At the Sheraton in Warsaw it’s raining men, tall men short men, husky men, skinny men, a virtual cornucopia of men. While checking into my room I noticed that the hotel was bursting at the seams with boy eye candy. A girl can get giddy looking at this kind of masculine scenery on display. I tucked my tongue back in my mouth and asked at the reception desk what gives with all manliness hanging about; not that I was complaining mind you, I was curious, a lot of the guys were very nicely built, not the usual tubby business type that you tend to see at most hotels. Luckily for moi, I was informed, I happened to have checked in on the same weekend that the FIFA qualifying draw was being held in Warsaw for the Euro 2012 Tournament and Sheraton Warsaw seemed to be the hotel of choice for these football aficionados. That’s when I knew I was going to have a great weekend in Warsaw.
Not that I was going to party all night long with the footballers mind you, my husband would not look too kindly on that kind of girl’s getaway. But a girl can look, can’t she? Maybe even engage in an intellectual debate on the finer points of off-side rules and regulations? Ha, what I know about football would equal the amount of times the San Marino team has won a match – a big zero.
I finally reminded myself that there’s more to do in Warsaw than just enjoying this city’s football invasion, so I tore myself away from Sheraton and headed out to explore the sights. I started off with a three hour Warsaw City Tour to get a quick rundown about the history and attractions in the capital of Poland and soon discovered that Warsaw has these aplenty. After the tour I wandered around town on my own, leisurely exploring some of the cities loveliest spots. Warsaw is compact enough for any relatively active person to be able to get around the city comfortably on foot, but they do also have an extensive tram and bus service. For those late night excursions taxis are inexpensive and plentiful. Here are some of my must-see spots for great getaway trip to this bustling, proud and cultured city. Now excuse me while I head back to Sheraton’s business centre to ‘struggle’ with the computers. Football players, I have discovered to my delight, are pretty technically adept and very willing to help little ol’ me with my computer ‘problems’!
Things to Do
The top attraction of the partially walled old town is Stare Miastro, Warsaw’s town square. This area was almost completely destroyed during the World War II, with the 90% of the buildings destroyed. The city rebuilt and today the lively square is filled with street vendors, cafes, shops, galleries and some of Warsaw’s top restaurants.
Old Warsaw Ghetto
During World War II, approximately 500 thousand Jews from Warsaw and the surrounding area were imprisoned in a Jewish Ghetto in central Warsaw. In 1943, under threat of transportation to the infamous Treblinka Concentration Camp, the Jewish population staged an uprising, which was brutally crushed by the Germans. A monument to honor the heroes of the uprising was unveiled in the ruins of the city in 1948.
Łazienki park and palace complex is known as one of the most beautifully landscaped garden parks in Europe. The park is full of lovely palaces and monuments; the most beautiful building in the park is the Palace on the Island. Another popular feature of the park is the amphitheater, where summer concerts are held. The composer Chopin was born in Warsaw and a grand monument to him can also be found in the park.
This is the top fashion street in Warsaw with tons of exclusive shops, galleries, fashionable clubs, elegant restaurants and cafes. During the summer season, the street is closed to vehicles at weekends and becomes a pedestrian precinct.
Where to Stay
As evidenced above I stayed at the Sheraton during my visit to Warsaw. This hotel is one of the major players in this city and they have the staff to handle any kind of visit from masses of football professionals to the vice president of the United States, Joe Biden, who, I’ve been told, stayed at the hotel on a recent visit to Warsaw. The hotel is ideally situated being just minutes away from the posh stores on Nowy Swiat, the lovely Lazienki Park and a short ten minute walk to Warsaw’s old town.
The hotel offers a wonderful alternative to the usual hotel restaurant fare, the “Chef’s Table” is a unique dining experience, where you can design your own menu with Sheraton’s Chef or have the menu chosen for you, the meal is served in the kitchen of the restaurant for a maximum of six guests. A very cool experience!
Sheraton’s Fitness Center offers yoga and aerobic classes as well as its own running club, with scheduled morning and evening runs along Łazienki Park, a great option for women travelers who are uncomfortable running alone in a new city. This fitness center is modern and well-equipped, in-house massages are also available in the center, perfect after a long day of seeing the sights!
Where to Eat
E. Wedel – Chocolate heaven, be sure to try the cherry hot chocolate, the chocolate ice cream, the cheesecake!
Szpitalna 8, Warsaw
Café Blikle – This very popular café has open since 1869 and is famous for it’s traditional doughnut called paczki in Polish, they also make the best poppyseed cake in the city.
Nowy Swiat 33, Warsaw
U. Szweika – the best Zurek soup in Warsaw!
Podwale Restaurant – a restaurant offering Polish cuisine and inexpensive beer, it’s the place to be in the summer with wonderful outdoor terrace located in the old town of Warsaw. Be sure to try their mushroom soup. One note of caution – portions are huge!
Bazyliszek Restaurant – mmm, roast meat and lots of it! Check out the cool dragon motif.
Rynek Starego Miasta 3/9, Warsaw
Belvedere Restaurant – located in Łazienki Park, this restaurant delivers both stunning views and the best food in Warsaw. A must for fine dining…