TOP 5 Historic Hotels in Kiev
Kiev has always been a city where something interesting was taking place – shifts of power, tours of the stars, creation of artistic masterpieces. And Kiev always welcomed guests – some of the hotels in Kiev where the latter stayed were at one time cult ones. There are real legends about five of them.
Advertising of Kiev hotels in newspapers in 1910-1912.
PREMIER PALACE HOTEL
The Premier Palace Hotel on the corner of Pushkinska Street and Taras Shevchenko Boulevard has the brightest history of all hotels in Kiev. Having welcomed the first guests in 1912, it has been functioning successfully so far: it is the only historic hotel among Kyiv hotels that in 2001 had become Ukraine’s first five-star hotel.
The construction of the hotel – at that time it was called Palast-Hotel – was run by architects from Odessa Adolf Minkus and Fedor Traupianskiy; it began in 1909.
Modern Premier Palace consists of two buildings: the main one in Pushkinska Street (where the entrance is now) and which was originally planned as a hotel, and the second one is that it opens onto Shevchenko Boulevard.
In 1895, Leo Ginzburg, the merchant bought this second building; in 1908 he demolished the old walls to the ground, and in 1911 the new building was completely ready: it was a private residential house with an elevator for 45 apartments, with central heating, water supply and the main staircase of marble and black granite.
Let’s return to Palast-Hotel. Seven-story hotel in the center of Kiev had 150 comfortable rooms with all amenities – electricity, telephone, water. On request, guests were provided with horse-drawn carriages or cars. The restaurant and cafe could have 1000 guests at the same time, so solemn receptions were held here.
The hotel was run by a tenant – Jacob Zellermayer, a citizen of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, who lived at that time in Kiev. He rented it for 36,000 rubles a year and actively advertised it – all the more, in 1913 Kiev hosted the All-Russian exhibition, which was attended by many guests. Palats-Hotel quickly became the most modern hotel in Kiev.
During the difficult years of 1914-1921, the hotel experienced problems as the entire country: in 1918, for example, it was damaged as a result of the shelling of Kiev with Russian artillery. In the same year, in one of the rooms, in the residence of the Turkish ambassador Ahmed Mukhtar-Bey, hetman Pavlo Skoropadsky was hiding. In this two-room suite he signed a document on the abdication of power this is how another attempt to create independent Ukrainian state failed. Now the hotel has a room “Hetman” in memory of those historical events.
After the strengthening of Soviet power in Ukraine in 1919, Palats-Hotel remained the largest hotel in Kiev (with 136 rooms). Partially destroyed in 1943, when the city left the German troops.
Later, when the hotel was rebuilt, it was decided to unite the former hotel building on the corner with the neighboring building on Shevchenko Boulevard (the one that belonged to Ginzburg); this is how the building of the hotel has survived to this day. The total area was over 3000 square meters. However, in 1953, Palats-Hotel was renamed to “Ukraine” – and this name was effective until 2005.
Many of the stars of the twentieth century visited the hotel. In 1955, Alexander Vertinsky lived in this hotel, when he worked at the Dovzhenko Film Studios; now Suite 439 is named after Vertinsky.
When the movie star Lyubov Orlova stayed in “Ukraine” in 1962, she gave her maid a curious order. The 60-year-old actress sought to maintain a good physical shape and asked to put the phone in her room at the highest point – on the closet. Like, whenever the phone rings, Orlova will do an “exercise” – climb a chair to reach the phone.
When staying in “Ukraine”, Leonid Utesov left a message at his door: “Do not wake me up, or I’ll sing badly.”
Modern Premier Palace also has a room named after Vladimir Vysotsky – two-room suite 639 in dark blue tones.
Even if you stayed in Kiev in another hotel, you can always come here to enjoy the wonderful restaurant on the roof – Atmosphere
Almost all foreign stars who came to Kiev during the years of Ukraine’s independence stayed in the hotel at the corner of Pushkinskay Street and Taras Shevchenko Boulevard: Brian Adams, Christina Aguilera, Elton John, Lenny Kravitz, Julio Iglesias, Montserrat Caballe, Britney Spears, Nelly Furtado, Paulo Coelho, Patricia Kaas, Sophia Loren, Steven Spielberg, Depeche Mode, David Beckham, Ronaldo and other sports stars.
“The Expendables” guests of Premier Palace: Jason Statham, Sylvester Stallone and Dolph Lundgren.
Architects of the Continental Hotel on 5 Nikolaevska Street (now – Architect Gorodetsky Street) were Vladislav Gorodetsky, Georgy Shleifer and Eduard Bradtman. The four-story building was built in 1895-1897 on the site of the former manor of Fedor Mehring, Professor of Medicine. The construction of the hotel cost one million rubles, and the advertisement reported: “In terms of location, facilities and beauty of the decorations Continental Hotel rightly rivals the best hotels of Europe.”
So it was: inside the hotel there were one hundred rooms (cost from 1.75 to 15 rubles per day), a restaurant, coffee house, winter garden, summer garden, billiard rooms, salon, library, reading rooms, laundry, two electric elevators – for passengers and for luggage. Guests of Continental Hotel enjoyed steam heating, ventilation, electric lighting, and hot water. The facade of the building was decorated with architectural details of various eras and styles – from Renaissance to Baroque.
Rooms and interior of the Continental Hotel in Kiev.
The guide “All Kiev in a pocket” issued in 1906 claimed that the hotel “is a fairly accurate copy of first-class American hotels.”
Celebrities of that time stopped at the Continental: the singers Fyodor Shalyapin and Leonid Sobinov, the artists Vera Komissarzhevskaya and Vsevolod Meyerhold, the poets Konstantin Balmont and Osip Mandelstam, the movie star Max Linder, chess players Mikhail Chigorin and Jose Raul Capablanca.
Fedor Shalyapin, whose concert was planned in the nearby building of the Krutikov Circus (Kiev’s largest hall at that time) – where the “Ukraina” Cinema is now located, mentioned a spectacular case in the Continental. The artist could not get through the crowd, and as the Continental adjoined the wall of the circus, using cornice and downpipe Shalyapin and his assistant went down to the roof of the circus. “We could get to the very circus only in the same acrobatic way, through the pierced roof window. And we did this,” Shalyapin wrote in his memoirs.
Osip Mandelstam arrived in Kiev in 1919; he was with the company of important officials he accidentally met in train. So upon arrival in the Continental, the poet was given excellent room. Almost the same day in the cellar of the hotel, in the cult cafe “KHLAM”, he met a student of the Academy of Arts Nadezhda Khazina, her future wife.
“KHLAM” in 1918-1919 was the focus of cultural life – poets, musicians, writers and artists were meeting and drinking there. Mikhail Bulgakov described “Khlam” in his novel “The White Guard”, using the name “PRAC” (Poets-Regisseurs-Artist-Craftsman): “Majestic, clattering with plates till the very morning, the new PRAC Club opened on Nikolayevskaya Street … in Kiev”.
In 1941, part of the hotel was damaged. Later the building was rebuilt. Now one of the buildings of the National Music Academy named after P.I. Tchaikovsky is located here.
On 22 Khreshchatyk Street, where the main post office is now located, before the fire in 1941, there was the Grand Hotel. The building in the classical style belonged to Gustav Ivanovich Eisman – twice the city’s head (1872-1873, 1879-1884), entrepreneur, professor at the University of St. Vladimir. By the way, the building of the Kyiv City Council (those days called Duma) was located in the middle of the current Independence Square.
Eisman lived in his house on Khreshchatyk; apparently it was to make it closer to work. In the 1870s he built the third floor, where he founded the Grand Hotel. The hotel quickly became one of the best in Kiev. It had 120 rooms (ranging from 75 kopecks to 30 rubles), some with a bathroom and a telephone. At the hotel there were billiard rooms, lifting machines, as well as a restaurant with Visconti working as a chief cook – the former head waiter of his Imperial Majesty Alexander II. As for celebrities, the Grand Duke of Montpensier and, in 1876, the Brazilian Emperor Don Pedro II stayed at the Grand Hotel.
When electricity appeared in Kyiv in 1878, the first demonstration sessions of electric lighting were held in the restaurant hall of the Grand Hotel. By the way, the famous Anna Sergeyeva Chinese tea shop was also located at the hotel. The tea was expensive, since the Chinese did not sell it to the Slavs, but exchanged it for sable, ermine, bear furs; thus, 450 grams of tea cost from 1.5 to 5 rubles (while a glass of tea in a tavern cost 5 cents).
In 1936-1939, the building along 22Khreshchatyk Street was completely reconstructed with the superstructure of two floors (architects P.F.Aleshin, A.A.Kolesnichenko, A.V.Lienetsky). In September 1941, when the German troops entered Kiev and a grand fire occurred in the center of the city, the Grand Hotel building completely burned down. Only in the 1950s the post office was built in its place – it is interesting that in 1989 a part of the building tragically collapsed.
Another legendary Kiev hotel was located on 36Vladimirska Street. The three-story building was built by the famous architect Alexander Schiele. At first the building belonged to the officer’s wife Anastasia Ilyinskaya, who run the hotel “Ilyinskaya Rooms”. In 1885 and 1893-1896, Viktor Vasnetsov, the famous Russian artist, one of the authors of the paintings of the Vladimir Cathedral, stayed here.
When in 1901the Vaclav Vondrak, Czech public figure became the owner of the hotel, he gave it a new name – “Prague”. In 1912-1913 he rebuilt the hotel into a six-story building, adding a terrace for the restaurant on the top. “He who did not admire the panorama of the city from the terrace of the Prague – he did not see Kiev, “- read the advertisement.
In 1916-1918, Czech writer Jaroslav Hasek lived and worked in the Prague Hotel. It was in Kiev that he created several chapters of his cult novel about the brave soldier Svejk.
In Soviet times, Prague Hotel was renamed alternately into “Red Kiev”, “Kiev”, “Theatralnyi”, “St. Petersburg”. Now here are a furniture shop, a bank and apartments.
Francois Hotel was located on the corner of Vladimirskaya and Bogdana Khmelnitskogo (Fundukleyevskaya) streets – where the Leonardo Business Center is now located (52 Vladimirskaya Street). It was in the cafe-confectionery at this hotel that Mikhail Bulgakov treated his future wife Tasya Lappa with sweets and was inspired by the views of Kiev, in particular of the Opera Theater.
The name “Francois” was given to the hotel by the merchant Golombek, who in 1898 bought a two-story mansion from the bankrupted General Voronovich. The latter, in his turn, also run the rooms here with the name “Metropol”. Golombek built two more floors, and on November 1, 1900, opened the hotel. Quotation from the advertising brochure: “36 rooms comfortably furnished as the first-rate foreign hotels. The rooms are large. English beds with comfortable linen. The prices are moderate. The rooms have electric lighting for free. Tea, coffee, lunch. Baths at the hotel from 3 am to 10 pm”.
In 1913, Vladimir Korolenko with his wife and daughter, stayed at the Francois Hotel during the resonance process on the Beilis case. In the years of the revolution, the restaurant at the hotel housed the popular cabaret “Curve Jimmy'”, where the representatives of the then bohemians “hung out”, and in 1919 the “Harlequin” theater appeared in its place.
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