5 hotels with a soul
In Gdansk and the whole of the Pomeranian region there is no shortage of hotels. In our city one can find more than 20,000 places of accommodation, however only few of them are in historic hotels, original and existing for tens or thousands of years. Below are a few examples of such buildings with history and a soul.
Due to Gdansk’s historical appeal, hotels have always been a part of our landscape, especially within the Old and Main Town. In recent years dozens of new facilities have been built. And although no one is denying their comfort and great service, those who seek originality and buildings with history may feel a bit disappointed. Obviously, immense war damage played a significant role in this, however it does not mean some true, historical gems have not been preserved.
Let us remember that for many such facilities, the establishing of hotels has become a way of avoiding destruction resulting from negligence and the passage of time.
Hotel Gdansk – an overnight stay in an antique garner? By all means!
Does restoration of a historic XVII-century garner in the city centre of Gdansk make sense? Especially if its condition is abysmal? Certainly – given there is someone with the finances and idea. Here is how one of the most recognisable hotels, permanently fitting into the panorama of the marina and Szafarnia street, came into existence. Hotel Gdansk arose in a historic building, in which as many original elements as possible were preserved, thus guests can feel very special inside. Due to its age, changes that qualify a hotel to obtain 5 stars were not permitted, however this 4-star hotel offers its guests excellent customer service and comfort in vintage interiors. With time, at the back of the building, a modern 5-star segment was added. Admittedly, the extension has no flaws, but well... it is lacking the historical spirit of the original part, the garner. Aha, and in order to continue the city’s traditions, the hotel owners opened a mini-brewery in it!
Let us add, the facility itself offers 92 rooms in total and a magnificent location – a mere 10-minute walk to Neptune’s Fountain.
Sofitel Grand Sopot Hotel – a genuinely worldly place
In this case, the flamboyant building was designed and built especially for hotel purposes in the 1920s. Interestingly, the hotel was meant as “an addition” to an already existing casino nearby and was the most luxurious building of its kind in the whole of the Free City of Danzig. On this account it was initially named “Casino-Hotel”. Currently, the facility is governed by the Sofitel group and is a 5-star hotel, with a unique location and offer, which includes the casino. The view over Sopot Pier and the location in the centre of Sopot, while simultaneously being on the beachfront (with part of the beach belonging to the hotel), are additional advantages. Guests have a choice of 126 rooms.
Speaking of which... Probably no other hotel has hosted such distinguished people as the Grand Hotel. On the list we find among others: Marlene Dietrich, Fidel Castro, Charles de Gaulle, Karel Gott, Jan Kiepura, Henry Kissinger, Annie Lennox, Shakira, Omar Sharif, Reza Pahlavi, Czeslaw Milosz, Ignacy Moscicki, Demis Roussos, and even... Vladimir Putin. And these are only several names amidst an impressive guest list.
Grand Cru – 2nd life of the garner
Do you remember when we wrote about Hotel Gdansk, which is situated inside a vintage garner? It is not the only one! The 4-star Hotel Grand Cru was built in a garner as well. It is located near the Motlawa River, basically bordering the Museum of the Second World War. Its interior is mostly of original brick, composed in a modern style, which guarantees an extraordinary ambience. Let’s add a gourmet restaurant and the proximity of the most important historical landmarks of Gdansk and we get a splendid venue to spend a night (or a few) in one of 50 available rooms.
Dwor Oliwski – in the bosom of nature, yet still in the city
The 5-star luxurious Dwor Oliwski Hotel lies in the Valley of Joy in Oliwa and offers 70 rooms to its guests. Its greatest asset, except for the high standard, is the location. Surrounded by forests and ponds, with a charming brook flowing right next to it, the facility stands out in Gdansk in that respect. What makes it unique in comparison to the rest of Poland is the fact that despite the surrounding nature, a one-minute car ride is enough to get to the centre of one of the most important Gdansk quarters – historical Oliwa.
The hotel itself was built on premises that date back to the end of the XVI century. The estate quickly developed at the beginning of the XVII century, whilst manned by the Schwabe family. Then, until the Second World War, the facility changed hands approximately 20 times.
After the war, the communist authorities wanted at all costs to reorganise the compound. In the 1960s it was even planned to include a pigsty, but all efforts aimed at this failed (in the case of the pigsty, that might have been for the better). As a result, the manor deteriorated significantly and the barn and the granary collapsed.
The establishment of the Dwor Oliwski Hotel in the only remaining, original, baroque residential building, meant the beginning of a new magnificent era for this place. The manor underwent complete restoration, and with time further buildings were constructed. Nowadays, Dwor Oliwski does not resemble the dreadful ruin it was in the 1980s. There is a reason the Germany national football team chose this hotel for their stay during UEFA Euro 2012.
Podewils – or the luxury hotel in the House of the Black Boy
Exactly 200 metres from Hotel Gdansk there stands a beautiful, though inconspicuous house. It is the House of the Black Boy which, since 2001, has been the luxury boutique hotel Podewils. Where does the name of this XVIII century building come from? Its architect and first owner was Krzysztof Strzycki, whose family did not have a stonecraft legacy, therefore were called “poor Negroes” by the locals. With time, the family grew wealthy and in the wake of the money came respect. Nevertheless, remembering the affront from local craftsmen, the family decided to place a crest picturing a black person on the house. This way they pointed out the term was not derogatory to them and rubbed it in local stonemasons’ faces.
Currently the hotel offers its guests an exceptional standard and a splendid location. In the interior of its 10 rooms, antiquity harmoniously intertwines with the modern idea of comfort.
Anyone who chooses either one of the above hotels will definitely not be disappointed. History, interwoven with modernity. Comfort and great locations. In a word, enthusiasts of historic hotels have plenty to choose from!