In this review we will stay at My Warm Guest House, which rents out apartments in central Batumi.
Kutaisi to Batumi
After a great day in Kutaisi it was time to travel on. My next destination on this trip was Batumi, Georgia’s second largest city and a bustling seaside resort.
Unfortunately, Georgia’s railway network is rather limited and there aren’t any trains between Kutaisi and Batumi.
Therefore I had no choice but to take a marshrutka – the ubiquitous minibus services found all over the former Soviet Union – to travel to the Georgian coast.
From my Kutaisi guesthouse I took a taxi to some crossroads in front of the Kutaisi-2 railway station on the outskirts of town from where the minibuses to Batumi depart.
Whether you love or loathe them, you can’t deny that marshrutkas are a cheap, relatively fast and flexible way to travel.
However, the downsides are quite clear as well as marshrutkas can get overcrowded and aren’t very comfortable.
Marshrutkas don’t always operate on fixed timetables but rather depart when they are full, which means that on popular routes like the one between Kutaisi and Batumi they fill up quickly and you never have to wait around long before departure.
Even if you cannot read the Georgian alphabet and are unable to decipher the destination shields on the front window of each marshrutka, it won’t be hard to find the right minibus as the drivers often shout out the destination and are pro-actively looking around for potential passengers in order to fill the vehicle as fast as possible.
When I arrived at the marshrutka departure point, I was quickly hushed into a waiting vehicle as the last passenger.
On the bright side that meant that as soon as I got in we departed, although it also meant that I had to take the last available seat being squeezed in between three other persons on the last, windowless row of seats.
The long road to Batumi
Being robbed of views by my windowless seat, the ride on the bumpy Georgian roads to Batumi seemed to take forever.
Even though Google Maps said the ride would only be 2 hours and 38 minutes, in reality it was more like four hours due to bad traffic, awful road conditions and lots of stops once we hit the main coastal road.
At that point it seemed like passengers were going on and off the marshrutka every mile.
Shortly before Batumi the marshrutka emptied out and I was lucky enough to be able to change seats. I grabbed a seat on the right hand side which faced the coast and was lucky enough to take a quick picture of the impressive Batumi skyline during the last few miles of the journey.
During the journey I regularly checked our progress on Google Maps using GPS and when the marshrutka was driving as close as possible to my accommodation along the main coastal road, I asked to be let off.
Although it was a bit of a challenge finding a suitable point to cross the congested street, it took me just 10 minutes of walking to get to my apartment for the next two nights.
Even though Georgia is generally an affordable destination, accommodation in Batumi is fairly expensive during the high summer months.
This Black Sea resort city has always been a popular summer holiday destination, even back in the days of the USSR you had flights from all across the former Soviet Union to Batumi.
Batumi still is a destination that is popular with Russians, Armenians and of course also among Georgians themselves. You will also find plenty of holidaying Turks in Batumi as well as Arabs escaping the summer heat of the Middle East.
This reflects in accommodation prices, with especially the new modern chain hotels (and their no-name copycats) asking prices of at least 150 EUR per night or even double that.
When searching online for accommodation, you get the feeling that Batumi has a considerably worse value for money ratio than the Georgian capital of Tbilisi.
Of course, there are plenty of cheap guesthouses and pensions to be found in Batumi’s suburbs or in nearby towns along the coast, but finding some in downtown Batumi can be a real challenge.
My Warm Guest House
Fortunately, I was luckily able to secure a decent deal with My Warm Guest House, which rents out apartments in a building in the heart of the old town of Batumi.
Even though the rate I paid of 90 euro per night is certainly not cheap for Georgian standards, it was one of the cheapest accommodation options I could find in Batumi which still had rooms available.
I was given an apartment with a lovely balcony overlooking one of the old town streets and with a side view towards the boulevard and sea.
The apartment itself featured two single beds, a fully equipped kitchen and a bathroom. Although the apartment lacked decorations and charm, it certainly was sufficient for my needs.
Best of all about My Warm Guest House was the great service. The staff at the reception desk were delightfully welcoming and helpful.
Whenever I had a question or small request, they would go out of their way to help you, whether it’s giving restaurant recommendations or explaining you the local marshrutka routes to more faraway sights in town such as the Batumi botanical gardens.
Another nice touch were the two 0.5L glass bottles in the room with complementary wine and chacha (Georgian grape brandy which can easily be up to 65% in alcohol).
The red wine, which was homemade, was so delicious that I even inquired whether I could buy some of it to bring home. The woman working at the reception happily agreed, taking two empty 1L Coca Cola bottles and filling them to the brim with homemade wine from a large 5L canister.
All combined, I had an excellent stay at My Warm Guest House Batumi and would certainly recommend it to those looking for a central apartment in the centre of Batumi.
Sure, the apartment might lack charm and like most of Batumi’s accommodation options it is overpriced, but this didn’t weigh up against all the positive aspects of My Warm Guest House.
First of all it is the location, as the apartments of My Warm Guest House are located in a building in the heart of the old town and are just a stone’s throw away from the seaside boulevard.
The apartment itself was reasonably comfortable, well-equipped and clean and the welcoming and helpful staff at My Warm Guest House went out of their way to make my stay as pleasant as possible.
I therefore certainly would be open to staying again at My Warm Guest House Batumi – especially if they still make that damn tasty homemade red wine!
Trip report index
This article is part of the ‘Khachapuri & Kebabs: A Summer Trip to Georgia and Turkey‘ trip report, which consists of the following chapters:
1. Review: Wizz Air Bucharest to Kutaisi (Airbus A320)
2. A Day in Kutaisi, the Charming Capital of Imereti
3. Caves, Churches and Monasteries – A Kutaisi Day Trip
4. Review: My Warm Guest House, Batumi, Georgia (current chapter)
5. Beautiful Batumi – The Pearl of Georgia’s Black Sea Coast
6. From Georgia to Turkey: Batumi to Kars by Bus
7. Review: Kars Konak Hotel, Kars, Turkey
8. A Day Trip From Kars to the Ancient Armenian City of Ani
9. Goose, Cheese and Russian Remnants: A Visit to Kars, Turkey
10. Review: Dogu Express Night Train Kars to Ankara, Turkey
11. Review: AnadoluJet Ankara to Izmir (Boeing 737-800)
12. Review: Ege Palas Business Hotel, Izmir, Turkey
13. Izmir: Turkey’s Most Liberal and Liveable City
14. Ancient Ephesus: An Easy Day Trip From Izmir
15. A Visit to the Hilltop Wine Village of Sirince
16. A Beach Trip From Izmir to Cesme and Ilica
17. Foça: A Beautiful Seaside Town to Visit From Izmir
18. Flying Back Home With Atlasglobal and TAROM