The Radisson Blu Tashkent is currently the sole ‘luxury’ business hotel in this city, since the InterContinental next door lost its franchise agreement and the Hyatt Regency Tashkent has yet to open.
The Radisson Blu in Tashkent is located on the northern edge of downtown, which isn’t great, but it’s acceptable. Taxis get you almost anywhere in the city for under $1 and traffic always flows (did we mention Uzbekistan is a police state? Even the traffic is perfectly organized).
Check-in on a Saturday was very easy and quick. My Gold status was not recognized, though, and the front desk had never heard of a ‘Welcome Amenity’. Once I explained, a plate of fruit was offered the next day, but it was all solely inedible fruit. Oh well.
The first night, I had a regular room and the next two nights I stayed in a business class room. Both were a bit tired but in great condition. The business class room was much bigger with a huge bathroom (although that wasn’t very helpful in functionality). The desk area was perfect though and I loved the bed with its wide and firm mattress (have I mentioned how much I love firm mattresses and beds?)
The WiFi connected very easily but it would top out at 1 Mbit and connecting a VPN was very cumbersome. However, no websites were blocked outright, including Facebook and Twitter.
The AC initially worked fine and cooled down the room very well, though on the last day it gave up. The front desk just quipped that the AC would not work until 7AM – good luck sleeping with an open window! I asked to speak with the GM who was, of course, not available.
I found the staff generally helpful but clueless. Their level of English was usually minimal and while I’m sure they tried on some level it did not come out as professional at all. Overall they all just seemed a week on the job and had learned English in high school but not since. Simple tasks like re-programming a key could take 20 seconds or 10 minutes, depending on who manned the front desk.
Breakfast was another amateurish show, with great coffee but hapless staff. The breakfast spread had a lot of items, though most were of low quality. Nonetheless, some pastries were excellent and some of the fruit was fresh and edible.
The hotel features an excellent pool area that apparently gets busy with lots of locals buying memberships to use it. I was too busy to try it, but with Tashkent’s scorching summer it sounds like a great option.
When changing rooms, the staff gave us all options from no check-out (“We are full”) to 6PM (“That is a normal check-out”) to 4PM. It was like everyone just started yesterday. We got new keys and when we tried to use them before 4PM – surprise – none worked.
In general, I felt this Radisson Blu tried on some level, but the management just hasn’t done much to control the quality at the hotel. The rooms are good, the beds are in fact great and there are certain other highlights, but for an international chain it’s just not good enough. Rates varied a lot between $100 (which is pretty affordable) to $290, which is just not worth it on any level.