From my perspective, Warsaw (Warszawa) currently is one of the fastest growing European capitals, however, it deserves a visit not only because here one can observe how faceless five-storey buildings have given way to state-of-the-art skyscrapers, but also because of a couple of beautiful palace complexes, a royal castle, and the delightful Old Town rebuilt by varsovians brick by brick after the Second World War. In addition to the above, the city is good for shopping, and the cost of accommodation even in five-star hotels is rather attractive, and one can afford to stay at Marriott and Sheraton for rather a small amount of money.
What Area is the Best to Stay in Warsaw?
Warsaw Central Railway Station Area
The majority of Warsaw five-star hotels are located near the central railway station (Wraszawa-Centralna). From my point of view, this area is the most suitable place to stay in Warsaw: there is a great choice of the hotels and the station is within reach, thus, one has an chance to set off for Krakow or Torun, moreover, it will take you no more than 20 minutes to get to the Old Town, walking along the old Royal Route, with a large number of picturesque and remarkable architectural sites. At the station, there is a travel information stand (in Warsaw these stands just sell maps, guides, various souvenirs, and render information on the city). The fact that the huge Złote Tarasy mall is located here is an additional advantage (inside there is a zillion of stores selling cosmetics, clothes, shoes, and other necessary things, as well as an excellent supermarket, and to the delight of a sweet tooth – a wide range of coffee shops with cakes). I have already mentioned the main bonus of staying there – the most attractive prices for five-star hotels, one can book a suite in such hotels like Radisson SAS – Jan III Sobieski with a terrific breakfast for Eur 120-130 (even on the New Year’s eve). You won’t hear either noise from the station, or from the transport junction, located nearby – all modern hotels are furnished with soundproofing, and the only time I heard a slight noise in Warsaw was on the New Year`s eve, when the central streets where crowded with people setting off fireworks, and the salute thundered. Even if you are a fault-finder, you won’t find any significant drawbacks of this location – except that the windows do not overlook the Old City, nevertheless, the Intercontinental Warszawa can boast a mesmerizing scene from the windows, either Stalin's high-rise, or the triumph of modern architecture. Also, in the vicinity of the station, I can recommend such hotels as Warsaw Marriott Hotel and Mercure Warszawa Centrum.
The area between the central railway station and the Vistula River on the booking sites is often referred to as Srodmiescie (Śródmieście). First and foremost, this area is remarkable, because it has saved the Warsaw architecture of the first half of the twentieth century. It is convenient to get to the station from there (about a 10-12 minute walk) and as well as to the Old Town (about 15 minutes). Besides, there are a lot of shops in the Marszalkowska Street (Ulica Marszałkowska) and a large pedestrian part. Here you can choose the H15 Boutique, for example, or the Between Us Bed and Breakfast. Here is a huge choice of accommodation one can rent; thus, it is convenient for big groups and families to stay here for a long time. A typical apartment in Warsaw is generally quite spacious with a couple bedrooms and a kitchen, equipped with everything you need, including a washing machine, and often a dishwasher. However, not all the apartments have a private parking area, so if you are traveling by car, you should contact the owners well in advance to ask where you can park the car. Out of the nice options I’d advise to pay attention to the Residence St. Andrew's Palace apartment complex.
In addition, on the Warsaw map you can highlight a neighborhood, which was set up along the Royal Route – the path between the Royal Castle and the Lazienki summer residence. Strictly speaking, it is also Srodmiescie, but if the above-mentioned area is homely and traditional, the streets of Krakowskoe przedmestie (Krakowskie Przedmieście) are lined with solid palaces and majestic churches. The street itself is a landmark and is a part of all the Warsaw tourist routes, besides, if you stay here, it will be easy to look around not only the Warsaw Old Town, but also its suburbs (Lazienki, Wilanów). The station is not far from here (just 15 minutes away). A lot of night clubs, restaurants are concentrated there, as well as shops; thus, you can always find some social life, if you are already fed up with the museums and churches. A special perk is a large number of bus stops for you to get to any part of the city. If your travel budget is not limited, it is definitely worth paying attention to probably the most pompous Warsaw hotel – Bristol Warsaw as well as Sofitel Warsaw Victoria. Though, there are also less luxurious options – for example, the Royal Route Residence apartment complex.
Warsaw Historical Center
The most beautiful and authentic place to stay in Warsaw – this is for sure, the Old Town (Stare Miasto). It was rebuilt after the Second World War bombings just as it had been in the XV–XVIth centuries. Local streets with densely placed houses are similar to lacquered snuffboxes – multicolored, intricate, and tiny. It is a pleasure to take a stroll here in the evenings, after the crowd of tourists has thinned. Other pluses of staying in the Warsaw historical center include the following: the sights are within reach, extended tourist infrastructure (cafes, restaurants, and souvenir shops), most probably rooms with a fantastic view, and authenticity – the buildings have a medieval look, though they have been recently restored. However, the latter can be considered a disadvantage for those who are accustomed to spacious hotel rooms.
Though, you’d better keep in mind that you cannot get to the Old Town by car, so you will have to drag your heavy luggage along the cobblestone road, and, if there is no elevator in the hotel, to lift it upstairs. It may also turn out that the nearest parking lot is some streets away from your hotel (though, if you contact the hotel, you can try to find a security parking area located nearby). The disadvantages of the Old Town hotels also include constant noise from under the windows both from storefronts or street musicians, and from tourist groups – thus, if you have sleep problems, take ear muffs with you. In particular, you may pay attention to a small hotel Castle Inn. Some pretty apartments such as Warsaw Old Town Apartment and Duval Serviced Apartments are also located in the winding streets of the Old Town.
Lazienki Palace Complex Neighborhood
If it is not your first time in Warsaw and you have seen all the sites, it may be worth paying attention to the area near the Lazienki palace complex (Łazienki Królewskie) to the South-East from the center. There are not so many tourists as in the Old Town, and it is much easier to find a parking place, and you can spend a lot of time in the park, walking around and admiring the peacocks and pavilions, or just going for a jog. Given the fact that the park is a bit removed from the center, it is logical that this area is preferred by those who move around the city and its surroundings by car. As to the local hotels, I’d be on the safe side if I recommend Hyatt Regency Warsaw and to those who prefer quite family hotels – Rezydencja Belweder-Klonowa.
Warsaw Airport Surroundings
In conclusion, I can’t help saying a few words about the hotels in the Warsaw airport area. LOT, the Polish airlines, often offers cheap flights to numerous European cities with a stopover in Warsaw. And it is possible to buy tickets with a night stopover. This is a good chance to take a rest between the flights and have a look at the city. Thus, the following is quite a viable option: after arrival to Warsaw you can stay in the airport hotels and spend the rest of the day in the Polish capital, and the next day you can continue the journey. Hotels near the airports tend to be equipped with excellent soundproofing, and the rooms have everything the tourist needs: an iron and an ironing board, a kettle with tea paraphernalia, and often even a pool. If we talk about the Warsaw airport, I’d advise you to pay attention to the Courtyard by Marriott Warsaw Airport Hotel.