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The Warsaw Voice » Culture » September 16, 2009
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Four Stars on £ód¼ Skyline
September 16, 2009   
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£ód¼'s new four-star Andel's Hotel is located within the compound of the Manufaktura shopping and cultural center in a converted 19th-century spinning mill that was once owned by Jewish industrialist Izrael Poznański.

The conversion project cost 70 million euros, "10 or 20 percent more than it would have cost to erect a completely new building," says Rudolf Tucek of Vienna International, a company that manages hotels built by the Warimpex group of Austria. There are now 19 such hotels, with plans afoot to build another three: in Katowice, Poland, and in St. Petersburg and Yekaterinburg, Russia.

Presidential suite
The £ód¼ hotel has 220 rooms, 58 suites with kitchenettes for longer stays, four split-level rooms and one presidential suite. The suite is located in a tower, has its own terrace, library and a beautiful view of the garden of the Poznański Palace. There are also seven conference rooms, which can be easily converted into 14 rooms, a ballroom for 1,000 people, a spa and wellness center, and a swimming pool on the roof.

The hotel is an example of a successful symbiosis between a former factory building and modern architecture. Guests can admire the restored pillars and brick vaults, some of which have been left in their original form.

The monotony of the white-painted rooms is broken by the vivid colors of bed headrests inspired by works of world-famous artists connected with £ód¼ such as W³adys³aw Strzemiński and Katarzyna Kobro. The rooms and suites have been designed by the London-based Jestico+Whiles architecture and interior design studio. They have also designed the furniture and furnishings in a style typical of all Andel's hotels. An internal brand of Vienna International and Warimpex, Andel's is a chain of four-star luxury business hotels provided with modern multimedia equipment to ensure high comfort of stay and work for guests.

White flowers
Among the first guests at the hotel was the outstanding tenor Placido Domingo, who arrived in £ód¼ in June for his sole concert in Poland. Business people and organizers and participants of conferences and seminars are the target group for Andel's hotels.

The hotel in £ód¼ will employ a staff of 140-160. The hotel's annual revenue is expected to reach 3.5 million euros with occupancy at 50 percent. In the hotel's second business year, the occupancy rate is expected to rise to 70 percent and annual revenue to 9 million euros.

The hotel's manager is Anna Olszyńska, who has worked for Vienna International since she started her career in the business 16 years ago. Her first job, soon after graduation, was at the Amber Baltic Hotel in Miźdzyzdroje. At a press conference on the opening day, Olszyńska's boss said, "Our best man is a woman."

Fresh flowers, most of them white, can be found in all hotel rooms. "They suit this interior very well; the white of the flowers emphasizes the uniqueness of this place; the flowers themselves are only an addition," says Olszyńska.

According to Olszyńska, the hotel is a unique place and a masterpiece in converting industrial buildings for hotel purposes. Its postindustrial character is its advantage. It was not easy to convert the facility into a hotel but the architects managed to make it human-friendly, Olszyńska said. This is especially important because the hotel is supposed to serve as a second home for guests, she added.

Olszyńska says she is determined to make the hotel a success. "I have two or three years to accomplish that," she said.

Maria Sondej
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