This is the sixth in an eleven-part series covering my June/July 2019 trip to Slovenia and Venice. You can read my last post, covering Lake Bled, Lake Bohinj, and Skocjan Caves, here.
There are only two hotels affiliated with the big international chains in the Ljubljana area: the Intercontinental, where I spent my first two nights, and the Four Points by Sheraton Ljubljana Mons. The Four Points is west of the city center, and not well-located for sightseeing in the city itself, though it’s only about a ten-minute drive from the center. Since I planned on using it for just a base for trips around central Slovenia, and there was free parking, I figured I’d give it a shot.
I booked my stay using Marriott points. Even though the cash rate was only around 150 EUR, the reward rate was only 12,500 points a night, which I figured was a good deal, giving me more than one cent per point in value. In addition, you can book a “Business” room, which is the hotel’s more expensive room category, for the same amount of points as the base room.
In all, my stay was fine. But it was very much a bare-bones, frill-free Four Points. It is undergoing renovation which may make it a more interesting place in the future.
The hotel is right next to a major freeway, although getting to/from the highway is confusing enough I made the same wrong turn twice. The immediate vicinity doesn’t have much- just a huge warehouse store. There are a bunch of office parks nearby as well.
When I stayed, the hotel was also undergoing massive construction. There are signs and renderings all over the place talking about the “new” hotel, which looks more contemporary. Practically, this meant the entire front entrance was blocked off, as the driveway and parking area are totally ripped up. I proceeded to a lower parking area, then went in a side entrance that entailed going up an escalator one level, then steps or an elevator up to the ground level, where check-in is located.
At check-in, I was thanked for being a Platinum member, and given my choice of breakfast or points as a welcome amenity. Although there were three categories of rooms above Business, I was not upgraded to any of them, which was disappointing.
The hotel has three long straight floors, with the hallways around glass atria, either going down to the lobby, or outside.
My room on the third floor was very basic. What made it a “business” room was a desk, which, oddly, did not have easily accessible power outlets, and a free minibar – with some juices and Pepsis. There was also a Cremesso coffeemaker and a standard hot water kettle, and two bottles of water. While I was out on day 2, housekeeping restocked my minibar and waters. Otherwise, it was a small, basic, bland room, that could have been in a suburban office park in Kansas.
The bathroom just had a stall shower, with some random individual toiletries and then pumps in the shower.
There was a little welcome amenity waiting for me, consisting of a branded chocolate, a pear, and peanuts. Not sure if this was for all guests or just elites, but it was a nice touch in an otherwise personality-free room. My room had a view of the “forest.”
Because I arrived fairly late in the day, I didn’t feel like venturing out into the suburban area to find food, so figured I’d eat at the hotel. The main floor has a fancy restaurant, called Atrium, as well as lobby seating in an atrium area, and a bar/more casual dining space right next to the check-in counter.
It was still light out, and didn’t need a huge meal, so I sat outside on the patio, which probably is nicer when the construction isn’t going on, but it was better than sitting in the lobby. I had a serviceable chicken club sandwich and a beer.
I didn’t stay up late, as the wi-fi was not great. In the morning, I checked out the gym. On my way, I passed a foosball table and a pool table, and I realized the hotel reminded me a lot of my dorm when I studied abroad in Denmark.
The gym was fine for a hotel of this caliber, though a weird use of space, with a massive empty room for stretching, and a room about the same size with all of the equipment in it. There was a decent range of equipment, but it was not well-maintained. One problem was that it was insanely warm in the gym, with the temperature at 27 degrees Celsius – more than 81 degrees Fahrenheit. The stretching mats were absolutely filthy, covered in brown dust/dirt. Weights were strewn all over the place, and remained that way throughout my stay. There were a lot of hand weights, and a bench press – with not that many plates, unfortunately. There was also a stereo with cassette player that I think I wanted in high school. Not luxurious by any means, but got the job done. (There is also a sauna, if you call down an hour ahead.)
Breakfast is served from 6:30 to 10:00am in a dedicated space near the parking lot entry. The layout looked like a suburban buffet or banquet hall, with a very big buffet area and then just rows of seating. There was a seating area marked off for “Bonvoy” members, but I wasn’t directed there and there was plenty of other seating.
There was an omelet station, as well as tons of hot dishes pre-made- waffles, sausage, eggs, etc. There was also a cold buffet with meats, cheeses, fruits, yogurts, pastries, etc. One thing I noticed was that there was a ton of staff, although it was unclear what they were all doing. There was a “bar,” but it was unclear what it was being used for.
On my second evening, I explored a bit of the area around the hotel. I drove over to the Vic Center, a small mall, on my way back from the Technical Museum. It was realllly small, with not many stores. There was an Interspar, though, which was like a cross between a Wal-Mart and a Spar supermarket. It was only a seven-minute drive back to the hotel. For dinner, I went to Azur Trattoria, about a five-minute drive from the hotel, which was surprisingly packed and huge. It had a very large menu of pastas, pizzas, burgers, etc., and, despite being in a residential area, had a lot of English-speaking clientele. Service was pretty poor, but the food was fine and reasonably priced.
My check-out experience was pleasant, although I found this note on my car when I got there, indicating I wasn’t supposed to park there without a guest permit. You’d think the hotel check-in would mention that, since there is no conceivable way of staying at this property without a car.
In all, I don’t think I’d stay here again. The Intercontinental was only about 25 Eur more a night and was both a much nicer hotel, but much closer to all the charm that Ljubljana has to offer. Municipal parking lots in the city are not that expensive either. That said, the stay was fine. It did make me think that Four Points really should all become Courtyards as there really is no distinct brand identity, and they serve a similar market segment.
Next up: my 2 days on the Slovenian coast.