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GÖNLÜFERAH CITY HOTEL, BURSA

gonulHiding away in Çekirge, the Hotel Gönlüferah is something of a Bursa institution so I was shocked when I arrived there planning to stay recently at the shoddy way I was treated at reception. Insofar as I was able to look at the rooms, they looked to be small and quite sweet but why any receptionist would choose to show the ground floor room overlooking the car park to a potential guest when the hotel was not full is a mystery that must remain unsolved.

Luckily for me, the company behind the hotel has now bought the adjoining hotel to operate as a slightly cheaper version of the original and that's where I ended up staying, thanks to a far more welcoming reception.

The vast ground-floor lounge of the "City" hotel shares the same sweeping view over Bursa as its snootier neighbour, as do the bedrooms on the side furthest from the road. Actually, the view is not that fantastic as there is car park in the foreground and the football stadium in the background. Still, these must be the rooms of choice since they are likely to be quietest. 

My bedroom was lovely with a comfortable double bed, an inset TV with both BBC channels, a minibar even stocked with wine and beer, tea and coffee-making facilities (mine were lurking in a cupboard - in other rooms they were on display), and good air-con and wifi. Bedside lamps came with dangling decorations that will soon look dated but overall this was my idea of a perfect hotel room. 

Aaagh! The bathroom came with a new-fangled sloping, run-off sink, perfect for Muslims who don't like to wash in sitting water but absolutely hopeless for the rest of us who like to be able to rinse out our smalls or even just dangle our hands in a bowl of water. Triumph of design over utilty, sadly.

I was also disappointed to be given a room with a shower which meant no soaking in thermal water as I'd hoped to do. Other rooms appeared to have tubs although I wonder if they will be removed as part of what appears to be a rolling renovation programme. Anyway, if the thermal things is important to you and you don't want to have to go next door and pay through the nose to use the spa, ask for a room with a bath. 

Breakfast is as splendid as you would probably anticipate. It's on the lower ground floor which still has nice views over Bursa, a light, cheerful space in which to start the day. There's a great choice of hot and cold options. I was tempted to linger long past 10 am. 

Thumbs up: Extremely comfortable and well-equipped bedrooms

Thumbs down: Absolutely useless handbasins in bathroom

Click here to book now

Tel: 0224-232 1890, 1, Murat Caddesi 24, Cekirge



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