Sometimes the most extraordinary buildings are hiding underneath an unremarkable, even ugly, facade. It takes an architect with imagination and vision to see beyond the unloved concrete and realize what could be. Stamba Hotel is a case in point. This former Soviet publishing house in Tbilisi, the vibrant capital of the Caucasian country of Georgia, has been transformed from a drab shell into one of the world’s most remarkable Design Hotels. From every angle, inside and out, there is a feature to grab your attention and make you think “wow!”
Creating Stamba Hotel must have been an architect’s dream: they threw out the rule book, and anything goes. Take the hotel lobby, for example. It is within a multi storey atrium, above which sits the hotel’s glass bottomed swimming pool. Breezing through the space are bellboys in uniforms which would not look out of place on the set of a Wes Anderson movie, all of which are designed and made in Stamba’s in house atelier.
Stamba’s Pink Bar has a definite Wes Anderson feel to it, too. The bright leather chairs at the bar seem to have slipped out of a 1950s diner, as do the black and white floor tiles, and the glitzy chandelier definitely has something of the Belle Époque about it. But the decor across the hotel is certainly not all retro: there are bold artworks by cutting-edge Georgian creatives, oversized windows, exposed brickwork, dark metal, and natural wood. There’s no doubt that this is a 21st century space, and the hotel’s young, hip clientele are the same individuals at the forefront of the international fashion, film, and start-up scenes.
Retreating upstairs, Stamba’s guest rooms are as quirky as the hotel’s public areas. In the Aviator Signature rooms, free standing brass bath tubs are set off by the red artisan made tiles. Natural light floods in through the slatted wooden blinds, casting rays across the crisp white linen on the super king beds.