Crimea is a special region, and the South Coast is a special region even in Crimea. Yalta, Sudak and, of course, Alushta are forever frozen in the post-Soviet aesthetics of crimson jackets, high combs and striped jelly in restaurants. VIP, luxury, luxury: these words on the South Coast are still pronounced with a breath and great meaning. Although they do not guarantee anything, except for the extra fog. For example, a VIP-class hotel “Agora” – what would this mean? Technically, nothing special, just a good hotel with attentive staff, pulled floors, polished furniture, professional maids, clean linens, excellent internet, water off schedule… Well, yes, it is seriously more expensive than networkers. Although, what is it about. This is Alushta, here is its own pricing.
Location and history
Hotel“Agora”opened in 2009 after a short but rather dirty war with competitors for a place for development. It was worth it: the center of Alushta, 200 meters to the embankment, the intersection of Lenin and Gorky streets. It was necessary, however, to make room: to grab a piece for their own full-fledged parking did not work, and the permit for the construction of a grocery store and several canteens nearby could not be revoked. It was not possible to disperse the MAFs – kiosks with all sorts of stuff. And, most sadly, the plans to buy some of the beach also went to dust.
However, the hotel administration decided not to act in the Crimean way, to seduce with politeness, comfort, cleanliness and a truly individual approach.
Maria, Tomsk: “We went to the Aurora for 5 years in a row. I remember the first time, it was 2010. They then worked, as the administrator put it, in manual mode: guests were urged to immediately contact the reception, if something is wrong. Well, basically it was like that, but when we couldn’t leave before the due time, we were extended to 16 without any surcharges and even brought two bottles of water. In general, if not from chain hotels, Agora is the only place in the Crimea where towels are changed daily without reminders, and bed linen made of expensive cotton. “
A little later, Radisson (since 2014 Riviera Sunrise) came out nearby, but the Agora Hotel provided much better service, creating a unique, almost homely atmosphere. He formed the backbone of regular guests, who from year to year returned here, almost without noticing the shortcomings.
The main disadvantage of the hotel“Agora”directly echoes its main advantage: it is impossible to be in the center of resort life, almost on the coast … and sleep at night. In high season, it is so noisy even at dawn that boarded-up windows are not always saved.
In ancient Greece, the agora was called the main square of the city, on which, in addition to the usual market trade and theatrical performances, general meetings of citizens were held. Here they voted, considered cases of exile and ostracism, decided whether or not to enter the war. In the center of the agora were carved in stone the laws of the polis, and along the perimeter it was surrounded by workshops, administrative buildings, temples. By analogy with the Roman forum, the agora was the main place in the city. And why the hotel in the Crimea decided to call it so, it is not clear, but interesting.
Against the background of small Crimean hotels of medium hand”, “Agora” stands out in many respects for the better. First of all, it’s about interior design. Do not be afraid of what the hotel managers call “baroque”: there are no stucco moldings and frescoes on the ceiling in the rooms. Just in general, the interior is designed in a pseudo-Greek style (everywhere meanders) with a predominance of yellow and blue, and in some rooms for some reason in the center there is a soft sofa with curls.
But all this, despite the expected description of the kitch, looks unexpectedly harmonious and not at all sleeping. Perhaps because there is no surplus of furniture, no jewelry, no small details. The rooms are clean, comfortable and modern.
On four floors of the hotel there are 16 rooms, of which 14 overlook the sea:
- one-room double room in the attic with beveled ceilings is the cheapest offer of the hotel, but in summer the room is uncomfortable, it heats up too much from the sun;
- Double Standard with balcony – economy offer, the best combination of price and quality, but the air conditioning blows directly into bed;
- Junior Suite is one-room and two-room – an excellent choice for those who want to sunbathe in a sun lounger on one of the two balconies;
- Two-room Suite impresses not only the size of the bed, but also a panoramic view of the mountains – this is the only room where you can not hear the sounds of the street.
The equipment of the rooms varies from level, but the basic set of equipment (air conditioning, TV, kettle, hairdryer) and an excellent bathroom with a bath (not a shower!) are in each.
It is required to further clarify what of the hygiene products and cosmetics will be in the room. The set is variable, depending on the time of year and, probably, the mood of the owners.
Meals and restaurants
Under the roof, that is, on the fifth floor of the agora hotel under a beautifully glazed dome and a wrought iron chandelier, there is a restaurant of the same name. This is the highest point of the hotel, and from its windows and balcony offers stunning views of the sea and distant Demerdzhi. They say that in clear weather you can see Megan, but this is from the category of either very good vision, or fiction. In fact, this restaurant, like many things in the Crimea, is a thing in itself.
Despite the very small size – only five tables plus one on the balcony – the comfort and interior design of the restaurant will give odds to the rest of the hotel. Wood, forged elements, chairs upholstered with safyan under the classics: it is really nice to be here. Perhaps half of the impressions behind the Alushta air and views from the windows, but nevertheless.
However, people go to the restaurant not so much to admire the views, but to eat something, and here in this matter the interesting begins. The fact is that since the opening of the restaurant has not earned at full strength, and provides only breakfast (included in the boarding house). All guests who hoped to eat fully without leaving the hotel, there is nothing to hope for. According to the plans of the management, it is clear that they intended to bring the restaurant into the orbit of a full-fledged service, but something went wrong. Occasionally, in high season, something is cooked, but it is not systematic.
It’s all the more frustrating because, judging by the breakfasts, the prospects for the restaurant are amazing. The agora Hotel has the best breakfasts in Alushta, and these are not just beautiful words, but the experience of hundreds of guests. Simple dishes, but from fresh ingredients and with a cute feature – a small compliment from the chef to each visitor (most often berries, mint, fruits).
The breakfast menu is not too striking choice, but includes familiar and very tasty dishes:
- omelets and scrambled eggs;
- milk porridge;
- fruit and vegetable salad;
- pancakes, cheesecakes, dumplings (for dessert cheesecake and strudel);
- kefir, yogurt (noname, there is a possibility that own production).
Breakfast will be brought to the room (from 8 to 10), but you can choose only two dishes. The feature of the hotel “Agora” – champagne for breakfast, you just need to put a mark on the menu map at the reception.
On the ground floor there is a wine shop, which is pathetically called enotece. On the shelves are presented exclusively wines of Crimean producers – Koktebel, Massandra, Golden Beam and others, not so famous. Here you can buy and taste the famous “names” and real rarities.
The plus is that in one place wines of different harvest years and beautiful anniversary collections are collected: fans of Massandra, for example, know how difficult it is to find an analogue of the bottle of the same year not only in ordinary wine chains, but also in branded stores. In the shop at the “Agor” there are even such rare lines, which, apparently, have already forgotten and manufacturers.
Minus in the price, which is higher than the average for the Crimea twice. Naturally, someone has to pay for the holiday of abundance. Obviously, visitors.
Any wine has an expiration date. In standard bottles at wineries do not pour elite drinks, which over the years become only better. On the contrary, from long storage on store shelves, wine loses its taste and aroma much earlier than the manufacturer planned. According to experience, this is especially true of unsustained, but fortified Crimean dessert wines – all these “Doctors”, “Colonels” and Massandra muscatels. Yes, what is there, even Koktebel’s Madera significantly sours a year after the end of the shelf life! Therefore, whatever the consultant broadcasts in the store about careful storage, it is necessary to look at the label.
Where to eat nearby: top 5 decent places
Next to the hotel “Agora” there are several decent dining rooms, where, in fact, guests eat. Unusual to the Crimean service, a person should prepare for huge queues, fatty mayonniez and Moscow prices.
However, you can wander around the city and find quite pleasant places:
- Legendary either a restaurant, or a bar, or a snack bar, where there is always fried fish: Barabula Bar is located very close to the “Agora”, serves local fish, rapans, mussels in season. There are fresh bulls. They also work for takeaway, but there is no delivery.
- A relatively new restaurant of Italian cuisine “The Lebed” (The Lebed), which is liked by everyone who went there.
- For vegans and fasting, Jules Verne is a beautiful and conceptual place that serves pea puree.
- With the restaurant “Meeting” you need to start acquaintance with Alushta. Delicious menu, working late, waiters move quickly, clean, beautiful – and, indeed, a very nice place where you want to return.
- “Old Man Khinkalych” is a Georgian fast food: khinkali, khachapuri, lobio and several salads (they do not make barbecue). They serve quickly, but you can not book a table, they work on the principle of a live queue.
Activities & Services at the Hotel
In the Crimea, it is customary to organize at least minimal, but SPA centers at hotels. “Agora” went the same way: massage, gym and solarium are quite decent, consistently popular with guests.
The SPA itself in the hotel“Agore”was called the relaxation center Terme Romane, and all the equipment for it was purchased in Italy. And this small center really pleases, although professional physiotherapists are still not enough for him.
Terme Romane services:
- Finnish sauna – dry, humidity 15%, temperature up to 110 degrees;
- biosauna – temperature and humidity of 65, suitable even for children from 3 years;
- Turkish bath (hammam) – 95% humidity and 50 degrees, perfect cleansing of body and soul;
- contrast shower “Water Road” with color overflows.
For visitors of the SPA center there is an identical natural salt grotto and a rest room with seats made of natural stone. It serves herbal tea and dried fruits.
The pool, although heated, is in a different room. After the bath it is uncomfortable.
The hotel “Agora” does not have its own beach, it rents part of the coast, which belongs to other owners (departmental sanatoriums). For guests, a visit to the beach is included in the guesthouse (for additional places you need to buy extra), but you must not forget to take a business card to the reception before leaving, which will be a pass to the protected area.
On the beach everything is standard: sun loungers, umbrellas, small Alushta pebbles. The beach is cleaned, but drinking water should be brought with you.
You can buy a beach pass in a hotel-networker (for example, the same Riviera Sunrise just stunningly landscaped private beach), they sell for a few days and even indefinite.
Alushta compares favorably with the same Yalta with the width of the beach strip and less sharp pebbles. If desired, you can find free sandy beaches. However, the peculiarity of Alushta is that even paid beaches … paid very conditionally. For a small fee, the guards will let vacationers to any place. Of course, everyone shamelessly uses it.
Top 5 in popularity of beaches of Alushta:
- The main city free beach “Tender Coast”, a few minutes from the hotel “Agora” on foot. Small pebbles, full house all season and dirty enough not to want to swim, water.
- Beach “Children’ – mixed, in the pebbles there are sandy areas. In general, without infrastructure, quite dirty, shallow water continues for a long time.
- Professor’s corner: strictly speaking, this is not one, but many departmental beaches that follow the shore one after another. Some of them are closed to the public, but most are free (charge money for a toilet and a chaise longue). The water is cleaner than on the city beaches.
- The beach of Semidvorye – a former pioneer camp – is characterized by larger pebbles and absolutely clean water than in other places. The bottom is rocky, the guards are content with a small fee.
- Satersky children’s beach (Krymppotrebsoyuz), although located a few kilometers from the center of Alushta, but worthy of a visit – clean water, pebbles of medium size, silence and cleanliness. You can negotiate with the guards literally for a penny.
Recreational opportunities for children
The hotel does not position itself as a place for family holidays. Of course, guests with children are accepted, but on special conditions:
- children under 5 years old stay free of charge only in a double room without a balcony and a double Standard;
- children up to 8 years in the Suite and Junior Suite will be accommodated on an extra bed (sofa bed) free of charge;
- breakfast and beach must be paid separately;
- The hotel does not provide baby cots, cots or chairs.
The hotel provides a children’s room, but it practically does not function: there are really few guests with children, and the administration does not see the point of keeping a nanny or an animator.
There is no separate children’s menu for breakfast, but this is not terrible, an adult is suitable even for kids.
The hotel has quite dangerous balconies for young children. Plus, it will not be difficult to get on it, the door opens with a simple turn of the handle. In addition, the interior delights of the lobbies include glass tables, slippery mosaic floors and sharp corners.
Excursions and attractions nearby
Alushta is not Yalta, not Kerch and not even Sudak, there is nothing to see here. Most of the attractions – the Rotunda, the Seaside Park are associated with the restoration of the city in the postwar period and are rather roughly mythologized. In addition, it is boring and rather untroomed.
But still to go to the Black Sea to wander through the obsessive dolphinariums “Nemo” and old water parks, stupid.
Top 5 must-see places of interest:
- Professor’s corner with dachas of Beketov, Shmelev and in general a sublime-intelligent mood.
- Demerdzhi and the Valley of Ghosts, there are excursion buses from the center of Alushta. The distance is about 20 kilometers, it is desirable to be in sports shoes.
- Waterfall Jur-Jur on the river Ulu-Uzen (Haphal gorge) – the most powerful in the Crimea. It is also considered the coldest, giving eternal male power. Go about 35-40 km.
- Stone mushrooms near Sotera are an inexplicable miracle of nature 17 km from Alushta.
- The Museum of the Languages of the World in Zelenogorye (almost an hour and a half to go) is an amazing experience for both adults and children, the opportunity to hear the voices of long-dead famous people and how the languages of lost civilizations sound.
Right in front of the entrance to the agora Hotel is an urban sculpture with a spinning seahorse, a favorite meeting place for locals and tourists. To come to Alushta and not to expose this location is a terrible omission.
Hotel“Agora”is a good place for travelers who are not constrained in funds, who arrived in the Crimea lightly, without children and animals and do not want to stay in chain hotels. It is a pity that the hotel will not please the restaurant, but it guarantees a comfortable stay, a decent attitude and attention to detail.