Escape the boredom of brand-name chain hotels on your visit to Poland by spending a night or two at these quirky places. From ex-Communist eyesores to modern swanky villas to Art-Deco buildings, there will be something unusual on this list for those looking for a peculiar place to rest their heads. Are you brave enough to spend a night in Hitler’s old headquarters?
Ever wanted to spend the night in a salt mine, 125 metres below ground level? Well, now you can at the custom-built hotel inside the popular Wieliczka Salt Mine. For hundreds of years, the miners of the Wieliczka tunnels fuelled Krakow’s growth, pulling tonnes of valuable rock salt from the earth below the city. Today, their gift to the town continues, albeit in the form of carved artistry in the subterranean passages, and even the breathtaking wonder of St Kinga’s Chapel – an underground cathedral made totally of salt. A perfect place to escape the outside world and spend the night in this converted underground hotel known as the Slowacki Chamber.
The five-star H15 boutique hotel is located in a neoclassical 19th-century building (an ex-Soviet Union Embassy) in the central Śródmieście district. It stands out for its urban vibe and stylish décor – cosy, individually designed rooms, boldly coloured artwork and a glazed courtyard filled with potted plants, comfortable seating, a piano and plenty of natural light. The on-site restaurant Signature is perfect for an evening meal, while the lively Poznańska street offers plenty of alternatives for a follow-up drink – check out the sophisticated underground floor bar Bez Tytułu, or one of the more laid-back hip bars/restaurants such as Beirut and Kraken, very popular among the locals.
Swiftly moving from Krakow’s glorious medieval past to its not-so-glorious Communist one, this brutalist relic of the Soviet age can still be seen hulking in heavy rows of concrete over the southern banks of the Vistula River – curiously within eyeshot of the Wawel across the way. This was once a huge concrete hotel known as the Forum Hotel. These days, the venue is being renovated and turned into swanky restaurants and cafés with some great outdoor viewpoints over the river and castle. Get ready for the day when the hotel opens its doors again. This is a piece of the city’s history.
With a prime position in the heart of Bydgoszcz and located on the island Wyspa Młyńska, Hotel Przystan is a gem of a place to stay. The building itself is admirable, with its curved roof and grassy exterior. The hotel’s interior boasts bright and casual rooms with wood furnishings. The hotel is just a seven-minute walk from the Old Market Square. There is free Wi-Fi throughout the building, and the breakfast buffet is free. There’s also a cosy restaurant/bar/café with a cool view over the river. Due to its riverside location, hiring kayaks and canoes is also possible, and there is an exercise room and sauna on-site.
If you have ever seen the crazy ‘Upside down house’ in the barely known village of Szymbark, you might be intrigued. This unusual-looking house is actually a museum, but this doesn’t mean your chances of a night here are gone completely. Local business owners have opened a simply magnificent hotel with a difference in the village of Symbark. Inside the Hotel Szymbark, you can find curiosities such as a ‘beer spa’ (Łaźnie – piwne SPA) where you pour your own beer while relaxing. The hotel also has a brewery, an exquisite restaurant and a church within the complex. You can enjoy walks through the forest and to the famous ‘Upside down house’.
Ready for a spooky option? You can spend the night in the middle of a forest in Poland’s Masury region, in the same place where Hitler hid away for over 800 days during World War II. There is now a hotel at Wilczy Szaniec (Wolf’s Lair), where Adolf Hitler planned, lived and hid during the Second World War. For history buffs, it’s an essential trip, but one that may provide for a scary experience. The complex itself is in the hugely dense Gierłoż Forest. After spending the night here, tour the bunkers and concrete buildings where the Nazi Germans hid away. Look out for the grotesque remains of Bunker 13 – this is where Hitler lived – and nearby is the bunker where he survived an attempted assassination in 1944. This is not for the faint-hearted.
Ever wanted to stay in an old Communist-style room, on an island, overlooking a football stadium in a city you’ve never heard of? Well, now you can at Noclegi Rekord! It’s not obvious that there is even an island in Starogard Gdański, but once you cross the northern bridge away from the main town square (Stary Rynek), you will find yourself on an island that houses a football stadium, a palace and a hotel. What better way to relax in the evening than watching the sunset from an island within a beautiful town. As a bonus, the hotel also has a small museum dedicated to Kazimierz Deyna, a Polish Olympic Gold Medalist and footballer who helped his country finish third in the 1974 World Cup. The hotel has traditional yet basic rooms, offering reminders of Communist times.
One for the cinema buffs is this wonderful hotel in Łódź. It is no coincidence that this hotel is located at this address – 120 Piotrkowska Street housed the first Polish cinema, which opened in 1899. To preserve the heritage, the rooms and apartments are decorated in line with different Polish films that were shot in Łódź. Therefore, walking through the hotel is like walking from one film set to the next, and each room is unique. Not only is the décor remarkable, but the hotel is also conveniently located in the center of the city, and the price won’t break the bank. If you want a real treat, book the ‘Kingsajz‘ room. What more could you want?