History of the Hotel

History of the Hotel

Druskininkai is the oldest and largest year-round balneological, mud and climate resort in Lithuania. A city richly endowed by nature, valued not only for its healing natural properties, but also for its wonderful landscape.

Some sources say that in 1794 June 20 By order of the Polish king Stanislaus Augustus Paniatowski, the town of Druskininkai was declared a healing area: this date is considered the founding day of Druskininkai. Other sources state that the founding day of Druskininkai is January 4, 1838, when Russian Emperor Nicholas I, based on the research of Vilnius University professor Ignacs Fonberg, approved the project for the establishment of the Druskininkai resort.

The first medical facility of the resort was established in 1838. a wooden mineral water spa was built, which was soon expanded to 50 baths. The wooden buildings of that time often burned or were destroyed by floods, so the wooden Druskininkai hospital was not spared either, it burned down in 1894.

In 1896 the first brick health center was built in Druskininkai resort on the site of the burned down health resort: the current hotel EUROPA Royale Druskininkai building is the oldest brick architectural cultural heritage object in Druskininkai.

The elegant, reflecting the architectural fashions of the time, the hospital palace was designed by the chief architect of the city of Vilnius, Vaclovas Michnevičius, who built well-known buildings at that time - the Vilnius Hall Market, the Russian Drama Theater, Žvēryna, Birštona, Kernavė and many other Lithuanian churches.

The new building of the clinic is one-story, yellow masonry, characterized by the features of the architectural fashion of Petersburg at that time, therefore it is called Nicholas I or simply Tsar's clinic. The structure became the center of the expanding resort, as many as 150 baths were installed in it, salt, mud, carbonic acid, electric, solar and air baths, massages and therapeutic orthopedic gymnastics were performed. Druskininkai could be proud of the hospital, which became perhaps the first and largest building of such purpose in all of Europe.

Between the wars, the resort was popularized by Polish Marshal Juzefs Pilsudskis, who often liked to spend the summer here. His special attention was paid to the park of brick spas, which at that time was famous for the rosary, known as the park of a thousand roses. In the adjacent open gallery (colonnade), Gardin or Bialystok orchestras played throughout the summer season, poetry, book readings, cultural and dance evenings took place.

After World War II, from the 1950s, Druskininkai expanded rapidly, new sanatoriums and clinics were built. The former new tsar's brick Druskininkai hospitals, built in the 19th century, were called the old hospitals. 1954-1960 a new mud treatment building was built next to the old treatment rooms, the current Druskininkai treatment room. The brick building of the old hospitals operated until the 1970s, then it became neglected and abandoned, and was unused for 35 years.

In 2006, the old hospital building was carefully reconstructed and adapted for hotel activities: the architectural integrity of the old hospital building was restored, the blocked council buildings blocking the view of the Nemunas coast were demolished. The old hospitals have been reconstructed according to strict requirements, restoring their old style and luxury. The central part of the building was left unplastered - this was how the entire building was then. You can see it by looking at the main entrance of the hotel from the side of the musical fountain. The walls, corridor system and volumes have been preserved in the internal structure of the building, so each room in the hotel's historic building is unique and different.

The preserved decor details have been restored, especially visible in the lobby: arches, Roman pilasters, plant motifs, exposed authentic floor tiles near the entrance to the restaurant. The building was protected from further decay and loss of cultural heritage. Keeping the spirit of the end of the 19th century, the building was adapted for hotel activities, a restaurant and a bar with outdoor terraces were established in it, the building was included in the Lithuanian architectural cultural heritage.

An additional glass hotel building was built on the former site of the boiler house, which houses rooms, a SPA boutique center, a swimming pool and sauna area, conference and bowling centers, and a fitness room.

Both the historical and the glass buildings of the hotel are connected to the Druskininkai hospital and water park by a corridor. This juxtaposition seems to echo the integrity of the old-time spa complex, while at the same time providing comfort for hotel guests – all entertainment and treatments can be accessed in slippers and a robe.