Vilnius, Lithuania – Reported by Erin Riley for Elite Traveler, the private jet lifestyle magazine
If you can’t point out this fairy-tale locale on a map, or have little idea of what you might find there, it’s probably because Lithuania – masked by years of stifling Soviet occupation – only recently established itself as a bustling independent Republic. A melting pot of European cultures and time periods, the northern European nation is a premier tourism destination waiting to be uncovered: Ornate Romanesque churches with gilded cupolas are found alongside Baroque mansions on cobblestone streets. With luxury properties realizing the potential of this nation’s lost-in-time setting and rich cultural charm, the glittering Lithuanian capital of Vilnius is beckoning travelers to start taking note.
At the forefront of this growth is Europe’s oldest luxury hotel group, Kempinski Hotels and Resorts. The brand’s newest property sits in the heart of Old Town Vilnius, a designated UNESCO Heritage site, along breathtaking Cathedral Square and just moments away from the Presidential Palace. The five-star Kempinski Hotel Cathedral Square is a historical and architectural landmark: its original property was known throughout the Baltics as the city’s leading hotel, over a hundred years ago.
Remaining integral to the city’s sensibility, its beautiful restoration has maintained authentic elements of the original structure, as the remnants of the city’s 10th-century defensive wall has been glassed-in and can be viewed from the entrance of the hotel restaurant. The contrasting old and new interiors create a startling vocabulary of monumentality and intimacy, as the hotel’s 96 rooms and suites combine parquet floors and fine fabrics reminiscent of Baltic Lithuania with every modern-day amenity an international traveler could hope for. Superior Rooms sit on the hotel’s top floors and come with lovely alcove balconies and charming attic roofs.
The hotel’s dining destination, Telegrafas, takes its name from the Soviet period, when the former hotel building functioned as the Central Telegraph office. Telegrafas is certain to be a hub for food lovers, sticking to the freshest local ingredients. Additionally, and in true Kempinski style, the luxury retreat comes replete with a multi-functional conference center, fitness center and spa, as well as a beautifully elaborate neoclassical Grand Ballroom.