Georgia’s Rooms Hotel Group punctuates the luxury hospitality scene in two strategic parts of this fascinating country. The highland town of Stepantsminda is home to Rooms Hotel Kazbegi, Georgia’s first Design Hotel, whilst the capital city’s Rooms Hotel Tbilisi is the country’s only other member of this prestigious collection. They’re the brainchildren of casino entrepreneur Temur Ugulava, who fuses contemporary design with traditional elements to great effect, putting Georgia deservedly on the luxury hotel map.
Rooms Hotel Kazbegi
Rooms Hotel Kazbegi occupies a scenic spot in the hills of one of Georgia’s most beautiful mountain towns – Stepantsminda. It was designed by the young, Tbilisi-based duo Nata Janberidze and Keti Toloraia to blend in with its natural surroundings, using steel, glass and timber in a way that echoes the local landscape. This dynamic duo were responsible for the interior design too, creating a sleek yet rustic environment that embodies Georgia’s Asian and European roots.
The communal spaces here adopt a utilitarian palette and are peppered in natural elements, with textured woods, open fires, fresh flowers and ornate trophy skulls doing their best to attract attention from the simply stunning view. One entire wall is constructed from glass, and opens out onto a huge verandah, which sits above a large garden space, complete with hammocks and beanbags. There’s also a casino on site (an appropriate homage to Temur Ugulava’s heritage) as well as an attractive indoor swimming pool and gym – an excellent retreat if the weather’s not behaving.
Breakfast is something to get up for (although expensive by Georgian standards at $17 a head) with options that extend from French toast and pancakes through to boiled quails eggs and honey fresh from the comb. Dishes over dinner hark to traditional home cooking but with Rooms Hotel’s signature finesse, such as pistachio nut-sprinkled soup and both fresh and sundried tomatoes on the margarita pizza. It can all be enjoyed atop characterful, reclaimed timber tables and from the comfort of plush leather club or retro-esque captain’s chairs.
Guest rooms are minimalist yet homely in design, with a cool colour-way of beige, green and grey, and plenty of natural materials for a clean yet robust edge. Front View rooms boast the better vistas (across the stunning Mount Kazbegi, and up to Gergeti Trinity Church on a clear day), whilst Executive rooms offer more space to stretch out. Extra amenities, such as shaving kits or beauty sundries, are available on request rather than spread before you – a concept that initially appears a bit miserly but, ultimately, helps to reduce waste.
Rooms Hotel Tbilisi
Rooms Hotel Tbilisi is set within an old publishing house in the cultural hub of Vera. The area might lack the immediate aesthetic charm of the city’s Old Town, but it does leave you within walking distance of Tbilisi’s museums, galleries and designer shops on Rustaveli Avenue. Paying homage to its roots, Rooms Hotel Tbilisi welcomes guests with wall-to-wall books, low-lit corners and plenty of heavyweight furniture, giving it the intimate ambience and masculine edge of a gentleman’s club.
Move through to the spacious lounge to discover the rich textures and nod-to-retro design that’s woven throughout the hotel’s fabric. From the little details like the velvet trim on staff uniforms and the oversized tassel key rings, to the sumptuous sofas, McIntosh sound system and the Vivienne Westwood carpets, Rooms Hotel Tbilisi fulfills the group’s promise to “inspire your senses” throughout – and that’s before you’ve even made it to hotel’s restaurant.
The Kitchen offers an elegant-meets-rustic ambience, with a clientele base well rooted in the who’s who – be them hotel guests or just in for the evening. The main menu offers New American cuisine, which changes weekly, incorporating organic and local Georgian ingredients where possible. When the weather’s fine, the spacious outdoor bar is a secluded spot, adjacent to a large patch of grass and surrounded on all sides by buildings. A painted-scaffold frame gives the space a chic, industrial vibe, echoing the encircling city’s state of exciting transition.
Guest rooms are spacious, and mine (a Signature King room) came with a freestanding, roll-top bathtub in the bedroom area, as well as a small, en-suite bathroom, complete with vintage-apothecary style accessories. The plush velvet curtains that cover the large city-or-garden-view windows, along with the silkscreen graphic wallpaper, leave the space luxuriously snug, whilst Marshall amps and vintage-style telephones make up the more interesting technological amenities. Rooms located on the fifth floor boast terraces, making them a great choice for summer.
Images credit: Design Hotels.
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