It’s nice to look nice but beauty should be more than skin deep. Blow Up Hall 5050 bills itself as “an interactive art piece, comprising a restaurant and bar along with a hotel” and certainly looks amazing, but does have drawbacks. The first of those is the room key: there isn’t one. Instead the receptionist, who doesn’t have anything as ugly as a desk, hands you an iPhone which guides you to your door (mere numbers on doors having
been rejected in favour of TV screens) and unlocks it. Great, until the battery dies; then you need to go back to the receptionist to get a charger (you can’t call them: there’s no phone in the room). Then you need to go back again to ask where a socket might be hidden.
BUH5050 is designed to look superb but very little thought has gone into making it good to stay in. The first “Petite Boutique” room the Mrs & I were offered featured a toilet within touching distance of the beautiful pillows on the bed; that isn’t necessarily a problem, but is when there’s a 2cm gap between the toilet door and the door-frame and you’re dining at the Taj India (home to Poznan’s worst vindaloo).
The replacement room looked divine apart from the bathroom: instead of one bathroom the lavatory and the shower were housed separately in what would have made ideal wardrobes for dwarves who don’t have many clothes. But at least those doors appeared to close (pity about the shower door letting water flood past) and the window offered a lovely view of a plant pot and a brick wall. That said, a brick wall is far nicer to look at than the corridor outside the room: I’ve never taken really bad LSD but the effects must be much like being stuck in that corridor.
The good news is that the staff in the gorgeous hotel bar have been highly trained by cocktail legend Mr Daniel Undhammer (formerly of Porto Praga and Essence) and are thus capable of making drinks so good you’re actually pleased to be at Blow Up Hall; we spent more on cocktails than the room. The problem comes when you need to make space for more drinks: your WC options are either down the three flights of slippery (but magnificent) stairs to the lobby or nipping into the Stary Browar shopping/leisure complex the hotel is attached to. Choosing the latter, I got lost and stumbled into a night-club which had time-warped back from hell during the mid-90s: lots of UV lights and people wearing white tops and stone-washed jeans.
There are surely worse hotels in Poland than this, but it’s hard to think of one that’s more bizarre. Part hotel, part avant-garde experiment, staying here is certainly an experience, although perhaps not one you’ll want to repeat in a hurry. (C. Swindells)
Poznań, tel. 500 161 671, www.blowuphall5050.com