Hotel Ritz

The idea of building the "Ritz" Hotel in Białystok originated among Russian and French capitalists.

The idea of building the "Ritz" Hotel in Białystok originated among Russian and French capitalists. The hotel was built in the years 1912-1913 with the help of the Petersbursko-Tulski Bank Ziemski. The opening ceremony took place on 1 July, 1913. The building was located in the very centre of the city, which nowadays is between the Branicki Palace and the little Guest Palace in Kilińskiego Street.

The building comprised three levels. The billiards room, beer room, luggage room, safes and boiler room were located in the basement. The Stock Exchange, coffee bar, telephone exchange and "Gryf" cinema, bank and hairdresser were located on the first floor.

The restaurant with terrace and balconies and the hotel reading room were located on the second floor In the evenings a string orchestra played in the restaurant, while floordancers performed in the cocktail bar.

The "Ritz" Hotel had fifty rooms equipped with hot and cold water, telephones and central heating. Reproductions of famous paintings hung on the walls and heavy brass lamps provided the lighting. Three-room suites located on the first and second floors included balconies and bathrooms. The hotel was the only one in the town to have a wooden lift for transporting people and goods.

The interior of the Białystok "Ritz" was frequently used for the organization of various exhibitions. The most remarkable event in the hotel was the stay of Marshal Józef Piłsudski in 1919. Among other guests of the hotel were Pola Negri, Hanka Ordonówna, Marshal Edward Śmigły-Rydz, Duke Feliks Jasupow (later the assassin of Rasputin) and the last Prime Minister of the Second Republic of Poland, Sławoj Składkowski.

For the thirty years of its existence the Białystok "Ritz" Hotel was one of the most beautiful and elegant places in pre-war Poland. Unfortunately, in 1944 the Germans leaving the city set the hotel on fire. The hotel has never been reconstructed and its foundations were blasted a few years after the end of the war.

Adam Czesław Dobroński, Jolanta Szczygieł - Rogowska "Białystok lata 20-te, lata 30-te"

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