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The ultimate hotel guide to Warsaw, Poland

A cultural transformation is underway in the Polish capital and a string of new hotels are leading the charge, from design-minded urban pads to revamped grande dames.

By Nicola Trup
Published 18 Mar 2022, 15:00 GMT, Updated 24 Mar 2022, 10:04 GMT
Warsaw city centre is dominated with notable high-rise buildings and skyscrapers, including the Palace of Culture ...

Warsaw city centre is dominated with notable high-rise buildings and skyscrapers, including the Palace of Culture and Science, which is the second tallest building in both Warsaw and Poland. 

Photograph by GETTY Images

Warsaw has come a long way. The city was almost destroyed during the Second World War, and the communist regime that followed resulted in a divisive aesthetic. But Poland’s capital has truly polished itself up in recent decades: the controversial, communist-era Palace of Culture and Science has become a cultural (and drinking) destination once again, and the west bank of the Vistula River has been regenerated to create a lush waterside boulevard and boarding point for several floating bars. The past decade has seen Warsaw’s accommodation scene blossom, too, from the launch of the city’s first boutique-style properties to the arrival of high-end international brands and the renovation of iconic luxury landmarks. And while most of these are to be found in and around Śródmieście (the city centre), the arty east side of the Vistula now has its very own hip hotel, too — with more bound to follow.

The Nobu Hotel, Warsaw.

Photograph by Nobu Hotel Warsaw

1. Nobu Hotel Warsaw

Best for gourmets

One of the Polish capital’s newest hotels, Nobu is also one of Warsaw’s hottest tables, serving up the Japanese-style cuisine with which founder Nobu Matsuhisa made his name. Choose from sushi, sashimi, tempura, tataki and more — or leave it up to the chef with the omakase tasting menu. End the night with a sake or Polish vodka in the bar before heading up to one of the rooms, which are just as tempting as the food. Here, concrete walls and wood panelling are complemented by soft lighting, vintage furniture and modern artwork, plus — in some cases — floor-to-ceiling windows looking out over Śródmieście. Rooms: from PLN1,130 (£208), B&B. warsaw.nobuhotels.com

2. Raffles Europejski Warsaw

Best for high-flyers

Opposite the Presidential Palace, on the edge of the Old Town, the building previously known as Hotel Europejski has been a Warsaw landmark since 1857 and, after a few decades in the doldrums, it’s now back to its opulent best as a Raffles property. The rooms are classically luxe, with touches of velvet, hints of gold and marble bathrooms — and if you’d like to make the most of the latter, hotel staff will run you a bath. On the lower ground floor, the spa’s centrepiece is a gold-and-blue, mosaic-tiled pool, while elsewhere in the hotel is the Michelin-listed Europejski Grill. Be sure to indulge at Lourse Warszawa, a reincarnation of the iconic patisserie that was once a favourite among Warsaw society. Rooms: from PLN1,445 (£266), B&B. raffles.com

3. Hotel Warszawa

Best for city views 

Set within the stunning art deco Prudential House, commonly known as the Prudential — one of Europe’s first skyscrapers when it was built back in the 1930s — Hotel Warszawa is a luxurious address right in the centre of the city, with 142 rooms spread across its 16 floors. For the best views, ask for a room on floor seven or above (these are all suites), which look out eastwards to the Vistula River or west towards the striking socialist realist Palace of Culture and Science. The rooms themselves are all luxuriously modern, with touches of marble and wood, while elsewhere in the hotel you’ll find two restaurants — including Szóstka with its panoramic terrace — along with a bar and a lower-ground-floor spa. Rooms: from PLN593 (£110). warszawa.hotel.com.pl

The Puro Warszawa Centrum Hotel, Warsaw.

Photograph by Anna Stathaki

4. Puro Warszawa Centrum

Best for hedonists

Decked out in soft shades of grey and stone with the occasional accent of millennial pastel pink, the rooms at Puro are modern, understated and calming. Just as well, because this is the perfect place for those returning after a night on the town — or simply a night upstairs. Atop the eight-storey building, which sits right in the heart of the city, you’ll find Loreta, a buzzing roof terrace and bar serving signature cocktails and light bites as well as a lengthy list of premium spirits. DJs spin the decks here every Friday and Saturday, and you can sweat it all out the next day in the sauna or steam room at the hotel’s Prisma Spa. Rooms: from PLN449 (£83). purohotel.pl

5. Autor Rooms

Best for design gurus 

With just four guest rooms and a communal living area, Autor Rooms in hip south Śródmieście feels more like staying in a friend’s (extremely chic) apartment than a hotel. The interiors have Polish design at their heart, with each of the doubles having been ‘authored’ by local creatives. Room 1410, the smallest, features dramatic black walls and a wooden booth-like shower room. Number 1770, meanwhile, is all white, glass and copper pipes, and the other rooms sit somewhere in between the two. Breakfast is served at a communal table in the living area. Rooms: from PLN407 (£75). designhotels.com

The NYX Hotel Warsaw.

Photograph by Piotr Gesicki/Leonardo Hotels Central Europe

6. NYX Hotel Warsaw

Best for urbanites 

The Polish capital has seen several smart developments spring up in recent years, chief among them being Varso Place — home to the EU’s tallest building, Varso Tower. Here, you’ll also find NYX, a hotel that leans into its contemporary architecture and central location with city views through floor-to-ceiling windows in the 300-plus rooms, and edgy interiors that combine clean lines with eye-catching prints and works by local street artists. The sleek Clash bar, meanwhile, is the place for cool cocktails and DJ sets. Rooms: from PLN367 (£68). leonardo-hotels.co

7. H15 Boutique Hotel

Best for the suite life 

One of a handful of buildings in Warsaw to have survived the Second World War, this 19th-century beauty in south Śródmieście has served various purposes over the years, including as an embassy and government offices, but in 2012 it was transformed into one of the city’s first boutique-style hotels. It remains one of the capital’s top places to stay, and the majority of its 47 guest rooms are suites, all kitted out with their own kitchenette and seating area, as well as a table and chairs for fine-dining room service from the hotel’s Signature Restaurant. The interiors, meanwhile, combine the luxe (marble bathrooms, velvet headboards) with the playful (animal prints, bright colours and retro-style furniture). Rooms: from PLN498 (£92). h15-boutique.com

8. SleepWell Boutique Hotel

Best for vintage vibes

Accessed via a courtyard off Nowy Świat, the pretty thoroughfare leading to the UNESCO-listed Old Town, SleepWell’s 15 rooms are a riot of colour with a fun 1970s feel. Ranging from very small doubles to generously proportioned apartments, they’re kitted out with statement headboards and lighting, velvet upholstery and the occasional kitsch ornament or work of pop art. Yet, despite the retro vibe, you’ll find all the modern essentials here, too, including coffee machines and TVs with access to streaming services like Netflix. The communal areas, meanwhile, are no less lively, from the bright, gold reception area to the powder-pink-and-yellow dining room to the hallways with their animal sculptures. Rooms: from PLN429 (£80). sleepwellwarsaw.pl

The Moxy Warsaw Praga.

Photograph by Catherine Stukhard

9. Moxy Warsaw Praga

Best for urban explorers 

Located in Praga, home to some of the city’s best drinking and dining, Moxy is the perfect base for exploring east of the Vistula. It’s part of the Koneser complex — a former distillery where you’ll find restaurants, offices and a vodka museum — and within walking distance of a smattering of ramshackle bars. The compact bedrooms come with minimalist but playful decor, and the ground-floor communal space, meanwhile, is where work meets play. Rooms: from PLN193 (£35). marriott.com

10. Hotel Indigo Warsaw — Nowy Swiat

Best for architecture buffs 

It’s not the only hotel in town within an old building, but when it comes to architecture, Hotel Indigo excels at merging the historic with the modern. Rooms all vary in shape and size, so you might find yourself checking into a suite with the highest ceiling you’ve ever seen and a raised window seat from which you can admire the Palace of Culture and Science, or a room that combines traditional wall mouldings with modern art. Don’t miss the pierogi (Polish dumplings) at Flo restaurant. Rooms: from PLN439 (£81). indigowarsaw.com  

Published in the April 2022 issue of National Geographic Traveller (UK)

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