For some reason there is a reluctance here to enjoy the free WI-FI or turn on the TV, maybe to avoid losing the feeling you have traveled back in time.
It is worth the effort to open the tall, heavy, real wooden doors of the Hotel Versailles. They can take you back to 1909, the era of Tsarist Russia, for example, when the hotel opened for its first guests, or to the heyday of the Soviet State when the hotel’s French name was changed to the heroic Chelyuskin (after the Soviet steamship and rescue mission).
It seems that the administrator, while filling out the guest card, is about to tell you a secret: in room 5 a woman from America has summer hats, which will withstand the Vladivostok dampness, which you can buy for your wife. Or maybe he will say calmly and matter-of-factly: “No vacancy. Don’t you know that we only take Chelyuskin survivors?”
The rich history of the oldest hotel in Vladivostok, the elegant three-story modern-style building and beautifully historically restored interiors, distinguish Versailles from its competitors.
This “time travel” will cost from 5,300 rubles a night for a single-occupancy standard room with windows overlooking the courtyard, to 27,000 rubles a night for a three-room Deluxe Suite with a balcony. Prices are for summer 2015. When booking through the hotel website, there is a discount of up to 10%. The most captivating features of the rooms are the high ceilings and the art nouveau-style moldings, which were restored from old photographs and sketches after the 1990 fire.
Hotel Versailles is located in the historic center of the city, at the beginning of the first and main street in Vladivostok, Svetlanskaya. To the right of the hotel is the beach and the Sportivnaya Naberezhnaya, to the left the V. K. Arsenev Museum and Flotsky department store, where you can buy an authentic sailor’s shirt and “Troynoy” cologne, which was popular in the USSR. And in the immediate surroundings: the Arka Contemporary Art Gallery, the administration of the Primorsky Kray Philharmonic and Adm. Fokina St, which is still known as the Vladivostok Arbat.
And, of course, there are plenty of cafes and restaurants: an Indian restaurant, a Chinese cafe, a German brewery, a European cafe, a French coffee shop and simply Stolovaya (dining room) number 1. This is important because the hotel guests are guaranteed only breakfast, which is included in the room rate. Lunch can be served to order, but the average check is around 1,000 rubles (business lunch in the city is 3-4 times cheaper), and the restaurant closes at 16:00.
The Versailles is currently quiet. There are only 42 rooms. Long hallways. Dimmed lights. It is an excellent place for solitude, preferred by Ho Chi Minh, who secretly visited Vladivostok three times; or Admiral Aleksandr Kolchak, who in the fall of 1918 purchased a room in the fashionable Versialle for his mistress Anna Timiryova.
At one time it was only possible to eat in Chelyuskin’s restaurant either by cronyism or by reserving a table a month in advance. It was a favorite place for sailors returning from a foreign voyage, and whalers after a successful journey, to party on a grand scale.
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It is called large for the number of rooms and smart for its hospitality philosophy. There is a library in the lobby, but it is possible to meet a living classic.
More than 50 years of hospitality experience. And that says a lot.
A bit more than simply a hostel.