2018 – Warsaw
HOTEL EUROPEJSKI, WARSAW – THE REOPENING
Some may ask the reason of this article, others will simply think that’s a wonderful venue for the next trip to Poland. Well, for me it means a great pride and honour to have brought my small contribution to this colossal project of renovation.
A new opening, among the most awaited ones in the entire European arena, that will bring a new important actor on the already very lively and constantly moving gastronomic capital of Warsaw.
The hotel, with its 103 suites in the very heart of the city, will feature a splendid Grill Restaurant, were contemporary cuisine will be served, offering the refined taste of some Polish classics, a “hand-picked touch” granted by the best local products. The Long Bar, inspired to the Raffles rich Singaporean tradition, where an Asian-fusion tapas selection will be proposed.
An old Hotel wine list from 1939, recovered from the archives (see image), pointed out the international opening to classic regions such as Bordeaux, Burgundy, Champagne, Germany, etc…
The message I felt compelled to deliver to all those browsing through the 2018 version of the “carte des vins” is this sense of respect for the past and traditions, with a fair showcase on the classics merged with a representative view of central Europe wines. You’ll find some iconic references from Austria and Germany, some rising stars from Hungary, stretching from the volcanic micro appellation of Somlo to Tokaji and of course Poland, with its emerging wave of passionate producers.
The challenge was to maintain this “core message” intact and at the same time to deliver a feeling of freshness and sustainability. More than half of the wine list features organic (or biodynamic) producers, the remaining part are in integrated production.
As a sign of “quality without compromise”, the house champagne comes from some of the best terroirs of the Côte de Blancs, a small “recoltant-manipulant” working according to the biodynamic principles in effect since almost twenty years.
Considering the local and cultural context, I’m personally truly proud of this message Europejski wanted to deliver to all customers and colleagues in the hospitality business!
I really hope it will soon become one of the European temples of elegance, cultural life and culinary pleasures!
Wine Rose contribution:
- Construction of the suppliers’ network
- Wine selection (Grill restaurant, Long Bar, Room service)
- Staff training program
Special thanks to the Raffles management team, Mr Benat Alonzo, executive Chef, Mr Witek Iwanski, Grill Chef, Mr Thomas Reymond, F&B Director,
for their preciouos collaboration and inspiring work that made every moment spent on the project a exciting and enriching time!
My very best wishes to all of you for this new beginning!
A piece of the Hotel’s history
Located on the historical Royal Route and close to Warsaw Old Town, the hotel originally opened on January 1, 1857. Designed by Enrico Marconi, it was one of the most luxurious hotels in the Russian Empire. It was expanded in 1907 according to the design of the architect Czeslaw Przybylski. In the beginning of the the years 1920s the company Hotel Europejski Spółka Akcyjna (HESA) was formed by Przeździecki and Czetwertyński families. Seweryn Czetwertyński, who was married to Zofia Przeździecka, became the first president of HESA.
The hotel was renamed the Europäisches Hotel during the German occupation in World War II and used to house Wehrmacht officers. During the Warsaw Uprising in 1944 ( August 1 to October 2) the building sitted untouched. The first evidence of the hotel’s burning out exists in aerial photographs taken by the Luftwaffe at the end of October, 1944, several weeks after the Warsaw Uprising ended. The destruction of one of the corners did not take place until January 1945, barely a week before Soviet forces entered the nearly empty city.
In 1945, after the liberation of Warsaw, the original owners received permission from the government to rebuild the hotel and set up a cafe in the surviving section of the building. However, before they could rebuild, the hotel was seized by the government in 1948 as a result of the Bierut Decrees. The building was rebuilt from 1949-1951 to designs by Bohdan Pniewski as a military school, with a balustrade added along the top, and a recreation of the ruined sections of the exterior. Many surviving interior elements were removed, including the grand staircase and ballrooms, replacing them were dormitories, classrooms and a gymnasium. The building served as the Military Political Academy (Akademia Wojskowa Polityczna) from 1951-1954 and then as offices for the Ministry of Transport. In 1956 the Polish government decided to return the building to its former use as a hotel. From 1956-1957, the empty building was used to house Jewish emigrants from the Soviet Union.
The building was transferred to the Orbis state tourist company in 1959 and converted back to a hotel, with Bohdan Pniewski again serving as architect, along with Bohdan Kijowicz.
The resulting hotel had 260 rooms and 13 suites. It reopened to guests on July 2, 1962 as the Orbis Hotel Europejski. In 1965, The Golden Gate Quartet performed their only concert in Poland here.
After the fall of communism, in 1993, the heirs of the hotel’s original owners sued to regain the hotel from the state-run Orbis Hotels chain. The case took 12 years, as Orbis claimed they had constructed the current building and invested a great deal of money in it. The heirs were successful in their lawsuit, and the hotel was closed and handed over to them between the end of June and September 2005. While preparations were made for a complete restoration, spaces on the ground floor were rented out to shops and cafes, and space in the building was rented out as offices. The structure was completely closed in 2013 for refurbishment. In May 2018 the hotel reopens under the Raffles-Accord group managing the operation.