CIȘMIGIU HOTEL Poetry, mystery and drama!

History of the building

The 4* Hotel Cișmigiu has a long history and a million stories to tell. Discover the legendary details that made it famous in the city.


Before it was a hotel

Sameșu Dumitrache used to live on the site of the current Hotel Cișmigiu, with “Bibica Roseti” as his neighbour. At that time, the area between the National Military Circle and the Cișmigiu garden was covered with sprawling gardens and scraped houses.


The first modern buildings on the boulevard

The first modern buildings are built on Elizabeth Avenue, the result of Western influences and modernization trends. The building of the future Bucharest Cinema (1884), the Casa Dotațiunii Oastei (later Hotel Astoria), at the intersection with Brezoianu towards Cișmigiu Garden (1884-1885) and the Eforiei Palace of the Civil Hospitals (now the City Hall of Sector 5) (1888-1891).


Regina Elisabeta Boulevard

During Pache Protopopescu’s premiership, the great East-West boulevard was laid out linking Oborul to Cotroceni, Cotroceni Palace being the summer residence of King Carol I. The portion between Academiei Boulevard and Mihail Kogălniceanu was named after Queen Elisabeta


Land of the new hotel

The land on which the Palace Hotel (which became the Cismigiu Hotel after 1948) will be built, located between the Astoria Hotel and the Classic Cinema, was owned by the furrier Sigmund Prager. He sold it to the engineer Nicolae Nacu Pissiota, a Macedonian-Romanian born in 1860 in Hrupiste – Greece and settled in Romania


Nicolae Pissiota, the hotel engineer

Nicolae Pissiota builds one of the most imposing hotels in Bucharest of those years: PALACE HOTEL. An engineer with studies in Paris, Pissiota will design the building’s structure, leaving his cousin, arch. Arghir Culina, the design and organisation of the hotel. Culina had designed the Hotel Luvru (now the Capitol) on Calea Victoriei and later in 1912 he designed the Negoiu, Union and Ambasador Hotels. From an architectural point of view, the Palace Hotel is built in an eclectic style, with neoclassical and Art Nouveau elements, typical of the 1900s trend that spread through Europe at the beginning of the 20th century. Arghir Culina designed the hotel’s plan in a U-shape, typical of inns and urban housing, which allows for light courtyards and green gardens.


Palace Hotel

The Palace Hotel opens its doors as the most modern hotel in this part of Bucharest. With its 200 rooms, it was one of the city’s grandest hotels. The facilities and services offered satisfied the most demanding expectations: bathroom in the suites, reading and correspondence rooms, bar and English and French billiard room, restaurant with upper gallery (where later the Beraria Gambrinus would open), French and Romanian cuisine, telephone in every room, symphonic concerts at lunchtime, omnibus for all trains s. A sumptuous chandelier illuminated the lobby, a monumental staircase provided access to the mezzanine in addition to the two lifts, and the room was decorated with gold leaf. The hotel manager was George Fabris, former “Director of the Service of the Apartments and Voiages of M.S. King Leopold I (of Belgium) and of various large European hotels”. Most of the staff were brought in from Western countries and spoke French, German or English, from the cook to the maid, and Romanian was rarely heard in the hotel lounges. At the reception, guests who registered by filling in beautiful headed papers, were served with Berindei chocolate delicacies and other products of the Nae Drăghiceanu Royal Confectionery, a former student and collaborator of the Capșa House.


Bucharest in the First World War

During the First World War, after the occupation of Bucharest by the German army, the German Imperial Military Command moved to the City Hall on Elisabeta Boulevard, near the Palace Hotel. Shortly afterwards, the Palace Hotel flies the white flag with the red cross, and is transformed into the Centre for War Wounded.


A kind of Bucharest Broadway

Elisabeta Boulevard becomes a kind of Bucharest Broadway, here, with big bright firms next to each other, there are big cinemas, some of them still existing today. The Palace Hotel is no slouch, and on its ground floor we find the Palace Cinematograph, later named Bulevard Palas. Until then it had operated at number 12, in the Hotel Mircea building on the same boulevard. Next to the cinema, in generously sized shop windows, were the Vega bodega, the Naum Toma & Co. grocery, the “Anticaria” bookshop, the Grigoriu confectionery and, on the corner of Brezoianu Street, the Otto Gagel bakery, on the site where the Gambrinus brewery would open in 1941.


Famous visitors

At the Palace Hotel lives for a while the great poet Ion Barbu, together with his wife Gerda Barbilian.


Gambrinus Brewery

The famous Gambrinus Brewery is opened on the ground floor of the Palace Hotel by a certain Naumescu, continuing the tradition of over 40 years of Caragiale’s famous brewery. In 1901, the great playwright took over the famous Gambrinus brewery, which had been located in the Mandy house at 4 Ion Câmpineanu Street, near the National Theatre, since 1897. Caragiale, with his white apron tied over his waist, served his customers himself, so that he could tease them with his sarcastic humour. Gambrinus’s guests were the journalists from Universul and Adevărul, out hunting for news and gossip, the actors from the National Theatre celebrating a premiere, some writers – an environment only good for “uncle Iancu”. Even after Caragiale’s departure for Berlin in 1905, the Gambrinus beer hall remained a meeting place for people from the theatrical world, the host of jazz shows and performances by famous lute bands. The building on Câmpineanu Street was demolished in 1940, interrupting the Gambrinus Brewery’s storied history. It would be revived in August 1941 with the opening of the luxurious brewery on the ground floor of the Palace Hotel, on the site of the former Otto Gagel brewery.


During the bombing

During the Anglo-American bombing of Bucharest in April-May, a bomb falls on the roof of the Palace Hotel, destroying it. It was later rebuilt, but unfortunately without the beautiful domes typical of the architectural style of the early 20th century.


Cișmigiu Hotel

The establishment of the communist regime in Romania also had a negative impact on the Palace Hotel: it was nationalized and its name was changed from “Palace” to “6 March”, the date of the establishment of the government of Dr. Petru Groza (1945), Romania’s first communist government. Also “6 March” became “Elisabeta” Boulevard, until 1965, when it changed its name again to “Gh.Gheorghiu-Dej”, and the former Palace Hotel became… Hotel Cișmigiu. The famous cinema of the inter-war period, Bulevard Palas, on the ground floor of the Palace Hotel, did not escape the communist “baptism” either, becoming Cinema “Timpuri Noi”. A happy exception was the Gambrinus Brewery, which kept its name unchanged (a rare case in the proletarian communist period) until 1995, when it was taken out of use along with the Cișmigiu Hotel.


Other famous guests

Hotel Cișmigiu got its name after the nearby park, where, 100 years before, the first cistern in Bucharest had been installed, and the head of the works over the city’s cisterns was also called “the great cistern-keeper”. Until 1985, when it was closed due to decay, the hotel Cișmigiu lived its last years of the communist period. In its restaurant, the late singer Aurelian Andreescu could be heard, and among the hotel’s guests were the writer I. D. Sarbu, historian Alexandru Zub, singer Gil Dobrica…



Negligent repairs and insufficient funds irreparably damage the building and problems arise with no electricity or water in the rooms.


Student camp

The hotel becomes home to students at the Academy of Theatre and Film who live their love and tragedy in miserable conditions.


The building is closed

The building is closed due to its poor condition and high level of deterioration.


The famous song “Hotel Cișmigiu”

The famous song “Hotel Cișmigiu” is released, based on the tragedy that took place in the lift house. Composed by Vama Veche, it is a cover inspired by the Eagles’ hit “Hotel California”.


Spanish company HERCESA

The Spanish company HERCESA, a renowned real estate developer, is taking over the building in order to rebuild.


Hercesa investment

The investment of HERCESA, with more than 35 years of experience in the real estate sector, revitalizes the symbol of an elegant building and, thus, the hotel with a history of 100 years comes back to life, becoming a multifunctional complex that houses the Humanitas bookshop and the Cervantes Institute. Newly built, it is the only historic building in Bucharest with underground parking.