The Polonia Palast Hotel ** is one of the three historic hotels in Łódź built before the outbreak of the World War I. Until today, its architecture and interior decorations retain the unique atmosphere from the beginning of the twentieth century, which is additionally highlighted by wide-ranging redecoration and restoration works.
The building was created in 1910-1912 on Dobrzyński (the spouses Leopold and Adela, and Maurycy and Frania) family's initiative. It was located on a square plot in the very centre of the city, on the crossroads of bustling Widzewska and Dzielna Streets (today Narutowicza and Kilińskiego Streets). At the beginning, it was called the Palast Hotel and in the 1920s its name was changed into Polonia-Palast Hotel (today's name), but at the beginning of the World War II, the second part of the name was removed and it was called simply the Polonia Hotel.
Taking into account its special location, the building's shape was adapted to it. The corner was highlighted by a three-sided risalit finished with a belvedere and dome. The renovation plans include utilisation of this excellent viewpoint - probably a restaurant will be situated in the dome. The hotels' internal yard is enclosed by its three wings. Earlier, the lower parts of this 6-storey building were enclosed but in the 1960s arcades were constructed there. The sign with the hotel name is no longer on the top of the building either.
The building was designed by a rather unknown architect named Guenzel. He installed quasi-classical elements in the facade - pairs of grooved attached columns with allegorical female characters in antique robes, and relief classical motives under the windows on individual floors. The bright, beautifully ornamented facade was the decoration of the street and the pride of the city, and the name "palace" seemed to be fully adequate for both the external structure and the equipment provided in the hotel, which was most luxurious at that time. It included such elements as central heating, running water, electricity, phones, the most modern lift or even a mechanical-electrical laundry, and lavish interiors designed by Rudolf Koloch from Wrocław.
The first general refitting works were carried out in the 1920s, and until the outbreak of the War, the Polonia Hotel remained one of the best and most elegant hotels in Łódź. After the Word War II, the building fell slightly into decline, and a Red Army hospital was organized there. It operated for a year, and in 1946 the city authorities took over the building and affiliated it to the Hotele Miejskie company. On the turn of the 1960s and 1970s, another general refitting works were carried out in parallel with extension of Narutowicza and Kilińskiego Streets. Since 1974, the hotel has been managed by Przedsiębiorstwo Turystyczne Łódź, which has been transformed into the Centrum-Hotele partnership.
Presently, it has been decided that the hotel should be restored to its former glory. The rebuilding concept estimated at PLN 1.3 million has been accepted by the municipal conservation officer. A part of the refitting costs, including replacement of all windows, renovation of the historical facade (bright yellow plasterwork is associated with the historic appearance of the building) and renewal of all rooms, was covered by the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage.
The striking new appearance of the building makes it one more time an architectural pearl of Łódź. Surely, it will still be a hotel favoured by film and theatre stars such as e.g. Hanka Bielicka, who used to have a suite in the Polonia Palast Hotel ** and most often stayed there when she visited Łódź.
From the very beginning of the hotel's existence, its location has been one of its most important advantages: it is situated in the very centre of the city, in the vicinity of Piotrkowska Street, the Łódź Fabryczna Railway-Coach Station and two key transport arteries. Long time ago, entrepreneurs heading for the Promised Land walked there, now this area is crowded with tourists and visitors. At first glance, one may notice that it is not a regular bustling intersection in the heart of the city. Looking from the Polonia Palast Hotel ** level, the first thing you see are the shining domes of the 19th century Orthodox church. This church, dedicated to Saint Aleksander Newski, fills you with admiration not only for its exterior, but also its interior hiding real treasures, i.e. original 17th century icons, procession crosses and the iconostasis made in Sankt Petersburg. There is another beautiful Eastern sacral building, i.e. Saint Olga Orthodox church, on the next street (Piramowicza Street). It is enough to cross the street to find peace and quiet in the Moniuszko Park, which is the second oldest (after the Źródliska Park) municipal park in Łódź.
The neighbourhood attracts us not only with its monuments and renovated tenement houses. It is also full of cultural facilities. A few minutes' walk will take you to the Łódź Concert Hall, opera house in the Grand Theatre located by the Dąbrowski Square, and one of the best dramatic theatres, namely Stefan Jaracz Theatre. In the vicinity of the hotel, there are numerous restaurants, pizzerias, shops, charming cafes and tea-houses (the cosy Dwa Księżyce tea-house is especially worth visiting), pubs (since 1990, the cult Bagdad pub has been located just round the corner in the old manufacturer's villa) and clubs (e.g. Pewex, where you can dance to the tunes from the eighties and nineties). It is impossible to get bored in this neighbourhood - neither during the day not at night.