If there’s one thing that sets Krakow apart from other Polish cities, it’s surely its rich history. On every corner of every cobbled alleyway, in every nook and cranny of every church-topped square, the centuries of stories and myths here is palpable. That doesn’t have to end the moment you head back to your accommodation, either, because there are oodles of historic hotels in Krakow that can leave you feeling like a bona fide Grand Duke or fabled Slavic princess. Let’s take a look at some of the very best.
Set in a gorgeous rowhouse that dates all the way back to the 1400s, Hotel Rubinstein is one of the enduring jewels of Kazimierz. It rises above the bustling Jewish eateries and bistros of Szeroka Street, which comes to life in the summer months with al fresco terraces and jazz bands (it looks great in the winter too, though, doused in snow and ice). Venture inside the hotel and you’ll be greeted with grand interiors inspired by Krakow’s royal age, complete with wood-block floors, wide windowpanes, and exposed-timber ceilings. The real piece de resistance is surely the roof terrace. That offers views across the tops of the Jewish District to the spires of the Wawel Castle itself.
You might say there’s no more a historic hotel in Krakow than the Stary Hotel – its very name means ‘old’ in Polish. It lives up to the moniker, too. Towering over the vibrant streets that filter off the Main Square, it’s huddled between the grand Baroque and medieval buildings of the UNESCO-tagged Old Town. Go through the lobby and into the 53 rooms and suites and you’ll be greeted with a sumptuous array of mahoganies, velveteen curtains, and elaborate upholstery, all in the name of creating that regal vibe. Original features abound, with vaulted ceilings and Gothic inlays the norm in the on-site restaurant. And below it all? Get ready for a luxurious swimming pool hidden in the cellar, shrouded by brick walls and all sorts of alcoves.
Housed in the aged stablemaster’s quarters of the neo-Renaissance Pugetow Palace, the Hotel Pugetow can whisk you away to a place where some of the city’s once-powerful nobles would have resided. As a member of Poland’s heritage hotels association, it’s steeped in history, and each suite comes themed to a certain aspect of regional culture – from the Joseph Conrad room to the opulent Madame Walewska suite. Outside there’s a quaint courtyard, while the downstairs breakfasting room has high arched roofs clad in brick. The location is a doozy, too – think midway between the Old Town, Kazimierz, and the Wawel Castle.
Just one look at the sleek interiors of the Hotel Santi should be enough to show that it’s up there with the crème-de-la-crème of historic hotels in Krakow. A mix of sombre stucco walls and orientalist rugs adorn the suites, creating somewhere with the ascetic undertones of a real medieval building but with the luxuries of something modern and new. What’s more, the location could not be better for history buffs. You’ll be staying just metres from the main concourse of Grodzka Street, which runs straight off the Market Square, past Gothic churches, and down to the Wawel Castle.
There’s more than 500 years of history twisting and turning through the four-poster beds and marble-inlayed ensuites of the Hotel Wentzl, which clutches the sides of the Market Square of Krakow. The location puts it right in the midst of the UNESCO site at the city’s core, close to the major churches, the old trading halls, and excellent nightlife. Downstairs, guests can access the famous Wentzl Restaurant. It’s been cooking since the 19th century, and now serves refined platters of European and Polish cuisine.
Of course, the above is just a taster of the range of amazing historic hotels in Krakow that are currently available. If you’ve stayed in a venerable princely palace or a hidden tavern from the 1600s in the city of kings, we’d sure love to hear about it in the comments below. Alternatively, if you’re taken by these gorgeous historic hotels in Krakow, you can click through on the links provided to book right away!