A Grand Stay at the Grand Hotel River Park in Bratislava, Slovakia
Down the Danube from Vienna, and a train ride away from Budapest, in Slovakia, is a lovely little city called Bratislava. The capitol of Slovakia. I didn’t know what to expect from the city that hosts so many stag do and hen parties, aka bachelor and bachelorette parties, but I was excited. Bratislava, known to be a great night out and extremely cheap, was a place I had to visit and see what it had to offer, and I’m happy I did. I came in on a train from Poland and went right to the hotel to check in and then explore the hotel, and the cute little city!
I stayed at the beautiful Grand Hotel River Park. The property is exquisite and truly Grand. The name fits the description very well. I do love Marriott Bonvoy properties and this one is just another Marriott Bonvoy loyalty hotel that has done it right. It’s centrally located, and a 10-15 min walk into town. It has lovely views of the Danube and “Most SNP” or (UFO bridge) and the rooms and interior are just divine! I stayed in a huge suite that felt like a room in a palace. The plush bed and beautiful décor inside the room, along with an extra-large marble bathroom immaculately set up and clean, made me feel like I was truly living large. “Aren’t we lucky people?” I thought, as my friends and I enjoyed complimentary chocolate and champagne, in the massive suite.
The beds were so lush and comfortable, and the view we had over the Danube was stunning. I knew it was going to be a great stay no matter what, just by being able to stay at that hotel. The staff were amazing as well, with providing us with so many options, to knowing our names, and making sure every detail of our stay was up to expectations.
The beds were so amazing! I loved our rooms here!
The buffet breakfast and Sunday brunch is very special and one of the best I’ve ever had. I couldn’t stop with the photos. The vibe here on Sunday is also great with hotel guests and locals alike enjoying the drinks, music, and hospitality. The fitness center was truly the biggest I’ve seen in a hotel, and the spa was beautiful. The pool in the evening with its lights were incredible. This is truly the very best place to stay in Bratislava. Like I said, you won’t need taxis into town either, as it’s a lovely short stroll down the river walk.
As for what to do in Bratislava? Well, it’s a smaller city compared to some other European capitals, so there isn’t a ton to see and do, but just enough to enjoy while also enjoying the relaxation of staying in The Grand Hotel.
You can take a walk up to Bratislava Castle, (although you can also get incredible photos from the river walk). I suggest walking by it during the night and then, in the day time. It’s a beautiful baroque castle, originally built in the 9th century, and then reconstructed in the late 60’s. It’s a castle and museum and shows of Bratislava and Slovakia’s history. There are great views from the top and you don’t need too much time exploring it.
Devin Castle is another castle outside of Bratislava that is mostly castle ruins. The architecture on that was of gothic style and to me looks more castle like. You can take a cab or bus to this one, as it’s just a 20-min ride and offers history and more great views of the Danube. In the summer I’m told you can do wine tours, and that it truly has the best view of the Danube River.
While walking into town from The Grand Hotel, you will pass by “Most SNP” which is a bridge with a UFO looking dome at the top that holds a great restaurant and bar that offers the best views of the city. You can call it UFO Bridge and the locals will know what you mean.
My favorite part of Bratislava was Church of St. Elizabeth. It’s an adorable blue church that looks like a wedding cake. Weird, right? It’s blue and white and the decoration reminds you of a cake. Check the photos and you can see what I mean. Some people call it blue church here, but it’s worth taking a peek and getting a nice photo. The inside is just as adorable. Very quaint, but so cute.
Another very popular site for photos, is the “man at work” statue. It’s a little bronze man in the road looking like he’s peeking out of working in the sewer. It’s a great spot for a nice photo and really popular among visitors.
Other sites to see in Bratislava are Primate’s Palace, Michael’s Gate, St. Martin’s Cathedral, Roland Fountain, Grassalkovich Palace (very pretty), and a handful of museums.
The old town is adorable to walk though, very pretty, colorful, and doesn’t take too much time. I feel you could really see most everything in one full day of site seeing. Maybe two if you don’t want to be rushed and like to just enjoy a place. There are a bunch of cute coffee shops and cafes for lunch in the old town. There is also a really good ramen spot that all the locals love. It was amazing. I really enjoyed just walking around the city because when I was there, it was obviously winter, so it was pretty chilly, but I loved that I had the place to myself a bit more than other tourist crammed places. There are a lot of cute little statues to get photos with. There is also cool artwork and sculptures on the river walk near the hotel.
If you love nightlife, this is also an amazing city as the drinks are super cheap, the clubs go late, and the people here are very friendly and very open. You can come, and have the best time letting your hair down, without worry or judgement. It’s an adult playground going bar and club hoping. Below is a list of the bars, clubs, and restaurants I would recommend. By the way, don’t fear what some clubs look like on the outside, many are in basements, but this is normal. Also, try the orange wine and some Slovakian beer. Have some cash with you as well, as most places don’t accept cards, but not to worry most staff can speak English and can let you know where an ATM is if needed.
Bratislava Bars, Clubs, and Restaurants to choose from;
Drink in Gallery Andy, Sub club, (an old military bunker), Lemon Tree and Sky Bar, Vinimka, UFO Bar, (best views), Beer Palace, Ucerta, Obyvacka, Casa del Havana, (Cuban themed bar), Café Restaurant, The Loft, Great Club and Restaurant. Some of the best restaurants would be UFO, Riverbank Restaurant, Liviano, Bratislavsky Mestiansky Pivovar, Dunajsky Pivovar (bar on a boat on the river).