Ibis City Center is one of the most popular hotels in central Kiev. Situated on the famous and beautiful Taras Shevchenko boulevard – right next to the university – it’s a popular tourist for love tourists from the UK and Europe, and sex tourists from Turkey. It’s also a relatively budget alternative to some of the more glitzy hotels along the same street – such as the Hilton. But is it any good? I’ve spent a number of weeks here on several trips to Kiev over the last few years, and here’s my review as to whether it’s a good choice for those seeking romance with Ukrainian women.
An Honest And Independent Review of Hotel Ibis Kiev City Center
Ibis is a popular chain of hotels that spans the globe, and I’ve stayed at quite a few of them in different countries. Their central Kiev hotel is as as comfortable as you would like at the price. Bringing a Ukrainian woman back here would certainly impress her, as long as you can shield her from some of the aggressive and lecherous Turkish sex tourists and the even more aggressive and surly staff.
Scam Warning – Scammers Operate Outside The Hotel
Despite Taras Shevchenko being the busiest and most upmarket boulevard in Kiev, lined with five star hotels providing accommodation to wealthy businessmen, as well as hundreds of students on their way to the university, scammers are allowed to operate freely – even wearing fake police uniforms in order to scam tourists out of their money. I’m embarrassed to say that I myself fell victim to the old ‘dropped wallet’ scam, where a smartly dressed businessman apparently racing to the metro ‘drops his wallet’ in front of you, and when you kindly pick it up and call him, he at first gratefully thanks you, goes off, then returns claiming that you stole from it and shouts for a policeman. Fake policeman duly comes and asks to see your wallet and slips a few notes from it while telling (both of) you to be on your way.
O.K., I’m an idiot for falling for such a classic scam, but it was my first night ever in the Ukraine, and just wasn’t prepared for something so blatant so soon. When I realized I had been scammed, I told reception at the Ibis Kiev, and although the female receptionist was sympathetic, she claimed that it was a frequent scam that other guests had fallen victim to and that going to the police wouldn’t help. I wouldn’t be surprised if the ‘fake’ policeman might actually have been a real policeman, at least he may as well have been.
What did concern me however, was that although claiming that other guests had been scammed, there was no warning to guests about the scam. The scam occurred less than 100m from the hotel. There is also a Georgian soldier who stands around on duty menacingly next to the hotel (not connected to the hotel), who would have seen the scam, but did nothing.
Unpleasant And Aggressive Staff
I spent a number of weeks at the Ibis Central Kiev. One the last occasion, I extended my stay because the Ukrainian woman I was in love with kept teasing me with suggestions we might be more than just friends. So an intended 10 day stay at the hotel turned into a 5 week stay (and I was still friendzoned by my unrequited love). Having to pass through reception every time you went in and out made such a long stay awkward without a good relationship with the staff, so I tried to smile and be pleasant, something that was rudely rebuffed. The female reception staff, however, seemed very keen to flirt with the Turkish sex tourists who seem to make up most of the hotel’s clientele.
Unfriendliness on the part of the staff did verge on the aggressive, to the point I became afraid even to raise any issue with reception. For example, a male receptionist became hostile when I simply asked about a problem with the thermostat in my room. But what was most disturbing was my last day at the hotel, when I was very much deliberately intimidated by the massive (and I mean at least 6ft 7) kitchen chef when eating breakfast for the last time before checking out. I say disturbing because the reception staff had obviously told the chef that this was my last day and to give me a ‘send off’.
Conclusion – Scams, Sex Tourists, and Surly Staff
Many (or most) tourists will discover their credit cards being blocked by their banks at some point during their trip to the Ukraine or upon returning. This has happened to me with virtually all my cards. So on my last stay at the Hotel Ibis, I made sure to only use one card for paying for my stay and for withdrawing cash from the hotel lobby ATM. Unfortunately, not only did this not prevent my card from being blocked shortly after my return to the UK, but it was blocked because a scammer had tried to take money out of my account using my card details.
So I would certainly recommend you avoiding this hotel – unless you are a Turkish sex tourist. In that case, you might not even have to leave the hotel in order to get lucky.