I long to meet the interior designers of hotels, such as the Santorini. I suspect that most of these places are designed by the owners, with some romantic ideal in mind. Or maybe they are just preempting their customers wishes. Who knows? I have stayed in many such hotels around the the world but the Santorini is somewhat special when it comes to incongruous. Its location is Nowa Huta, a huge Soviet social engineering project that can only be described as jaw-droppingly misconceived. Without going into details, it covers a vast area in the easternmost district of Cracow, housing some 200,000 people around the now largely shutdown Vladimir Lenin Steelworks. Gray block after gray block for miles. But it does have a historic fascination, if you like Russian Constructivism. What it doesn't have is infrastructure, amenities, tourists or much of a social scene (excepting Teatr Łaźnia Nowa, a bold independent venture into contemporary culture). The Santorini hotel is one of the few hotels in this vast district and attracts the remaining steel executives who come to visit and weddings and funerals. Speaking of which, a wedding on the Saturday night of my visit made sleep pretty much impossible until about 3am. The rooms are comfortable enough and the staff very helpful but the food is, well, I guess Polish. Which is fine except I am a vegetarian and this is a concept that has not reached Greece, sorry, Nowa Huta, yet. Set amid the industrial decay of former times, this Swiss chalet type build, with its faux pas murals and doric columns, can't hide the fact that it is an anachronism in the middle of an enigma. And just to add to this feeling of dislocation there is a little travel agency in the lobby, where you could actually book a trip the real Santorini!
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- Also Known As:
- Santorini Hotel Krakow