Home Features Focus: Breaking Travel News investigates: Radisson Blu Iveria Hotel, Tbilisi

Focus: Breaking Travel News investigates: Radisson Blu Iveria Hotel, Tbilisi

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Everyone who visits Georgia comes back obsessed.

Whatever you’re looking for in a holiday, the country, situated on the edge of the Black Sea, ticks all the boxes: the food is tremendous and plentiful, the wine is superb, and locals treat you as a member of their family.

Like a good trek? Head to the mountainous Kakheti region.

Prefer to relax on the beach with a tipple? The Black Sea resort of Batumi is only a few hours away.

History buff? You will be sick of churches and heritage sites by day three.

Prepare, also, to be out-drunk, out-eaten and out-sung – Georgians do not mess about when it comes to having a great time.

It doesn’t come as a surprise, then, that the Georgian tourism industry has seen remarkable year-on-year growth, surpassing eight million visitors last year for the first time.

The figure is predicted to rise to 11 million by the end of 2019.

Presently tourism accounts for 72 per cent of service exports, up from 40 per cent a decade ago.

New visitors have mostly come from neighbouring Azerbaijan, Turkey and Russia (before the recent travel ban on guests from the latter).

More recently, the country’s reputation has also begun to spread into western Europe, with Germany surpassing Kazakhstan and Saudi Arabia in visitor numbers for the first time this year.

Tbilisi remains the go to destination in Georgia, and during a recent all-too-brief visit to the capital I arrived at the local airport at an uninviting 04:00.

Far from ideal, but the ride to my hotel gave me a chance to experience the city at night, with lights appearing like a thousand candles giving off a warm glow.

It is quiet, so you can just about make out the funicular rails on mount Mtatsmida as you drive along the Mtkvari river and make your way to your final destination.

On this occasion I had been invited to check out the Radisson Blu Iveria Hotel, which, having recently celebrated its tenth anniversary, is enjoying life in its latest incarnation.

In the 1970s the property was a popular luxury hotel, before becoming a refugee camp in the 1990s.

More recently, it has been acquired by the Silk Road Group (along with a sister property in Tsinandali) and returned to the hospitality business under the Radisson flag.

Arriving from an overnight flight in economy in the early hours of the morning, my brain was operating at ten per cent capacity – the only thing on my mind was to locate the bed and drift off into dreamland as soon as I was through the door.

However, when I entered my room, I couldn’t help but take a minute to admire its contents.

The plate glass windows stretch across three walls, allowing for a bird’s eye view of the Old Tbilisi, and the room was so large it needed two pillars to hold it together.

Decorations do maintain that 1970s air, but are quite cool, nonetheless.

And, finally, a bottle of Saperavi was staring at me from a retro table across the room.

This was too much for my poor jetlagged-brain to handle, so I just stood there in complete stupor trying to figure out a way to have a drink and go to sleep simultaneously.

Eventually, I decided to rendezvous with the Saperavi at a later date.

Tbilisi itself is like a colourful mosaic where all the pieces are ever so slightly out of kilter.

The epitome of east-meets-west bohemia, this is where the Arab, Ottoman and Russian influences are dotted across the proverbial cloth.

The hotel fits right in with the local character.

In addition to comfortable accommodation, every one of the 249 rooms provides a mini bar, individual climate control and free high-speed, wireless internet access.

Guests can order from a 24-hour room service and enjoy access to the rooftop pool and fitness centre.

If you’re in the mood for true Italian cuisine, try one of the signature pasta dishes or light grilled items at Filini Restaurant.

Sushi lovers will want to visit Umami, the popular Asian fusion restaurant.

Visitors to Radisson Blu Iveria Hotel can start each day with the super breakfast buffet at Filini, then admire the Mtkvari River while having dinner at Iveria Café or the seasonal Iveria Terrace.

After dinner, have a drink in the Surface Bar or in the 18th-floor Oxygen Bar.

For a more relaxing time, the world-class spa will pamper you with premium treatments from Anne Semonin, including indoor and outdoor pools.

For business travellers and event planners, Radisson Blu Iveria Hotel offers a fully equipped business centre plus nine meeting rooms, a versatile ballroom and catering options.

There can be no better base from which to explore this rapidly developing tourism hotspot.

More Information

Found in the heart of Georgia’s capital city, Tbilisi, Radisson Blu Iveria Hotel is nestled between the beautiful Mtkvari River and nearby mountain ranges.

Step outside to find dining, shopping and nightlife on Rustaveli Avenue, while guests can also visit nearby attractions such as the Old Town and Narikala Fortress.

Find out more on the official website.