Travel 2021: The Bursa Hotel, Kiev is Galvanizing the City’s Creative Set

On February 26 of this year, the new American President Joe Biden released a statement which read in part, “The United States continues to stand with Ukraine and its allies and partners today, as it has from the beginning of this conflict.” He was referring, of course, to the Russian invasion of Crimea in 2014, and the ongoing dispute over that region of Ukraine. With Trump now gone, certainly, those words are meant very much in earnest – as we no longer have a leader who was seemingly beholden to Vladimir Putin.

In that spirit, planning a trip to Kiev – once the travel restrictions have actually been lifted – would carry with it a measure of solidarity; and Ukraine still has a bit of the “undiscovered” about it, as Americans haven’t yet visited there in droves. The capital also now has a boutique hotel that speaks decisively to the inclinations of the 21st Century mediarati. To be sure, the Bursa Hotel (which opened in late 2018 and has just recently joined venerable Design Hotels group), has a genuinely artistic soul, and an impressively eclectic sense of style.

Located in the hip Podil district, where the boho bar-hopping is truly aces, its aesthetic essence can be pegged to the Bauhaus movement…but there are any number of ideas going on from space to space. The 33 guest rooms are distinctly minimalistic, with all white desks and beds, the latter with modern four-poster frames. Large, factory style windows take in the historic architecture of the neighborhood, which is a mix of the 17th to 19th Centuries.

Public spaces each have their own stylistic vibe, with mostly muted color schemes – except for the occasional splash of red – lots of exposed brick, and elegantly coffered ceilings. The moodily lit, rustic industrial City Cafe Beliy Shum (which name amusingly translates to White Noise), has smartly mismatched furniture, with assorted nooks and corners for slightly more discreet dining – and serves up contemporary bistro fare plus natural wines. The 1818 rooftop bar has been known to turn into wild dance parties late at night – which is something we’ll really be looking forward to on our first post-pandemic getaways.

But the Bursa is also Kiev’s first hotel to act as a true galvanizer for the city’s culture set, with its namesake gallery exhibiting forward-thinking and experimental Ukrainian artists, and the in-house cinema Kino42 having become a meeting point for local film buffs. It’s a “destination” hotel in every sense of the word.

So consider a few days in Kiev, paired up with a stop in Vienna or Prague, for a vivid taste of urban Central and Eastern Europe – which will hopefully at least be possible by autumn.

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