The city’s cherished landmark to begin a new awakening in its cultural identity after first opening in 1857
Early 2018, Raffles Europejski Warsaw will open its doors to welcome a new chapter in an extraordinary history which spans 160 years.
In the heart of the city, on the Royal Route, neighboring the cobbled streets of the Old Town with its own high-end retail space; 106 timelessly elegant suites will come alive mixing bespoke furniture, oak floors, a corner library and a carefully curated Polish art by Anda Rottenberg and Barbara Piwowarska.
Proudly Polish, from the original 19th century cornicing, now restored, to the 21st century mural by Jaroslaw Flicinski specially commissioned for the Long Bar. The rich blend of Polish heritage, skilled local craftsmen and contemporary art at Raffles Europejski Warsaw is a narrative of the nation’s history.
Built by Enrico Marconi in 1857 it quickly became enshrined in history, its glamorous New Year’s Eve ball parties, immortalized in the Polish 19th century classic, “The Doll” by Boleslaw Prus. In the 1880’s, Polish artists such as Józef Chelmonski and Stanislaw Witkiewicz had their studios there and the hotel resonated with fin-de-siècle glamour; its patisserie a well-known haunt of writers and poets. In the 20th century it witnessed Poland regaining its independence, the centenary of which is marked next year, before the devastation of World War II and the decades of communism that followed.
Chris Cahill, CEO AccorHotels Luxury Brands says: “We are delighted to be opening the iconic Raffles Europejski Warsaw, such a landmark in the city of Warsaw, to which we will bring the legendary Raffles service, known for its benchmark standard across the globe, as well as a series of gastronomic delights, stunning ballroom and conference facilities, and a beautiful spa. The Raffles Europejski Warsaw will offer the visitor bespoke luxury and beautiful art-filled interiors, building on the past and preserving for the future as it opens for its next exciting chapter in the very heart of Warsaw.”
Restored to its rightful pre-war owners in 2005, a majority stake was later taken in the hotel by Vera Michalski-Hoffmann a publisher and patron of the arts. New owner shared the vision with the descendants of the founders to not only return to the Polish people a hotel as luxurious in the 21st century as it had been in its 19th century heyday, but to also create a showcase for the best of Polish modern and contemporary art.
Julien Barbotin-Larrieu, representing the owning company, H.E.S.A., explained their choice of Raffles to manage the property: “With Raffles at the helm of the hotel, a brand synonymous with heritage and luxury, whose own illustrious history, began just thirty years after the Europejski’s with the iconic Raffles Singapore, we feel confident about bringing a new level of luxury to Warsaw; one that is as much about the cultural experience as the comfort. Our aim is to provide a real sense of place, allowing guests to understand the soul of Poland by immersing themselves in the art, the gastronomy and the history which they will be surrounded with, on a level as yet unsurpassed in the capital.”
The 106 elegant guest rooms and suites will be the largest in the city yet, with the Raffles Suite a magnificent 293 sq. meters. Interior design comes courtesy of Warsaw-based internationally acclaimed WWAA Architecture practice together with National Opera House stage designer Boris Kudlicka and APA Wojciechowski team. WWAA’s previous projects include the Polish Pavilion for Expo in Shanghai and they are known for an interdisciplinary approach with a focus on storytelling, a perfect match for Raffles Europejski Warsaw which is a grand story, rich with detailed narrative waiting to be unveiled. Drawing on the very Polish element of wood, floors come in blackened oak or in traditional marquetry, glossy veneer clads cupboard doors and brass adds turn-of-the century elegance. Furniture and lighting is mostly bespoke and commissioned from local craftsmen and designers. Running through the hotel are references to Warsaw, whether in the skyline of the city etched into the marble of the bathrooms or the River Vistula which cuts through it, represented in an art installation behind the reception desk. Previous eras of the hotel have not been forgotten with original cornicing and ceiling roses immaculately restored in the restaurant and the Spa, complete with six treatment rooms and the pool, housing a mosaic from the hotel’s 1960’s incarnation.
Spanish designers Lazaro Rosa Violan are spearheading the design of the Signature restaurant which will flow out onto the terrace of the magnificent Pilsudski Square, with the eternal flame of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at its far side. Interiors will be a bold mix of blue and white referencing Polish pottery traditions. There will also be a Long Bar and a Humidor, complete with a patisserie to serve the much loved Polish cakes and pastries.
Born in Germany and brought up in Paris, the General Manager of Raffles Europejski Warsaw is Thomas Guss, the third generation of hoteliers in his family, who brings with him an experience in 5* star hotels that stretches from mainland China to Berlin.
Today, the iconic Raffles collection includes 11 distinguished addresses around the world. In Europe, Le Royal Monceau, Raffles Paris is the most exciting palace hotel in the City of Lights, combining Parisian Chic with relaxed sophistication. Raffles Europejski Warsaw will set a new standard for luxury in the historical city while reinventing one of Poland’s most iconic and best loved buildings. Raffles has also recently announced a partnership to complete its already stunning portfolio with an exclusive asset in London, transforming the Old War Office into a new British symbol of hospitality. This November, Raffles Dubai celebrates 10 years since opening its doors and welcoming its very first guests. Meanwhile Raffles Hotel Singapore, the iconic Grande Dame has announced that it will embark on a careful and sensitive restoration program.