From quirky street art to a profound street homage immortalising any writer who has ever written about the country (in any capacity), Lithuania is fast becoming one of Europe’s most unique, and relatively unexplored, destinations. You’ve got the incredible architecture like the flamboyant gothic St. Anne’s Church; a bohemian sanctuary which has declared itself an independent republic (with own constitution and interesting riverside art); restaurants brimming with energy, many of which serve the city’s signature potato dumplings (AKA zeppelins); and worthy day trips like the gorgeous town of Trakai or the eerie Hill of Crosses.
On first look, Vilnius might seem like the rougher and tougher Baltic capital, but there’s a friendly atmosphere here that’s infectious and no doubt credited to the city’s precarious history. A visit should definitely be on the cards for any discerning Europe trip, and for travellers who place great value on views it’s hard to look past Radisson Blu Hotel Lietuva.
The four-star hotel, which is located near the banks of the winding River Neris, is well-placed for those content on staying just outside of Old Town. It’s a pleasant 10-15 minute walk to Vilnius’ cultural epicentre, but this hotel’s particular value lies in its claim to have the best view of the city. That’s easily justified with the 22nd floor Skybar, which takes in a panoramic vista of Vilnius’ sprawling Old Town and is said to be a local institution. The drinks here are reasonably priced and go down well, paired up with a view that the hotel brand’s other Vilnius property, Radisson Blu Royal Astorija Hotel – which is located right in the heart of Old Town – lacks.
A row of shop fronts lie in the shadow of the towering hotel, which inside is rather conservative in design but comfortable enough. The lobby could do with some character, but its fast and efficient with elevators on one side and access to the hotel’s Riverside restaurant on the other. The restaurant, which serves a decent breakfast buffet by day and an internationally-minded dinner in the evening, is spacious with many more intimate areas. Other venues accessible from the lobby include the downstairs Casino Lounge and an incorporated lobby bar, which is most ideal for a quick glass of wine or a morning coffee.
Anchoring down in the Snipiskes neighbourhood, the hotel is nicely positioned for those looking for the more metropolitan side of Vilnius. Snipiskes is the business distinct of Vilnius, which also lays claim to the energetic Kalvarijos Market, which is about a 10 minute walk from the hotel. Other than that, most of the time outside of the hotel is best spent exploring the fantastic Old Town, which has plenty to see and do which should definitely include a short trek up hill to the historic Gediminas’ Tower.
As far as the hotel’s 291 guest rooms go, Radisson’s Superior Class Double – where I stayed – is adequate but plain, with a lack of personality made up for with pops of purple and a neat, functional design. The bed is the kind you wouldn’t want to get out of, comfort which is to be expected from the brand. The en-suite bathroom is similarly small in size and uninspired in design with a simple set-up of shower, toilet and basic. The heavily-weighted bathroom door slams shut automatically, which is a slight annoyance if for any reason a guest would want to keep it open.
There’s a sizable working desk placed by the window, basking in plenty of natural light from the uninterrupted views of Vilnius, while a multi-channel wall-fixed LCD stands opposite the double bed.
Elsewhere the hotel operates with amenities expected from a higher-end full-service hotel, including a well-stocked fitness center that is positioned nearby Nordic-style saunas. There’s a comprehensive list of options should guests want a massage or treatment in the dedication beauty salon, although if you have a short stay in Vilnius the main thing you’d want to do is get out and explore the beautiful, endlessly interesting city.
Nightly rates at Radisson Blu Hotel Leituva start from around $120 AUD.
Radisson Blu Hotel Lietuva
Address: Konstitucijos pr. 20, Vilnius 09308, Lithuania
Contact: +370 5 272 6272
The writer stayed two nights as a guest of Radisson Blu Hotel Lietuva