Inscribed on the wall outside its entrance door is a catchphrase that accurately sums up one of the prime attractions of the five-star Hotel Epoque in central Bucharest: „Retreat in the heart of the city.” Close to the charming, century-old Cismigiu Park and tucked away among a maze of quiet backstreets of an historic neighborhood, this modern-style hotel certainly provides a sedate sanctuary removed from noisy capital city traffic.
It even grants views over what is known colloquially as Ceausescu’s Wedding Cake, a giant, multi-story, cream-colored building that the former Communist dictator built to reflect his self-glorified status, and is also a short walk from such tourist highlights as the Romanian Athenaeum, home of the national philharmonic orchestra, the Bucharest Opera House, the Royal Palace, now hosting the National Art Museum, and Piata Constitutiei, where frequent open-air concerts are held.
An impressive wrought-iron gate beckons guests to enter the hotel’s short circular driveway adorned with quaint, sculptured lamp-posts, decorative bicycles and a landscape of small, manicured bushes. An impressive glass and metal canopy stands above the entrance door on either side of which are two small terraces complete with tables and chairs suitable for alfresco dining or informal drinks and snacks.
The property’s rotund restaurant, L’Atelier, with seating for 30 people, overlooks the hotel’s entrance driveway and garden. Weather permitting, guests can also enjoy dining in the winter garden area. Under the close direction of Executive Chef, Samuel Le Torriellec, a comprehensive menu has been designed that ranges from traditional onion soup with aged Emmental cheese to black Angus ribeye with Béarnaise sauce and potatoes; and octopus fricassee with aromatic herbs served with barbecue sauce and endives in Thai vinaigrette. Ambience here is cozy, with a glass surround permitting ample natural light, and an overlying chic, black and white decor, complete with crisp white tablecloths.
Rooms range from junior and executive style to grand, luxury and VIP suites, varying in size from 431 to 1,184 square feet, with multiple rooms in each. The largest, the Epoque suite, accommodates up to six guests, with two bedrooms with king-size beds, two bathrooms, a separate living room, a kitchenette and a large terrace.
Leisure facilities at the Epoque include an intimate, 10 by 13 foot, indoor heated swimming pool in the basement, with hydro massage and water jets, as well as a dry sauna, a steam room, a fitness room and various spa treatments. There is also what hotel staff term ‘emotional showers,’ offering a combined experience of water, colors, lights and fragrances.
Whether for business or vacation, Hotel Epoque, with its central city location, overall tranquility and thoughtful classic design, is a serious contender as hotel of choice for the discerning traveler to Romania.