Hotel Copernicus Krakow

Described by the Daily Telegraph as one of the most beautiful hotels in the world, the Hotel Copernicus blends the very best of the old and the new. Rescued from the crumbling fate that once seemed on the cards for so many of Cracow's buildings, the hotel opened in 2000 and quickly established itself as the city's most enchanting place to stay.

The Copernicus lies nestled at the foot of the Royal Castle on an ancient and tranquil street. It's a rather special part of town that seems to live very much in a world of its own. Inside, charming Renaissance frescoes cast their spell, and splendidly carved stone portals adorn the walls. During the Middle Ages, these houses were the residences of bishops, and the magnificent wooden ceilings and marbled floors echo those of the Royal Castle itself.

Whilst great care has gone into letting the Copernicus's old character shine through, historic flourishes are dovetailed with modern luxury and convenience. The rooms have a cosy elegance, with velvet and dark wood furnishings, and the bathrooms are marbled throughout. With air-conditioning in Summer, and warm heating during the Winter, the city can be enjoyed throughout the seasons.

One of the most exciting discoveries during restoration can be found downstairs in the restaurant, which is graced by a splendid Renaissance ceiling. Here the chef serves classic Polish dishes with a light, modern twist, whilst the cellars specialize in a range of Italian wines. Besides the bar on the ground floor, there is also a littlehide away up on the roof. A delight during the Summer, with its views over the castle and onto the domes and cupolas of the city, you could well imagine the hotel's namesake, Copernicus, the famous Polish astronomer,  marveling away at the stars by night. A regular visitor to this house as a young man, he would no doubt have relished this marvelous spot.

Meanwhile, descending into the subterranean world of the cellars, one can loll about in the swimming pool for an hour or two, or stay fighting fit with a stretch in the exercise rooms. Back upstairs in the library you can unwind in a very congenial atmosphere, and perhaps order a Tatanka - a rather delicious Polish beverage that's well worth a try. Hotel Copernicus's young and helpful staff are always on hand to make sure that you have a relaxed and enjoyable stay. Certainly worth a thought are the suites, which would make an enchanting choice for honeymooners. Outside, all the delights of the city lie in wait.

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