Georgia is a radiant star in a world bristling with exciting tourism destinations. The corner stone of this offering are the ‘Rooms’ hotels. The first Rooms hotel was opened in Kazbegi in North Eastern Georgia. The, now iconic, venue is set amongst the utterly breath taking peaks of the Caucuses mountain range, about a three hour drive from throbbing vivacity of the capital city of Tbilisi. The drive is a near spiritual experience as it takes you past some of the country’s most revered pilgrimage sites and up into the clouds.
The moment you pull back the hotel’s bedroom curtains you experience what I rather morbidly term a ‘death bed memory’, the view is ineffably beautiful. Take a moment to peer a little further up towards the peaks and you will see the Gergeti Trinity church at around 2,200 metres altitude. Its celestial solace is reminiscent of the inhabitants of the church as it has been a functioning monastery since its construction in the 14th century.
Dragging yourself away from the roaring fires of the hotel’s lounge or suave casino is a challenge, welcoming chestnut leather armchairs and a slick cocktail bar make it near impossible. However, if you are able to summit this metaphorical Everest, then a short car journey will take you right up to the vertiginously blessed church itself.
Back in the capital the atmosphere is rather different. Gone is the still, Caucuses air, saturated with tranquillity. In its stead is the calamitous roar of mopeds down Aleksandr Pushkin Street and the hoarse bursts of folk songs from rattling accordions round the edge of Liberty Square.
Tbilisi is uniquely multifaceted, which is a tremendous force for good. At the furthest extremes there is the gorgeous ancient quarter, where bright pastel paint peels from ornate wood carved window gables which, stylistically speaking, look like the love child of Venice and Istanbul. When the pendulum swings to the other extreme, Tbilisi takes on another identity all together with a visceral electro music scene which puts Bergheim to shame.
The Rooms Hotel in Tbilisi combines a trendy, leafy Brooklyn loft with traditional, domestic design. Its al fresco terrace murmurs with gentle chit chat over the rim of a cappuccino by day, and buzzes with bright eyed gossip over cocktails by night. The hotel restaurant leads off a bright corridor with floor to ceiling panelled windows allowing natural light to stream in over the ochre tiled floors which emit a warm, welcoming glow. Bedrooms are spacious and built for comfort. Superior rooms come with free standing tubs under hipster open bulb wrought iron chandeliers.
From the avant-garde fashion week, to the techo raves of Bastiani nightclub and from its politically broken past to its dazzling future, Georgia covers all the bases.
Certain Georgian characteristics are consistently prevalent throughout the country. These are the beauty of its history, its undeniably contagious dynamism and its prevailing optimism. I asked our driver during my trip into the Caucuses Mountains who he would most like to be in the world, if he could ‘freak Friday’ life swap. He looked me dead in the eye, shrugged, uttered a short burst of contemplative Georgian and gesticulated out towards the skyline. This was translated by the tour guide as ‘I would trade with no one, I live here’.
Rooms Tbilisi, 14 Merab Kostava Street T’bilisi, 0108, Georgia
Rooms Kazbegi, 1 V.gorgasali St, Stepantsminda 4700, Georgia