In Zagreb you are somewhat screwed when it comes to hotels. Because there are mostly business travelers here and few vacationers, the prices are a bit out of whack. There are some dirty crap places that are cheap and some other options further out of town that are pretty good. But, like most European towns, anything near the center is expensive.
As I see it, there are three options. One is the youth hostel on Petrijnska Ulica. A friend stayed there some time ago and was okay with it. I ran in some other travelers recently who are staying there and when pressed about the conditions, had some rather frowny faces and gave it a big thumbs down. So, after that, you move in to something like Hotel Ilica which is pretty centrally located, a bit west to the center and maybe a 20 minute walk at most from Glavni Kolodvor. Apparently it is okay and at about $50 or so a night for a single is really the only “bargain” around.
After these two options, you move in to the main hotels, which start around $100 a night for a single. Yes, that is right, $100 a night. You get a better rate the longer you stay and the further in advance you make the reservation. My last two trips to Zagreb I stayed in the Hotel Astoria which now that it has been remodeled, is quite nice. Not cheap, but quite nice.
Now there is the latest option I have tried, which is the Palace Hotel on Strossmayerov Trg about 200m up from the main train station. Very central, very old, and very posh posh. My room normally costs $143 a night and that is for a single. I paid far, far less than this though because I stayed for seven nights and reserved way in advance.
Overall, I would say that I recommend the hotel. It is nice. It has an old world class to it which is nice. But honestly, for the price, I would expect more. The breakfast service is okay. I think the one I had In Ljubljana at a hotel 2/3 the price was better to be honest. The rooms are nice, but nothing that I am crazy about. They have also been doing construction on what seems to be the entire 2nd Floor and they start banging and sawing right at 7AM. This sucks and if they had been smart, they would have mentioned it because instead of being upset about it, I could have avoided it.
One last thing is that the walls are rather thin. My neighbors were very nice in going to sleep at 1AM, but only after having a round of what sounded like some really great, passionate Slavic sex next door. Actually, come to think of it, I do not really have any complaints about that part. There is something soothing about moans coming from a couple next door, punctuated by a language you do not really understand except of course for, “Dobro, dobro, puno dobro! Da, Da Da!”
Oh yeah, also not the best place for we younger folks, since, due to the price it seems to mainly be older folks or business travelers. I wish I had given the Ilica a try, but there is always next time and there will always be a next time.
Update: I actually wrote this the day before checkout and after checking out, I would like to add that this is one of the most rude and unhelpful staffs I have encountered in a long while. I would have to say that I really recommend this hotel to no one and encountered other unhappy guests while I was there. Maybe some find it good, but for this price, the Hotel Astoria is a much better choice.