Wine therapy in a Georgian wine resort and spa

1047 Reviews

Star Travel Rating

3/5

Review type

Accommodation

Location

Date of travel

June, 2023

Product name

Akhasheni Wine Resort and Spa

Product country

Georgia

Product city

Gurjaani

Travelled with

Couple

Reasons for trip

Culture/Sightseeing

Our first two nights in Georgia were spent at the large, four-star Akhasheni Wine Resort and Spa.

Check in was simple and straightforward and we took our own bags up in the lift to the second floor. Our spacious room had a comfortable king size bed and although there were two easy chairs, one was located where the bedside table should be. The mini bar was fully stocked and reasonably priced (two phrases you don’t often hear together), and the room was well equipped with desk and wardrobe containing bathrobes, slippers, and safe.

The good size bathroom had a walk in shower and although it was only a handheld affair, it was reasonable but there was no shelf for shower gel and shampoo, and it leaked a little. On the plus side, the heated towel rail was ideal for drying clothes, there was a huge mirror on one wall and towels were plentiful.

A balcony with two comfortable chairs and a table overlooked the vineyards.

The cosy bar had squashy sofas and an incredibly priced wine list. The fizz I’d chosen wasn’t available, so we settled on the cheapest bottle of dry white, which was served at room temperature, so we asked for an ice bucket – during our trip, we discovered that white wine was rarely served chilled, unless specifically requested. Little English was spoken by the mainly young staff, and we were served by what appeared to be a 15-year old. Whilst enjoying our now chilled wine, a bottle of the fizz was found, and we were asked if we would like to buy it. Bearing in mind it appeared to be in short supply, we agreed. The following night we took our fizz down to the bar, an ice bucket was sought, glasses provided, and the bottle opened by the teenagers. Whilst the fizz was fizzy, the bubbles soon dissipated, however, it was very pleasant and cheap – the fizz and white were £16.

Our two breakfasts were a hit and miss affair. On arrival at the opening time of 8am, some elements were laid out, but the place was in darkness and tables unlaid. Despite chatting loudly no one came out of the kitchen, and I noticed the absence of bread, said to be Georgia’s main carbohydrate. Eventually a young man arrived, brought out bread and switched on the coffee machine. There was no cut fruit, yoghurt or cereal and so we shared whole apples, plums and kiwi. On the buffet were lots of cheeses, cold meats, fried and boiled eggs, cheese stuffed mushrooms, unappetising looking sausages, grilled vegetables and a selection of rather gooey pastries.

The following day, we went down a little later and we were told that as there was less than 10 guests, the breakfast was a la carte. From the extensive menu we ordered chopped fruit, a huge bowl of apple, orange and strawberry, followed by an omelette for me and scrambled eggs with bacon for Roy. The chef appeared to have scrambled at least six eggs, but forgotten to cook the bacon – four strips of rather fatty uncooked ham. Instead of juice, there was a fruit ‘compote’ (water infused with fruit and sugar) and coffee was made for us.

We only ate in the restaurant once opting to sit in the light and bright conservatory rather than the dark, gloomy restaurant. Having had a relatively substantial lunch, we chose two light dishes. The first was ‘mushrooms on ketsi with Sulguni cheese’ – ketsi is the clay ovenproof dish the mushrooms are cooked in and Sulguni, Georgia’s most popular cheese, comes in different guises, but melts easily. The second was a Greek salad of lettuce, crunchy red and green peppers, cucumber, tomato, more cheese and olives with a tasty Dijon dressing, and a basket of shoti bread. It all went beautifully together and was light and simple. At less than £25 with a bottle of the second cheapest white wine, it was a bargain.

The hotel had extensive gardens with a beautiful looking outdoor swimming pool with loungers, but unfortunately rain accompanied our stay. There was also a children’s play area, bikes for hire and huge wine ‘bottles’ dotted around the grounds which made ideal Facebook photos with the comment ‘just the one bottle tonight’.

The large spa listed interesting sounding treatments like ‘wine therapy’, but unfortunately, we lacked time, so indulged in our own form of wine therapy in the bar.

During our two night stay, we saw four other guests in total. Although the hotel is said to have opened during the pandemic, if customer levels remain the same, I suspect it may close soon. This would be a shame, as it has great potential, they just need to iron out a few quirks.

Helen Jackson

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