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Soak Up Eastern European History At These 7 Old-World Hotels

April 10, 2013 at 9:16 AM | by | ()

If Paris, Rome and London have begun to lose their luster and you're looking for a novel way to explore Europe's vast terrain, don't fret. Way over on the other end of the continent, countries like Romania, Hungary, Poland, Estonia and Croatia beckon with 17th century castles, lush countryside, and unspoiled coastal cities. Here's a look at some of the most stunning old-world hotels to be found in the region.


Three Sisters Hotel, Estonia

This Relais & Chateaux-branded property is actually made up of three former merchant houses, built in the fourteenth century, and located within the walls of Tallinn's Old Town. Guest rooms (all renovated in 2003) convey the building's intimate, medieval vibe, but it's the suites that get the most play: four-poster beds, claw foot tubs, and spacious living rooms with the original ceiling beams.

Downstairs, guests can cozy up next to the fireplace, sip on vodka in the dungeon-like Beluga Bar, or head to the award-winning Bordoo restaurant for a five-course degustation menu (65 EUR pp) featuring Estonian specialties like onion consomme, steamed whitefish, elk "cocotte," beef fillet and apple with salted caramel.
Rates from $500/night.

Six more after the jump!

Hertelendy Kastely, Hungary

Located two and a half hours southwest from Budapest, this 14-room property is unique in that it boasts its own airfield—handy for those of us who like to cruise into our hotels in style. Inside the castle, which was built in 1920 as a hunting lodge, guest rooms have modern amenities like flat-screen TVs, air conditioning, free internet, and swoon-worthy views of the 740 acre property (which includes its own mineral hot spring).

With an outdoor pool, Finnish sauna, horse stables, hunting trips, nearby golf courses, hot air balloon rides, and guided tours through the neighboring forests, it's basically impossible to get bored here.
Rates from $210/night.


Boscolo Budapest, Hungary

We gave a full review of this hotel after a recent stay in January, when we found ourselves upgraded to a Junior Suite on the hotel's fourth floor. While parts of the room felt a little dated (despite a major renovation in 2007), the building's charm is undeniable.

Lit up at night, the grand turreted facade sparkles like a nineteenth century wedding cake on steroids, while on the inside, the atrium-style lobby reaches up six stories, surrounded on all sides by gleaming white balconies. Guests can make use of the lower-level spa, or dine at the New York Cafe, once called "the most beautiful cafe in the world."
Rates from $167/night.


Hotel Copernicus, Poland

Krakow's most famous hotel takes its name from Nicolaus Copernicus, who stayed here as a guest over five hundred years ago. Luckily for history geeks, not much has changed in the building itself.

Inside the tiled, skylit lobby, tiny windows (adorned with flower boxes) peer down from the 29 guest rooms, which feature original 17th century brick walls, medieval stone crosses, and wooden beam ceilings—not to mention original fresco paintings and inscriptions dating back to the 1500s.

(Room 103, also known as the "Coat of Arms Suite," is particularly impressive). In the evenings, guests can swim laps in the underground pool, which sits under an original brick vaulted ceiling.
Rates from $255/night.


Kalnoky Manor, Romania

Three hours north of Bucharest, Kalnoky Manor, is a 19th century estate made up of four traditional cottages, each meticulously restored and fitted out with antique Szekler furniture, libraries of rare books, wood stoves, and tiled fireplaces (three of the guest houses are also equipped with central heating for those bitter Transylvanian nights).

Guests can try out various tours (bat-watching, anyone?) led by local villagers, and then return back to the manor for a home-cooked meal of vegetables from the garden, as well as cheese, meat, yogurt, honey and jams, all sourced from the manor's farm.

(The website points out that the remote village can have occasional electricity failures, but hey, if Dracula put up with that stuff, we're sure you can too.)
Rates from $64/night.


Dimitri Palace, Croatia

Overlooking the Adriatic Sea on Croatia's Dalmatian coast, this luxury hotel contains six apartments, clustered inside a former 18th century palace. After a full restoration project in 2008, the formally medieval interiors are now stark and modern, with hardwood floors, full kitchens, custom-built furniture, and the usual host of tech amenities (plasma TVs, lendable iPads, high-speed WiFi).

The property also contains a spa (whose treatments use herbs, roots and flowers grown in Dalmatia), and LD Restaurant, with seasonal Croatian fare and terraces along the Old Town walls.
Rates from $845/night.


Pucic Palace, Croatia

The coastal city of Dubrovnik is ranked by CNNGo as one of the ten best medieval walled cities in the world, and inside those walls is the impressive Pucic Palace Hotel, which sits directly on bustling Gundulic Square.

The building used to be a 17th century noble house, and its 19 rooms are about as grand as they come, with Turkish antiques, hand-woven rugs, and mosaic tiled bathrooms.

No cars can enter the Old City, but porters happily wait for your arrival at the gate, and carry your bags the rest of the way to the hotel. How's that for Croatian hospitality?
Rates from $334/night.

Got another old-world Eastern European hotel to add to the list? Let us know in the comments below, or shoot us an email!

[Photos: Three Sisters Hotel; Hertelendy Kastely; HotelChatter; Hotel Copernicus; TransylvaniaCastle; Dmitri Palace Hotel; Panoramio]

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