The capital of Poland since the end of the 16th century, Warsaw is also its largest city. Most of the city was destroyed by the Nazis in the Second World War. But the city was painstakingly rebuilt from the rubble and special effort was made to ensure that the new buildings were in resonance with the glory of Warsaw’s past.
Summers in the city range from mild to hot, but the temperatures do plunge later in the day making the evenings a little chilly. Winters are very cold with snow and overnight frost being common occurences. The climate in Warsaw is most suitable for visitors from May to September.
Warsaw’s turbulent past has led to a rich and diverse influence on the culture, design and the architecture of the city. The panorama reflects nearly every architectural style spanning all periods. At the same time, modern infrastructure has pushed Warsaw high up amongst the most livable cities on the globe.
A Lesson In History
The three-storey building that houses the H15 Boutique Hotel may appear dwarfed against Warsaw’s modern skyline dominated by skyscrapers but the history housed in this little structure makes it stand tall and proud.
Built as a private residence at the end of the 19th century, in the 100-odd years since then the building served as the headquarters of the Soviet Embassy and then the German army.
After an elaborate restoration process, the doors of the building, in its newest avatar as the H15 Boutique Hotel, were thrown open in the year 2012. H15 Boutique Hotel is a member of Design Hotels. The modern look of the hotel has incorporated many of the insignia of its colourful history such as the hammer and sickle from its Soviet occupation days.
A chequerboard courtyard forms the centre of the hotel with rooms of varied sizes radiating out of here. The rooms are accessorised with a mix of contemporary Italian furniture and bespoke desks, chairs and cabinets. Bleached oak floors, bright furnishings and vibrant pop art on the walls complete the chic ambience of the rooms.
At the H15 Boutique Hotel, heritage and modern luxury blend quite effortlessly and lend it an ambience that stands out in the towering Warsaw cityscape.
A Walk In The Park
Green spaces are an important part of the city of Warsaw and take up 8% of the city’s area. The largest of these is the Lazienki Park aka Royal Baths Park that was designed in the 18th century in the baroque style. Many statues, fountains and temples are strewn across the 76 hectares occupied by the Park.
The Palace on the Water is the oldest and amongst the most stunning of them all. The Chopin monument was added in the early 20th century and serves to inspire budding musicians who gather at its base to practice his compositions. The Roman style theatre which still serves as a performance venue, the Temple of Diana with its murals of flowers and fruit and the old Orangery are some other noteworthy buildings.
A Tall Order
Much before the cement skyscrapers encroached over the skies of Warsaw, the Palace of Culture and Science had already claimed its space under the sun.
Built in the 1950s, the edifice continues to remain the tallest building in Poland. The Palace was conceived as a gift from the Soviet Union to the Poles.
Elements of Soviet realism, Polish architecture and American art deco come together in what is the most visible structure of Warsaw.
The building may not yet have endeared itself to the citizens of Warsaw, for whom it is a constant reminder of Soviet dominance, but there is no denying its striking impact on the casual visitor.
Lights, Camera And Action
There was a time when a visit to the cinema was more than just something to do on a Friday night. It was an experience, a brush with the clamour associated with the movies. The Kronverk Cinema in Warsaw attempts to recreate that magic with its innovative design. The purple and gold of the cinema’s logo lead the colour palette across its interiors.
Each zone is given a different ambience in sync with its purpose within the space. The splash of yellow and the figurative motifs in the VIP bar give it an energetic vibe whereas in contrast the use of black and purple in the VIP Lounge creates a cosy and intimate ambience. A pattern derived from the crown symbol in the logo weaves across the interiors and serves as a common thread to tie together all the individual spaces.
Text By Himali Kothari