So close is the Europa Royale Hotel to the historical heart of Bucharest, its walls almost touch the city’s ancient excavated ruins.
Not only, but a bronze bust of arguably the nation’s greatest hero, medieval voivod (medieval warlord) Vlad the Impaler, stands mere yards away from the rear door of the hotel’s ground-floor ‘Mica Elvetia’ restaurant.
Lithuanian-owned, part of the Europa Royale Hotels and the group’s first hotel outside the country’s home base, the property lies in a favorable location within a few yards of the Romanian capital city’s dynamic old center where nightlife, culture and shopping complement each other in abundance.
Located at one side of Bucharest’s largest square, Piata Unirii, the 92-room, four star Europa Royale faces on to a side street opposite a traditional centuries-old restaurant, Hanul lui Manuc, a major tourism attraction. The hotel’s entrance is lined with windows featuring traditional souvenirs and the lobby is a rectangular space below and between sheer walls that rise straight up past each floor, with a glass-fronted walkway on each, to a metal and glass skylight high above. Decor is the most neutral of tones – black on white: white walls with dark borders around windows and doors; a checkered floor; and pale and dark square pillars along the lobby sides. These neutral tones are offset by a series of colorful Expressionist-like paintings – some quite flamboyant – lining the walls.
A small coffee bar with at-counter seating lies at one corner, opposite the central reception desk. Padded sofas along the walls and in the center offer guests more comfortable relaxation.
Our bedroom reflected a similar minimalist décor as the rest of the hotel, devoid of vibrant color, with white and sand-colored walls and cupboards of a two-tone, brown hue. The bathroom boasts a chessboard design floor with cream-colored tiled walls. A small balcony overlooked part of the historic city, including the open terraces of Hanul lui Manuc.
The restaurant ‘Mica Elvetie’ is an elongated, high-ceilinged area just off the lobby where all meals are served. Floor-to-ceiling russet and sand-colored curtains adorn its many windows with an abundance of natural light illuminating the ambiance. Framed rural scenes of Switzerland decorate the walls with one having on it a map with all the country’s main family coats of arms. A creative touch to the interior design is that each window facing the street is ornamented with a different Swiss theme – one highlighting the nation’s rural characteristics with a giant round of cheese, cowbells and leather accessories associated with farming while another emphasizes its rich musical heritage with instruments such as the accordion and the alphorn.
Location is a prime advantage for the Europa Royale Hotel. Transport to and from Piata Unirii is plentiful and the refashioned ‘old town’ historic district offers an abundance of choice in terms of entertainment, being home to many art galleries, bars, antique shops and coffeehouses.
Better known as Lipscani and named after the many German traders there from Lipsca or Leiptzig, most locals refer to it as ‘centru istoric,’ (historical center). At the beginning of the 1400s, most merchants and craftsmen – Romanian, Austrian, Greek, Bulgarian, Serbian, Armenian and Jewish – established their stores and shops in this section of the city. With new bar and nightclubs such as ‘Mojo,’ ‘Half-time,’ ‘Elephant,’ ‘Beer O’Clock,’ ‘Bazaar,’ ‘Trinity College’ and ‘The Fire Club,’ even, confidently, ‘The Rehab Center,’ the area has become a trendy attraction for Romanians as well as tourists. One named ‘100 Beri’ boasts an old-fashioned, opaque glass window lined with glass balls filled with bottle caps; a brass chandelier hanging from the ceiling inside and walls appropriately decorated with framed logos of famed beers, stouts and ales. Wooden tables outside offer convenient ‘people watching’ vantage points. The bar lives up to its name, offering a 100 beers from different countries, including Germany, Czech Republic, Belgium, England, the US and Italy.
The Europa Royale is also within walking distance of major financial centers such as the national bank and other official economic and political offices. Romania’s national art and history museums are within a 30-minute walk, as is the national theater. The colossal Casa Poporului (Parliament Palace), Romania’s most famous building, is also nearby. Formerly known as the People’s Palace, it is the second largest administrative building in the world after the Pentagon.
Whether it’s a visit to Bucharest for business or pleasure, the Europa Royale Hotel offers an excellent, central location with the modern amenities expected of a recently-developed property.