On arrival into Riga following our over night ferry trip of Stockholm the first thing we did was check into our hotel in the Old City.

The SamaraH Hotel Metropole turned out to be the best hotel we stayed in on our six week trip to Scandinavia and the Baltics in 2015. I say ‘turned out’ as that’s not how it started.

When I book hotels in Australia and any hotel above around $25 in Asia, pretty much by default it will have air-conditioning. When booking hotels in Europe (excluding 4 and 5 stars which I rarely book for private travel anyway) one really does have to check as experience tells me it certainly cannot be assumed that air-conditioning will be included.

I booked a Classic room at the SemaraH Hotel Metropole (a 4 star hotel) assuming it would have had air-conditioning. It didn’t.

Check-in was fast, the staff friendly, helpful and efficient and the room itself – air-conditioning aside – was impeccably clean and well appointed, including free wi-fi. As it was the end of August, the room had opening windows and we had a fan I thought it would be fine. As it happened, our first night turned out to be extremely muggy and hot – I hardly slept a wink.

The following morning, while enjoying the excellent buffet breakfast (included in the room rate), I decided to go and see if I could get an upgrade to a room with air-conditioning. After a bit of negotiation a total upgrade fee of Euro30 was agreed to cover the next two nights. This brought the nightly rate up from Euro54 (for two) to Euro69 – still an absolute bargain for the room, especially considering the quality breakfast for two included. I think the rate we got must have been some sort of special as the equivalent air-conditioned room now costs around Euro100+ irrespective of the dates I now (Jan 2016) insert in booking.com, on which I made the original booking.

The hotel is perfectly located, right on the edge but within the south-eastern part of the Old City a few minutes walk to Town Hall Square, Freedom Monument, the Train Station, the Bus Station and Central Market. The closest tram stop was about a minute walk, close by the National Opera.

Apart from breakfast, which as I have indicated above was excellent, we did not eat/drink in the hotel so I cannot comment on its restaurant or bar apart from saying that both looked very inviting.

I would certainly stay here again, in an air-conditioned room. I should point out that the non air-conditioned (Classic) rooms are also older and smaller than the other rooms so the upgrade was worth it, not just for the air-conditioning, but also for the more up to date and better appointed room.

Address: 36 / 38 Aspazijas Blvd, Riga, 1050, Latvia

Website: http://semarahhotels.com/en/metropole-hotel/rooms/

This blog entry is the first in a group (loop) of reviews on the Old City area of Riga which I recommend you read in a particular order continuing with my next entryDouble Coffee Kungs: “Extensive Menu With Decent Coffee”


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