Goodfellas! Eagerly-awaited DeNiro, Nobu and Teper hotel finally opens its doors
Widely viewed as the most anticipated hotel launch in recent Polish history, the Nobu Hotel Warsaw welcomed its first paying guests earlier in the day.
Famously fronted by chef Nobu Matsuhisa, actor Robert De Niro and the film producer Meir Teper, the Warsaw branch represents the luxury brand’s 12th hotel and 43rd restaurant.
“For the last few years, Warsaw has been one of the most dynamically developing cities in Europe,” said Anthony Campaniaris, General Director of Nobu in Poland. “That’s why we are very happy that the Nobu brand is becoming a part of this market.”
Known for its zen-like atmosphere and design-forward ethos, the beginnings of the brand date back to the 1980s when De Niro was first seduced by the cuisine of Matsuhisa.
Having initially politely rejected the actor’s suggestion to go into business together and open more restaurants, the Japanese chef eventually folded to De Niro’s persistent requests and the friends launched the first Nobu eatery in the Tribeca district of New York in 1994.
Its success was immediate and prompted not just the roll-out of more restaurants, but also the gradual development of an on-trend hotel concept that first made its debut in 2013.
As with Nobu’s other hotels, the Warsaw outpost touts a distinct Japanese aesthetic with the minimalist rooms featuring hardwood floors, Japanese tea sets, yoga mats, matcha-flavoured Kit Kats and lavish Yakuta robes.
However, unlike their other global ventures, the Nobu Warsaw is unique for blending two distinct styles. Comprised of both an ultra-modern v-shaped wing notable for its iconic wood-carved spiral staircase and an elegant pre-war tenement, the latter part was reputedly protected from any seismic transformation on the insistence of Meir Teper.
Formerly housing the boutique Hotel Rialto, Teper – himself of Polish ancestry – was keen to maintain this section’s underlying art deco style out of respect for the capital’s history.
Actively abiding to the philosophy of “luxury through simplicity”, the overall design was inspired by Japan and Asia yet with “with an intentional link to contemporary architecture and the materials of Poland."
Evidenced by the use of pre-fabricated concrete, shattered glass, steel, stone, warm woods and a preponderance of plants (not flowers, stress the management), the complete effect naturally induces a state of inner calm, something further invoked by the deliciously soothing scents of lemongrass and ginger.
Absent of any crass statement pieces, public spaces have been left decorated with contemporary Polish artwork by artists such as Anna Bimer and Piotr Uklanski while living quarters have been designed to elevate feelings of restfulness with plenty of natural light, functional designer furniture, marble bathrooms and discreet, mood-enhancing touches such as vinyl record players in each and every room.
Despite the well-publicized struggles of the hospitality sector, Nobu’s long-term success already looks assured, not least if the early triumphs recorded by the on-site restaurant are to be used as a watermark.
Opened in mid-July, and serving Nobu’s signature brand of Japanese-South American cuisine, the restaurant has already attracted a fleet of stars, among them professional celebrity Joanna Krupa.
Fully-booked for the next two-months, and inspired by the Japanese motto of Irasshaimase (“welcome” or “come in”), its runaway popularity has made a mockery of the hospitality sector’s widely-publicized struggles.
On this front, however, the silently lurking threat of Covid-19 has not been taken lightly, and as such the management have adopted a range of stringent health measures incorporating UV lighting and other mindful steps.
And should the virus retreat, the palpable buzz around the hotel is set to reach stratospheric levels with next year’s planned visit of the founders – De Niro et al.