Posted by Dan on January 17, 2001 at 12:55:19:
A quick note to those interested in the Grand Hotel Wagon that runs from Kyiv to Lviv each day. I recently took the special wagon and was quite pleased with the service.
First - accommodations. Each compartment accommodates 2 passengers. The bunks are different than in normal 1st-class service in that the compartment is a bit narrower and the bunks are 1 up and 1 down - bunk bed style. Normal 1st class train service has both bunks at the same level on either side of the small dinner table and the compartment is wider.
It appears that passengers traveling with youngsters may be able to convert the couch which doubles as the lower bunk - into a 3rd bunk, but the amount of room available to the person in that middle bunk would be very small and suitable only for a small child.
Next - amenities. Each compartment has it's own wash basin. It is located beneath the table, so the table must be raised to access the basin. Both hot and cold water is available.
Linens are clean and there is no additional charge for linens as there is with normal 1st class service.
The compartment has a different type of locking door from normal 1st class that is very secure.
The wagon has 2 toilets that are immaculate, at each end of the wagon. One of the toilets is in a larger room and the other is in a small room, but both are quite clean and usable.
We discovered that, unlike normal 1st-class service - the temperature in the compartment is adjustable. One need only request the staff to adjust the temperature in your compartment and it is done.
Now - services. Each compartment comes with a bottle of mineral water for the trip. In addition, there is a relatively complete menu of food and drink items that may be ordered from the staff during the trip. The costs were reasonable and the quality was good.
Cost. Price for a one-way ticket for one person is 170 Hryvna. I recall this being only a few Hryvna more than 1st-class service, but the quality is substantially greater.
All in all, I consider this train wagon to be the highest quality I've seen in Ukraine. It is certainly tolerable, and you even feel a bit pampered with all the attention from the staff. They are VERY pleasant and helpful.
If anyone would like, I can e-mail a couple of photos I took of the compartment so that you may see the accommodations. Just send me an e-mail and let me know and I will forward them to you.
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