A lot of newly-constructed hotels are not only comfortable retreats but also notable works of architecture. While hotel industry experts emphasise that tourist accommodation in Poland should expand, we show below that it’s worth looking after not only guests’ comfort, but also the shape of the buildings they’ll be staying in.
Puro Hotel chain
We usually associate hotel chains with uniformity – they look the same all around the world. The Puro hotel chain is different. So far it consists of four buildings – in Wrocław, Kraków, Poznań and Gdańsk – with new hotels coming to Łódź, Warsaw and the Kazimierz district in Kraków. Each of these cosy buildings is different, with both the outside and the inside of the hotels attracting attention.
Puro hotels are constructed in historic old town areas – accordingly, their design has to correspond to their elegant surroundings and meet the requirements set by conservators. The example set by these four hotels shows that it is possible to design a building integrated with the historic setting, simultaneously appropriate and modern. The Puro hotels in Poznań (design: ASW Architekci), Gdańsk (design: KD Kozikowski Design), Wrocław (design: Autorska Pracownia Architektury Hubka) and Kraków (design: B'ART Pracownia Architektury, Urbanistyki i Wnętrz, Bartłomiej Biełyszew) interconnect with the shapes and the dimensions of adjacent architecture. The buildings in Poznań and Gdańsk directly imitate historic tenement houses, but the layout and shapes of the windows, the materials and finishing, all leave no doubt that they were built in the 21st century. Each of them is simply an interesting piece of modern architecture that’s refined both inside and out.
Andel’s Hotel, Łódź
This hotel in Łódź should hit the spot with enthusiasts of excellent modern design, as well as connoisseurs of industrial architecture. The building was repurposed from an old spinning mill in Izrael Poznański’s textile factory, originally built between 1877 to 1878. Every element of the immense complex has been given a new life – the hotel neighbours the Manufaktura mall and a branch of Muzeum Sztuki (The Art Museum). The five-storey spinning mill located at Ogrodowa Street accommodates the hotel.
The project to adapt the brick building for new purposes was developed by architects from the Vienna-based firm OP Architekten – Wojciech Popławski and Andrzej Orliński. The designers retained the post-industrial nature of the building and approached the historic backdrop with respect. The designer duo Jestico + Whiles from London had a different idea for the interior. It contains a lot of modern solutions, smart details and original spaces. The hotel’s hallmarks include a spacious hall dominated by the upper-level galleries (their futuristic shape invokes a spaceship) and a glazed pool on the last storey.
Completed in 2016, Ovo is a multifunctional building in the centre of Wrocław. Its original body was designed by Gottesman-Szmelcman Architecture. The oval structure accommodates office spaces, apartments, shops as well as a hotel.
A part of the Double Tree by Hilton chain, the five-star hotel has both guest rooms and conference spaces as well as a ballroom. However, its distinguishing quality is its architectural form. The aptly-named Ovo’s oval shape invokes a big egg. Its futuristic exterior is emphasised by the elegant cladding made of a material called corian – white and exceptionally smooth (both are rare characteristics of walls in cities).
Hotel Park Inn, Kraków
Built in 2009 in Kraków by the River Wisła, the futuristic cutting-edge Hotel Park Inn opens to the Wawel Castle, the Kazimierz district, and the elaborately-named Church of St Michael the Archangel and St Stanislaus Bishop and Martyr. Shortly after, an equally expressive body of the ICE Congress Centre (designed by Ingarden&Ewý) was built nearby – the two buildings constitute a unique complex, an island of modern architecture in a city centre dominated by historic monuments.
Hotel Park Inn in Kraków was designed (in co-operation with the Polish architectural firm Ovotz design Lab) by Jürgen Mayer H., a German architect famous for futuristic, even abstract designs. The hotel in Kraków is just that – the building’s shape is irregular and the round edges and ovalness of the façade invoke organic forms (some note its resemblance to human tissue). The body of the building is complemented by a façade made of argentine and dark aluminium strips, all arranged horizontally on the front and vertically on the side façades.
Baltic Palace, Pobierowo
The new architecture of Polish resorts by the Baltic sea doesn’t get particularly good press. Many people still believe that investors in seaside regions are inclined to kitsch, tacky, gaudy and flashy forms. Luckily, more and more buildings are proving otherwise.
While designing the Baltic Palace in Pobierowo, Piotr Michalewicz and Mateusz Tański challenged at least two stereotypes: one about the low quality of the coastal architecture, and the other about the imperative of constructing ornamental and historicising resorts. Sleek, high, and finished with a pent roof, the building has a glass façade running from the top of the roof far into the pavement – these smoothly flowing bands of glass are accentuated by the illumination of the frontage. The glass on the façade is complemented by white spaces, giving the building a soft, almost ethereal air. The architects themselves point out the source of their inspiration as avant-garde modernist architecture. However, they didn’t copy it – they just translated it into the language of the 21st century.
Sound Garden Hotel, Warsaw
Hotel Sound Garden is not a typical accommodation facility. It’s the first self-service hotel in Poland with electronic kiosks instead of a reception desk and an app used to reserve rooms. Each level of the hotel has its own mood evoked by music (with a rock, jazz or nature-sounds levels), as well as a storey dedicated to women.
Located on a route running to Warsaw Chopin Airport, the hotel is a part of the Business Garden office complex. The structure designed by JSK Architekci could constitute a set for a science-fiction film. The architects have created an enclave of slightly off-the-wall yet stylish objects, some floating on columns, some with semi-rotund walls. The courts are covered by wavy roofs full of holes like a Swiss cheese, with all that surrounded by carefully arranged greenery. The designers explain their project:
The idea emerged from a concept of an architectural frame along the streets surrounding a more-than-six-hectare area, and a calm green inside protected from the hustle and bustle of the city.
Poziom 511 Hotel, Ogrodzieniec
At 511 metres above sea level, the Poziom 511 (editor’s translation: Level 511) hotel was created right by the picturesque ruins of the castle in Ogrodzieniec amid the rocks of the Polish Jurassic Highland. The spot used to be occupied by a youth hostel, but the new proprietor decided to focus on more demanding clientele and he commissioned the adaptation of the building into an elegant hotel and spa.
The design of the hotel was created by Tomasz Wuczyński (Plus Architecture Studio) and Marcin Ciszewski and Rafał Ciszewski (pdv architekci). What distinguishes the building? It stands out because… it’s hardly noticeable. The architects managed to integrate the building into the landscape without interfering with it. They intended to ‘hide’ the hotel among rocks and trees while simultaneously not dominating the area. Segmented into a chain of pavilions, the building is embedded in the rocky face of a mountain, partially below ground level (this way its guests may admire the unique rock formations through glazing). The solution kills two birds with one stone – the new building doesn’t violate the picturesque landscape, while the guests get to come in contact with nature.
Narvil Hotel, Serock
The Zegrze Reservoir near Warsaw is a popular leisure place with many hotels as well as training and conference buildings. The majority of them have little architectural value. Luckily, there are exceptions.
Narvil Hotel can’t be seen from the road – it’s hidden among trees, which has determined the form of the building. The aim of the building’s designer Kondrad Rubaszkiewicz was to inscribe the building into the picturesque landscape. This is why the hotel is made up of several smaller segments arranged in the greenery. The pavilion with a conference room has a glass façade divided by so-called muntins, diagonal bars mimicking tree trunks. Some façades are made of wood and the roof is covered with greenery. Integrating the building into nature didn’t interfere with its air of being a luxurious modern building.
Bałtyk Hotel, Kołobrzeg
The debate about protecting architectural heritage from the second half of the 20th century has been ongoing for many years in Poland. The buildings constructed under the communist regime require renovation and modernisation, but a lot of them deserve a new life. Here’s evidence.
Sanatorium Uzdrowiskowe Bałtyk (editor’s translation: Baltic Spa Sanatorium) was constructed on Kołobrzeg beach in 1964. The project was created by Halina Gurianowa and Edmund Goldzamt who were inspired by what was then cutting-edge modernist architecture. The architects broke the uniformity of the body with diagonal loggias and a glazed curved restaurant pavilion reaching far into the beach. Between 2012 and 2014, the hotel underwent renovation. The modernisation was planned by Tomasz Karpowicz (Pracownia Projektowa Architekta) who retained all Gurianowa and Goldzamt’s ideas and approached the modernist architecture with respect. The added storey didn’t interfere with the original design – the building regained its former glory and still serves the needs of its visitors.
Hotel Park, Wrocław
It’s the oldest building on the list, yet it’s still modern. Although it was built nearly 90 years ago, the innovativeness of the applied functional and architectural solutions can still compete with newly constructed buildings.
In 1929, Wrocław saw in the unique WUWA (Wohnungs und Werkraumausstellung – Living and Workplace) exhibition of architecture and design. It was an overview of the newest approaches to life in big cities, a glimpse into the future of architecture. Renowned modernist Hans Scharoun designed A House for Isolated People and Families without Children – a building with small apartments designed to fulfil the needs of tenants despite limited space. Scharoun decided to adopt a creative solution – the small apartments have three storeys. The body of the building itself is also quite clever – the building resembles a boat.
This unique building is one of the ‘showpieces’ of the WUWA exhibition which are still standing and are used today. The building is now owned by Ośrodek Szkolenia Państwowej Inspekcji Pracy (editor’s translation: The Training Centre of the Chief Labour Inspectorate) and is now a hotel. Everybody can book a room and check if the innovative concepts brought forward by those German modernists have stood the test of time.
Originally written in Polish, 27 Jul 2017, translated by AP, 4 Aug 2017