The line between Western and Eastern Europe has been debated upon throughout the years, the rich history of the hotels has stood the test of that time. Here are four of the most historic hotels of Eastern Europe and their claim to fame.
Hotel Grande Bretagne – Athens, Greece
Built as Athen’s first Stadtpalais (townhouse for the wealthy) in 1842, this ninety-room mansion was the beginning of todays’ 320 room hotel. In 1874 the mansion sold and became the Hotel Grande Bretagne, one of the finest hotels in Athens. After the multiple world wars, when peace came to region, the hotel resumed regular business which has remained to date. Currently, the Grande Bretagne boasts a rooftop indoor/outdoor pool, a workout studio and full service spa, along with a state of the art business center. The suites offer an option for butler service and babysitting services upon request.
Belmond Grand Hotel Europe – Saint Petersburg, Russia
In the 1820s this hotel was built as an inn and remained in business until 1875 when it was purchased and renovated into the Belmond. The first claim to fame of the Belmond was its dining area lit by electric bulbs, the first in Saint Petersburg. Known as one of Europe’s most glamorous hotels, it attracted visitors such as Tchaikovsky and George Bernard Shaw. In 1989 the Belmond went through a vast restoration. Today the halls are decorated with priceless art, which was once acquired from aristocratic homes and stored in the basement of the original hotel for more than a century.
Hotel Alchymist Nosticova Palace – Prague, Czech Republic
Prague has a lengthy history some claim dating back to 1306 B.C.It was once known as the center for alchemy, art, and mystical learning. The Hotel Alchymist was appropriately named for those reasons and has a foundation from 1522 A.D. when it was a single story home. The arched ceilings, timberwork, and parts of the stone entrance from those times are still intact today. There are records of hotel operation here as early as 1658 and numerous renovations and owners since then. Today it stands as an elegant four-story period themed hotel thanks to its owner Giorgio Bonelli. The Alchymist has 16 luxury rooms and suites each with there own Gothic period furnishings and decor. There are daily wine and cheese tastings in the dining room and the hotel offers airport transfers.
St. George Residence – Budapest, Hungary
St. George occupies a 700-year-old building comprised of three Baroque homes from 1311 and has been in operation for more than 200 years. In the beginning, the Inn was called Fortune and was a destination for prominent travelers like Archduke Ferdinand. Around 1837 a stray cannonball struck the side of the courtyard wall and is still visible today. From 1872 until 1966 the building wore many hats: it became a printing house, court of law, and drawing school. Then, in 1966 the Hungarian Museum of Catering and Trade took up occupancy. Finally, in 2006 the doors opened as St. George Residence.