During our month of travelling through Azerbaijan, Georgia and Armenia, the Tsaghkadzor Marriott Hotel was the only chain hotel we stayed at, but we were told it was the best option in the area. With nearly 100 rooms, and an isolated location in what in winter is a ski-resort, it’s the type of place we generally avoid.
Check in was slick and efficient with a well-rehearsed story about the facilities on offer.
Our third floor room had a large vestibule containing the wardrobe with safe, robes and slippers and a well-stocked mini bar with price list. The bedroom was equally huge with king size bed, bedside tables, lights and plug points, desk and chair, chest of drawers with TV and a rack for one suitcase. A bay window had two identical arm chairs, an occasional table and reading lamp. The bland cream walls were enhanced with photographs of Armenian monasteries, and the plain navy carpet must have been a cleaners nightmare, as it showed every speck.
The bathroom had both a bath with overhead shower and a large walk in shower. We only used the latter which had plenty of hot water but poor pressure. However, it did have wall mounted environmentally friendly toiletries and plenty of space for our own. There was a good shaving mirror and hairdryer/mirror combination, plenty of hooks and rails for towels, as well as a heated towel rail.
Facilities offered included a bar and restaurant, outdoor café, tennis court, large indoor pool and jacuzzi, children’s indoor play soft play area and gift shop.
Although the Wi-Fi didn’t require a password, we struggled to connect. An IT engineer failed to establish the problem and it took a young man at reception with a bit of know-how, to sort it out.
On our first night, we realised dinner was a family friendly experience, but on request the delightful restaurant manager found a quiet area for us. The menu denoted traditional dishes with ARM, and we chose dolma with a yoghurt dip, salad and a chicken kebab accompanied by roasted potatoes. Our bottle of Yerevan white wine was automatically chilled, and an ice bucket provided, which wasn’t always the case. The excellent meal was only marred by families with screaming children arriving after 9pm, so we retired to the bar for coffee served to my delight, with a small dish of dark chocolate polka dots, and we indulged in cherry and coffee cognacs.
For breakfast, there were four types of juice, bottles of still and sparkling water, chopped and whole fruit, four flavours of yoghurt in glasses, various salad items, cold meats and cheeses. Hot dishes included porridge, fried ham, jacket potato halves with bacon, frankfurter style sausages and what was said to be an omelette, but looked more like scrambled eggs, although there was an egg chef as well. Two coffee machines delivered an excellent brew, and the range of breads and cakes was extensive.
After breakfast, we couldn’t open our room door with the key card. The nearby housekeeping lady tried using her universal keycard to no avail, and the two maintenance men initially struggled and ended up removing and replacing the entire locking device and handle. 45 minutes later we were back in our room and after much haggling and negotiation, we enjoyed a complimentary meal in the restaurant which to our surprise, also included a bottle of wine.
This was a mixed experience, but probably reinforced my views on large chain hotels.