Hotel Monopol Wrocław, Wrocław
Tel: 48 71 772 3777
From the editors of Condé Nast Traveler:A radical renovation of Wroclaw's most famous hotel, the ascetically elegant Hotel Monopol has, over the years, hosted not just the stars of Polish art, cinema, and science but also the likes of Marlene Dietrich and Pablo Picasso (and, yes, Adolf Hitler used to rant from the portico over its front door, when Wroclaw was Breslau). The renovated ornate Art Nouveau facade, immensely high ceilings of the public spaces and 121 guest rooms, and the dark wood of the wide hallways and imposing door frames are reminders of the hotel's bygone years. But everything elsefurniture, built-ins, fabrics, light fixtures, color palette (tending toward muted grays with an occasional splash of, say, luminescent turquoise)exudes minimalism and modernity. The effect, right down to the en suite whirlpool tubs with multihued lights, is striking. The airy Restaurant Monopol does new takes on traditional Polish cuisine and is also where you'll be served an all-you-can-eat breakfast by well-trained staff (Polish eggs take farm-raised and organic to new heights). The pièce de resistance is the grotto-like spa, with its large, dark-blue-tile pool, sauna, steam room, salt cave, and exercise room, the latter artfully designed with a wall of backlit alabaster composed to resemble that typically Polish sight, a birch forest. 2010 Hot List
Which room to book: The ones fronting Modrzejewska Street look out at the eighteenth-century Opera House, while those on the side alley face the imposing redbrick facade of the Gothic Church of St. Stanislaw, Dorota and Waclaw, so near you can almost touch it. If you want rooftops, opt for the fifth floor.