Review: DoubleTree By Hilton Cluj, Romania

Filed Under: Hilton


Planning A Romanian Road Trip
Introduction: Transylvania Unknown
Getting An International Driving Permit
Review: The Club At ATL
Review: Turkish Airlines 787 Business Class
Review: IGA Lounge Istanbul Airport
Review: Turkish Airlines A319 Business Class
Review: DoubleTree By Hilton Cluj, Romania
Romanian Road Trip: Amazing So Far
Review: Art Hotel Sibiu, Romania
Brunch In The Transylvanian Countryside
Review: Copsamare Guesthouses, Romania
Review: Casa Savri Sighișoara, Romania
Romanian Road Trip: Part Two
Review: Vila Economat Sinaia, Romania
Driving In Romania: My Experience
Review: JW Marriott Bucharest, Romania
Review: TAROM Lounge Bucharest Airport
Review: TAROM Business Class A318
Review: Hyatt Place London Heathrow
Virgin Atlantic’s Puzzling New Business Class Seat
Review: Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse Heathrow
Review: NEW Virgin Atlantic A350 Upper Class

We were spending a total of six nights in Romania, and would be changing hotels every night (apparently that’s how road trips work?). Of those six nights we spent five in Transylvania, and a total of four of those five nights were in boutique hotels and guest houses. The one exception was the first night, where we stayed at the DoubleTree Cluj.

As far as the reviews of our time on the ground in Romania go, you can expect:

  • A review of each individual hotel
  • In each hotel installment, Tiffany will write the section explaining why we booked a particular hotel, since I left all the planning on the ground to her (so the “booking” section is written by Tiffany)
  • On top of that, Tiffany will be writing further posts about our time on the ground

So with that out of the way, let’s get right into it.

Booking The DoubleTree Cluj

With plentiful award space and an easy connection in Istanbul, flying in to Cluj made perfect sense for our Romanian road trip. In the interest of keeping the first night simple (especially given the late arrival), and knowing that we’d be staying at more “boutique” properties later in the trip, I decided to book the DoubleTree by Hilton Cluj.

Room rates were a shocking 260 EUR per night, though fortunately were available for 30,000 Hilton Honors points each. See this post for the best credit cards for earning Hilton Honors points.

DoubleTree Cluj Review

Below I’ll be reviewing our arrival experience, my room, the breakfast, the gym and spa, and the location of the DoubleTree Cluj. Admittedly we were only there for a quick overnight, so the review won’t be that detailed.

DoubleTree Cluj Arrival & Location

The DoubleTree Cluj is an easy 15 minute drive from the airport, and we had no trouble finding the hotel.

DoubleTree Cluj exterior

The hotel has an excellent location, as it’s conveniently located to both the central park…

Cluj central park

…and is just blocks from the city center.

Cluj city center

The DoubleTree has a parking garage, and as a Hilton Honors Diamond member parking was complimentary. We just took a ticket and then that was validated upon check-out.

The DoubleTree has a fairly sterile (and green) lobby.

DoubleTree Cluj lobby

DoubleTree Cluj lobby

Service was exceptionally friendly by the two ladies working the front desk when we arrived in the evening. We were first handed the signature DoubleTree cookies. I don’t remember the last time I stayed at a DoubleTree, and I love cookies, so I was caught off guard by this, and so happy.

DoubleTree Cluj cookies at check-in

Tiffany and I are both Honors Diamond members, so we both received suite upgrades. Furthermore, Diamond members receive complimentary breakfast and more. We were given the following welcome letter:

In addition to a breakfast voucher we were given a voucher for a free glass of wine or beer in the hotel’s bar, a further 15% discount for the bar, and a 15% discount for the hotel’s Marco Polo Restaurant.

DoubleTree Cluj discount vouchers

DoubleTree Cluj King Oval Suite

The DoubleTree has six floors, and I was assigned an oval suite on the fourth floor, #410. The hallways of the hotel felt fresh and modern.

DoubleTree Cluj hallways

Clearly I was pretty exhausted at this point in my trip, because I looked at doors throughout the hallway and said to myself “where the heck are the room numbers written?!?” Then I realized they were reflected in the lights.

DoubleTree Cluj room exterior

My oval suite was really one big room, and it was quite nice and large, though perhaps not all that practically designed. Inside the entrance was a dining table with four chairs.

DoubleTree Cluj king oval suite entryway

DoubleTree Cluj king oval suite living area

DoubleTree Cluj king oval suite living area

Along that wall was a coffee machine and the minibar.

DoubleTree Cluj king oval suite coffee machine

DoubleTree Cluj king oval suite minibar

There was a lovely welcome amenity waiting for me, including two bottles of water, fresh fruit, and a box of macarons.

DoubleTree Cluj king oval suite welcome gift

There was also a half bath right by the entrance.

DoubleTree Cluj king oval suite half bath

Then across from the dining area was a couch, and opposite that was the bed.

DoubleTree Cluj king oval suite bedroom

The room had a very comfortable king size bed. After having stayed at several boutique hotels the past few nights, let me just point out that this bed was really, really, really comfortable.

DoubleTree Cluj king oval suite bedroom

Across from the bed was a desk, and then next to that was the TV.

DoubleTree Cluj king oval suite desk

DoubleTree Cluj king oval suite TV

One downside to the room was the poorly placed outlets. For example, there wasn’t a single outlet that could be reached with my cord from the main dining table, and even plugging something in at the desk required removing one of the floor panels.

The room had lovely views of the surrounding area.

DoubleTree Cluj king oval suite view

DoubleTree Cluj king oval suite view

In the far corner of the room was a large closet.

DoubleTree Cluj king oval suite closet

Then there was the bathroom, which featured double sinks, a tub, a toilet, and a walk-in shower.

DoubleTree Cluj king oval suite bathroom

DoubleTree Cluj king oval suite bathtub

DoubleTree Cluj king oval suite shower

DoubleTree Cluj king oval suite toilet

Toiletries were from Crabtree & Evelyn.

DoubleTree Cluj king oval suite toiletries

Overall I thought the room was awesome, and appreciated the very nice upgrade.

DoubleTree Cluj Breakfast

After a pretty good night of sleep we had breakfast at Marco Polo Restaurant. Breakfast is served here from 7AM until 10:30AM.

DoubleTree Cluj Marco Polo Restaurant

DoubleTree Cluj Marco Polo Restaurant

Breakfast was entirely via the buffet. To drink there was coffee, water, and juice…

DoubleTree Cluj breakfast buffet

DoubleTree Cluj breakfast buffet

Then there were pastries, fruit, cereal, cold cuts, veggies, yogurt, and some spreads…

DoubleTree Cluj breakfast buffet

DoubleTree Cluj breakfast buffet

DoubleTree Cluj breakfast buffet

DoubleTree Cluj breakfast buffet

DoubleTree Cluj breakfast buffet

Hot dishes included eggs, breakfast potatoes, veggies, and more.

DoubleTree Cluj breakfast buffet

DoubleTree Cluj breakfast buffet

DoubleTree Cluj breakfast buffet

DoubleTree Cluj breakfast buffet

DoubleTree Cluj breakfast buffet

While the buffet was pretty good, there was no cooked to order egg option, best I could tell.

DoubleTree Cluj Pool & Gym

On the sixth floor of the hotel was a pretty nice indoor pool, which I didn’t have the chance to use.

DoubleTree Cluj pool

DoubleTree Cluj pool

Next to that was a gym, which was on the small side, but had pretty good equipment.

DoubleTree Cluj gym

DoubleTree Cluj gym

DoubleTree Cluj Bottom Line

While we were there for under 12 hours in total, we had an excellent stay at the DoubleTree Cluj. The staff were friendly, we both got great upgrades, we got all kinds of discounts that we didn’t use, the cookies were tasty, the location was great, and the hotel has a nice pool and gym.

While the boutique hotels we’d be staying at in the coming days would be very cute, there was something nice about having that last great shower, a comfortable bed, and fast wifi.

I’d definitely consider the DoubleTree if visiting Cluj.

  1. @Lucky
    Quick question: Since you stay in so many hotel rooms, do you have any type of bedbug protocol? For instance do you check for bedbugs when entering the room or only keep your luggage in the bathtub? Just curious to hear how you deal with bedbugs

  2. Good question regarding bedbugs. I actually would love to see a post on this and how you deal with the issue/your thoughts on bedbugs e.g. is the whole fear overblown

  3. Never seen a cooked to order egg option at a DoubleTree… have you?

    Price is indeed exorbitant. Stayed at DoubleTree Tower of London this summer for less than half that room rate… heck, for less than what I value 30,000 points at. Hotel prices in Romania really are out of control.

  4. Exorbitant rates in cash but cheap using points is when you redeem!

    This was a 0.9cpp redemption, which is not uncommon overseas.

    “Tiffany and I are both Honors Diamond members, so we both received suite upgrades. ”

    You said that so matter-of-factly, when many “long-time” Hilton Diamonds have claimed in this space that they have never received a suite upgrade (on the other hand, I just noticed that of late there have been fewer such “long-time” Hilton Diamonds making the claim).

    I am considering a ‘Great Eastern Europe Escapade’ that will include Romania, Bulgaria and more) and I will definitely consider redeeming points this property.

  5. “Of those six nights we spent five in Transylvania, and a total of four of those five nights were in boutique hotels and guest houses”

    What’s the reasoning for staying at so many hotels in one city? Is it blog related?

    After a very ambitious first vacation to Europe about 20 years ago when I wasn’t sure I’d be able to return, I find it much more relaxing to stay somewhere for a few nights before moving on.

    And pictures of European pastries should be banned (is there an Ad-Block for that?). They seem much higher quality than the doughy croissants largely found here in the states.

  6. @rich Transylvania isn’t a city, it’s a region. This whole trip report is about a road trip they took through that region of the country. So they spent four nights in four different cities in the same region of the country. Kind of like if you drive up the California Coast at a leisurely speed you’d spend several nights at different hotels in California, but not necessarily in the same city.

  7. @ George

    The DoubleTree Minsk has a cooked to order egg option at their (also overall great) breakfast buffet.

    Interestingly enough, the rates there also tend to be around $250 per night. It might just be me, but I think that part of the world has a much higher-end brand positioning perception for DoubleTree. I’m curious if others had similar experiences.

  8. The DoubleTree Las Vegas Airport and Bratislava each have cooked to order omelettes (and I assume other eggs) included in their Diamond breakfast benefit, so I don’t think of that as odd at a DoubleTree.

  9. @dfw88 and tiffany,

    Thanks. I have never been in that part of the world (eastern Europe and especially Romania). I just assumed it was a city.

  10. @Lucky; in the review, you write:
    “After having stayed at several boutique hotels the past few nights, let me just point out that this bed was really, really, really comfortable.“

    But wasn’t this your first night in Romania? Or do you consider a Turkish Air Boeing a boutique hotel as well?

  11. Ben, when were you in Cluj. I was there last Tues night/Wednesday and past by the Doubletree on my way to restaurant Samsara that is around the corner. The Doubletree is in a more quiet location a bit away from the old parts of the town, where the “free tour” is wonderful to get used to the town. Overall, a walkable city.

  12. @ Jonathan

    Even in places like Minsk & Cluj, they ought to be aware that Doubletree is nowhere near the price+luxury level of Waldorf Astoria, or even Conrad.

  13. When I stayed there in July, I got upgraded to the same suite class as a Gold, so I don’t think there’s much demand for the premium rooms. I also had a corporate rate of about 130USD/night, and it was close to peak season. So I’m not certain what’s up with the rate they were quoting you.

    Where did you rent your car and what kind did you rent? I’m curious since I want to explore more my next trip.

  14. @ Matt — I just rented through National/Enterprise; they had the most reasonable rates factoring in the drop fees. We booked a small crossover knowing we’d be in the countryside, which was a good choice in general, though the car itself is abhorrent.

  15. That rate is ridiculous for a 2nd Tier city in a country where the montly average income is one of the lowest in Europe.

  16. @Julia: “That rate is ridiculous for a 2nd Tier city in a country where the montly average income is one of the lowest in Europe.”

    Because obviously, hotels in any city set their prices based on demand from people who live in said city.

  17. @Julia:

    1. Define “2nd tier city.”
    2. Room rates don’t necessarily reflect average income. Compared with income, hotels in Germany and are cheap and hotels in Romania are expensive; especially chain and boutique hotels. As I mentioned, you can find great rates even in London. It’s a function of not only income, but supply, demand, and government factors (whether taxes/fees or regulation). Bucharest and Moscow are known to be expensive, and average incomes are fairly low. My boss stayed at a boutique property in not-very-central Bucharest for $200/night (“a great price!”) in shoulder season, while The Dixon in London was available for $160/night in peak season this year.
    3. Cluj is a university city, tourist destination, and tech hub. It commands high prices, just like Bucharest.

  18. Hi

    Bit stunned at the complaints about the prices of Hilton Hotels in Romania. Here’s what we paid on a recent visit in 2017

    Sighisoara $ 74 ($US)
    Sibiu $116
    Oradea $ 78
    Kosice $ 89

    All those prices are tax etc inclusive (price charged to credit card with 2.5% Forex and exchange (I’m Canadian).

    To put prices in context I just looked up the price in Sibiu (my favourite Exec floor of the above) and booking for tonight was 80 Euro or $94 USD inc taxes. Even cheaper than 2017.

    Lovely country to visit and the hotels were certainly cheap. Not as cheap or as nice as our visit earlier this month to Shanghai and Chongqing but nice all the same.

    Another very good country to visit and really really cheap is the Ukraine where last year the non-chain hotels were anywhere from $25 to $75 per night including breakfast. Mind you the Hilton in Kiev was probably $180 (and worth every penny).

    Safe travels. Hope you enjoyed the glitz of Bran Castle (but in October you really have to do it at least once 😉 ).

  19. Bucharest?

    Hilton Doubletree there was a tad on the expensive side at about $100.

    JW Marriott was an absolute STEAL – was able to use a 25000 point coupon (annual free night from Marriott) and they put us in a suite on the Executive Floor. (We’re the lowest level of elite (silver?) and did not qualify for an upgrade). The JW in Bucharest had one of the best executive floor lounges that I have experienced as a lowly rated elite. The food and beverage selection was without doubt brilliant. If I didn’t have so many Hiltons already booked we would have stayed longer.

  20. Looks decent, but I was surprised you didn’t choose to stay at the Hampton Cluj instead, which is actually really nice. It was 5k points a night just two years ago, but now it’s up to 20k so it’s not the deal it once was. Cluj was a really fun place to stay, though.

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