Dvir Guesthouse - The Inside Story

My first experience staying at the Dvir Guesthouse, over a period of two weeks in September 2005, was not exactly trouble-free. In the first few days of my stay, there was frequently no running water (apparently due to a temporary problem with the municipal supply), and having hot water for a shower was a “hit or miss” affair. Most frustrating was the fact that the staff would not clean the room if they were not given back the (supposedly one and only) room key. It was five days into my stay before the room was serviced properly, because the responsible staff were never around to take the key when I left in the morning.

I grew accustomed to visits from the caretaker at around 2230 every evening to collect money for that night’s accommodation, even though I had made it clear that I would be staying for two weeks. This became a bit tedious, as it involved filling out a detailed receipt with passport number etc. every day, but it did provide an opportunity to request that towels and sheets be changed. Somehow, the standard practice of paying the bill at the end of one's stay and having the room cleaned during the daytime doesn't seem to have filtered through to this establishment.

One morning I discovered to my great surprise that the main door to the guestrooms is locked from the outside overnight, and cannot be opened from the inside, since the guests are not given the key. I ended up rousing someone from bed at 0700, using my mobile phone, in order to let me out. What would happen in case of an emergency in the middle of the night is another matter altogether. On my second visit, I got locked out of the guesthouse at 0200, but was able to rouse the caretaker who didn't seem to mind being disturbed at that hour.

During my second stay, in mid-2006, the cleaning regime improved and the daily payment routine was eased somewhat, however my requests to be given receipts were never fulfilled. Just a few months later, in October, I was informed that the price of my regular room had been increased from 100 to 150 Hryvnia since my previous visit. There appeared to be nothing to justify the 50% increase, except perhaps the provision of 'real' (Western style) toilet paper – bright green, no less – instead of the standard gray Ukrainian issue. The solution was to move to a slightly smaller, quieter room which cost 100 Hryvnia per night. The notion of servicing (i.e. basic cleaning) the room every day continued to be something of a novelty.

NEW TWIST: In June 2007, I made arrangements through a friend in town to stay in the same room during my two week visit, but on arrival I was informed that the room wasn't available. Apparently the manageress had decided that it was more profitable to rent out that particular room for short stays of 2-3 hours, several times each day. In a twist of fate, the decision of "Madame" to enter the brothel business was fortuitous for me, as the alternative arrangements I was compelled to make on short notice worked out brilliantly.

So where does this leave my opinion of the Dvir Guesthouse? I suppose that if you really want to stay in Tovste for a day or two, the largest room on offer (for 200 Hryvnia per night, including cable TV) is still not a bad option, simply because of the convenience of staying in town. For the time being, if one is willing to accept the ideosyncracies of the place, the advantages of proximity go some way to justifying the premium price that one has to pay.