I spent a total of six days in Slovenia, with four days based in the Ljubljana area and two on the Adriatic coast. For my time in Ljubljana, I spent two days focused on the city itself, and stayed at the Intercontinental Ljubljana in downtown those two nights. For my other two nights, when I had a rental car, I stayed at the Four Points in the suburbs. It worked out fine, but I think it would also have worked out fine to stay at the Intercontinental the whole time, as there was cheap public parking nearby. In this post, I’ll review the Intercontinental, which for the most part was wonderful, except for one major problem and one minor one.
The Intercontinental is a fairly new hotel located in the business district of Ljubljana. That said, downtown Ljubljana is not very large at all, and it is a short, 10-minute walk down Slovenska cesta, the main artery of the city, to the car-free Old Town. Indeed, I didn’t use any transportation other than my feet in my two days in the city. The city’s main bus lines all stop right outside the hotel, and the hotel is also very close to the bus and train stations.
One thing that I noted about this hotel was that when I first went to book about nine months before my stay, rates were very high – close to 300 Euros a night. As it got closer, though, rates dropped significantly, and I ended up booking a prepaid rate of about 150 Euros per night.
The hotel is one of the tallest buildings in town, and also one of the newest and most modern. It took about 20 minutes in the Go Opti shuttle from the hotel, and I stepped inside the small lobby. Check-in was easy and friendly, and I was offered my choice of points or a drink as my IHG Rewards Club platinum amenity. As an Intercontinental Ambassador, I was told I had been upgraded to a corner Club room on one of the highest floors (sans club access).
Due to the shape of the hotel, there are not a lot of rooms on each floor. The room was really nice- super-modern and in great condition. You walked in and there was a corridor with a massive bathroom on the right, followed by a closet, before stepping into the main room. The main room wasn’t super large, but felt open and spacious with floor-to-ceiling windows on two sides. The layout was a little odd since it was a corner room, as the television was on a dresser to the left of the bed, and it wouldn’t have been able to watch it from the bed. In front of the bed was a single armchair, end table, and a floor lamp. I imagine in non-corner rooms, the position of these two items may be switched. Next to the dresser was a minibar setup, with two large bottles of mineral water which were replaced daily as one of my Ambassador amenities, as well as coffee and tea making facilities. The minibar was fairly full, but there was some room for items I purchased at the small Mercator supermarket across the street.
To the right of the bed was a desk and desk chair. On it, a welcome letter outlining my Ambassador amenities as well as a large souvenir chocolate was waiting. This was my first stay at an Intercontinental since the fruit plate benefit was replaced with a food and beverage credit. It hadn’t been mentioned at check in, but it was on the welcome letter.
The bathroom was beautiful and massive, with a freestanding soaking tub, a stall shower, and a separate water closet. It had Chopard toiletries, which was a nice change from the Agraria lemon verbena that I usually see at Intercontinentals. Unlike many Intercontinentals, though, there was not a box of toiletry items (I.e., swabs, emery board, shoe shining kit, etc.).
Now for the major bad thing. Remember how I mentioned the floor-to-ceiling windows? Well, it was very sunny in Ljubljana and good god was the room warm. The air conditioning didn’t really do anything, and I ended up just closing the drapes around the room for almost my entire stay….and it still was uncomfortably hot. I ended up waking up in the middle of the nights drenched in sweat. The windows did provide some really great views though.
I used more services at the hotel than typical. For dinner on my first night, I approached the Concierge, as I hadn’t made a reservation and it was a Saturday night. He gave me several recommendations, and told me to drop his name if they didn’t have a table for me. (The recommendation was good, but I’ll cover that in my next post.) The gym was really nice, on the 18th Floor with 270 degrees of floor to ceiling windows. Great views, but, again, really warm. There was a very good range of weight, resistance, and cardio equipment.
On the same floor was the “rooftop” pool. I put it in quotes, because when I hear rooftop, I assume outdoor, i.e., with no roof above it. This was an indoor pool, and it was fairly small. There was also a whirlpool, sauna, and steam room. It was all very nice and relaxing to enjoy for a bit after a long day of sightseeing… until other people and their children arrived. Oh, well.
The hotel had a true rooftop restaurant and bar, so I figured I’d go for a sunset cocktail and use my 15 EUR F&B credit before dinner one night. I allowed about 40 minutes for that before I had to leave for my dinner reservation, and I thought that, at a hotel bar, that would mean I could get 1 or 2 drinks.
When you get off on that level, there’s a restaurant on one side, and a bar on the other. The bar, “B Tempted,” has indoor and outdoor portions. There was no one inside, though the outside was fairly busy. There were plenty of seats, though, so I took a table and waited for a bit- taking in a really great view.
I waited awhile before a waiter came over with the menu. The signature cocktails were 9,50 EUR each, so I figured I’d get one or two and use my credit. But it was a long wait before I could get the waiter to place my order, and then a realllllly long wait for my drink. I was brought some peanuts and water while I waited, but it was more than thirty minutes after I sat down that I actually got my “Bee’s Knees” cocktail. I asked for the check immediately, and that took a while, so I ended up guzzling my drink and going inside to pay. I was worried I’d be late for dinner, but since I walk at the speed of a gay, I was only about five minutes late. The cocktail was good, but it should never take 30 minutes for one drink at a hotel bar.
At checkout, I had to ask for the food and beverage credit to be applied, and, absent the tip, it was. I was going to pick up a car at Sixt, and the agent offered to call Sixt and have them bring the car over. It turns out I had booked the wrong Sixt location (another story we will get to later), but I appreciated the effort.
In all, the hotel was very nice, although I would avoid a corner room in the summer. It’s a true luxury hotel, and the rate I paid was not very expensive. The location was great. I would definitely stay there again.