Georgia on My Mind

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Step Inside the Iconic Interiors of Rooms Hotel and Stamba Hotel in Tbilisi 

Hotels are the backbone of memorable, enriching, and immersive cultural adventures and experiences. Your overseas surroundings should resonate with you and make you feel good, ready to take on and explore the world to find those hidden gems. Like people, hotels have unique personalities, quirks, and sensibilities. They should be uplifting, possess a lived-in-ness, convey a sense of history, and a connection to their location — a sense of place. I want to know exactly where I am in the world: uncovering cities and their inner workings fascinate me. 

There are hotels we like and those we love. And, for me, sister establishments Rooms Hotel and Stamba Hotel in Tbilisi, Georgia (the country), definitely hit the spot. I could happily ensconce myself there without venturing outside. Well, that’s not entirely true. Tbilisi is such a beautiful city with a long, colourful history and a rich, eclectic mix of cultural, architectural, and culinary influences that you’d be mad not to! 

The hotels are set within a former 1930s Soviet-era publishing house in the charming, historic quarter of Vera, long associated with bohemians and intellectuals. Today, it’s a cultural hotspot buzzing with hip boutiques and concept stores, candlelit wine bars, nouveau-Georgian restaurants, cafés, sultry drinking dens, delicious hidden courtyards, and gardens. This is mainly thanks to the forward-thinking Temur Ugulava, founder of the Georgian hospitality Adjara Arch Group that has revolutionised the hospitality in Georgia and helped turn the Vera neighbourhood into Tbilisi’s modern nerve centre for fashion, food, and the arts. 

Adjara has successfully and sensitively incorporated the building’s history into the design. The result is an effortlessly stylish mix of old-world Tbilisi charm and 1930s New York style that is a perfect fit with the warehouse/loft-like architecture of the property. 

Whereas Rooms Hotel has an intimate members club atmosphere, Stamba is where you will find the building’s quirkier elements, including the Communist-era print-drying beam. The industrial grandeur of the twentieth-century Brutalist framework is complemented by nostalgic nods to the roaring 1920s and glamorous 1930s, tied together with a fresh take on contemporary elements.  

Adjara removed the floors, forming an industrial skeleton of raw concrete beams. A soaring atrium is crowned by a glass-bottomed roof pool, suspended above and visible from the ground floor upwards. All are brought to life and softened by lush hanging plants, living trees, antique chandeliers, buttery-hued leather sofas, towering shelves filled with vintage books, and Georgian art publications. The water casts rays of light, making it even more spectacular. Several internal steel balconies serve as viewing platforms overlooking the stunning atrium. It’s absolutely staggering. 

The gorgeous guest rooms epitomise industrial luxe, as showcased in the images. The walls throughout display works of art created by Georgian artists. The hotel’s common spaces are open to the city’s residents in a true communal spirit. 

One of the coolest things about Stamba Hotel is that local artists can use one of the wings of the building for free as exhibition spaces and workshops, nurturing Tbilisi’s creatives. D Block has a series of collaborative studios, artist-in-residence spaces, an exhibition hall, and the Tbilisi Photo and Multimedia Museum. 

What is most fun is that both properties share each other’s facilities. You can happily wander from one to the other, picking the best spots for a particular time of day. 

Café Stamba is a visual feast of gorgeous eye candy décor with distinctive mint-green leatherette vintage booths, Soviet-era pendant lamps, blue brick walls, and lush planting. A wonderful setting to savour their delicious finger-licking Georgian classics, including Chakapuli (lamb stew), a divine cheese-filled fluffy flatbread straight from the oven with a soft egg on top, and a range of tasty Western-style dishes. At the back, you’ll find Shio Ramen, an open kitchen with floor-to-ceiling metal shelving and red leather seats, with a menu based on Asian specialities focussing on in-house noodles and broth. Wash it all down with local wines. Georgia has an eight-thousand-year history of winemaking, and it’s all delicious. 

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To the side, the glamourous Pink Bar is a delightfully sophisticated bar topped with a fabulous crystal chandelier and one of the city’s hottest drinking dens spotlighting distilled spirits like Georgian limoncello and Sarajishvili cognac. The Chocolaterie & Roastery is an epicurean edit with a bean-to-bar concept. Espresso-based drinks complement delectable handmade artisan chocolates. 

The adjacent terrace is the perfect place to soak up the convivial vibe. Further into the garden, the Garden Amphitheatre & Bar hosts music, theatre, fashion, and cinematic events. An intriguing pink glow entices you to the Space Farm, a vertical farm lit like a nightclub for plants. Georgia’s first vertical farm is where organic leafy greens, edible flowers, strawberries, and miniature vegetables are grown for the hotel’s all-day café. The rooftop and the magnificent pool have a series of treatment rooms for massages, a gym, and a terrace with unrivalled views of Vera and beyond. 

Casino Aviator fuels the Georgians’ appetite for gambling. A show-stopping Art Deco-come-roaring-twenties-themed casino adorned with crystal chandeliers and croupiers in red, replete with airline crew-inspired uniforms, resembles the grand European gaming houses — with references to the golden age of aviation. Blackjack, poker, and roulette tables are juxtaposed by library walls, contemporary art, and salvaged concrete ceilings. The casino has two distinct bar areas, each with 24-hour service, serving inventive cocktails designed by Stamba’s expert mixologists. An additional private gaming space for high rollers is situated on the fourth floor with access to the rooftop terrace. 

The Kitchen restaurant serves the most amazing breakfasts, which are an absolute treat. A mix of buffet and made-to-order options are served with a leisurely laid-back vibe. There is a moody cocktail bar, and just across the road, Lolita is a staggering space with a super-sized courtyard. 

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Ugulava’s passion for cultural authenticity and his unique, avant-garde approach to design successfully turned each property into a proud showcase of a new Georgia. Stamba and Rooms Hotels celebrate Tbilisi’s ever-evolving identity as a hotbed of talent and originality. The hotels present a multifaceted experience that feeds your soul, inspires, relaxes, and envelopes you in welcoming Georgian hospitality. They are so much more than mere hotel rooms. 

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Anji Connell  

Interior Architect, Travel, and Design Writer 

ACID+ 

www.anjiconnellinteriordesign.com  

@anjiconnell_acidplus 

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