Built on seven hills in the south-central region of Bulgaria, Plovdiv is as old as cities – its architecture and design tell many tales, from the (cobbled) street of crafts in the old town where prominent masters of traditional Bulgarian crafts such as weavers lived , potters and woodcarvers still work on the impressive ancient Roman theater. According to nine sources, Plovdiv is the oldest continuously inhabited city in Europe.
The city’s bones may be old by definition, but the soul of Plovdiv – its heart and warm personality – is very ageless, with vibrancy around every corner.
Nestled in the heart of the city, a new hotel designed by Sundukovy Sisters (S+S) has arrived to advance the city’s narrative. Housed in a former department store, the 61-room boutique hotel The Emporium Plovdiv – MGallery pays “a tribute to the city, its people, architecture and culture” and has become the brand’s flagship hotel in Plovdiv.
“The opening of this amazing hotel is the beginning of the beautiful adventure of creating unforgettable moments for our guests who travel to Plovdiv from all over the world,” said Paweł Pańczak, General Manager, The Emporium Plovdiv – MGallery. “With the unique ambience of boutique brand MGallery, which takes hospitality to a higher level, we encourage everyone to relax, admire some of the region’s oldest, golden treasures and create stories to be remembered forever.
To earn the right to be seen as a protagonist, no budget was spared in the design and operation of the hotel, which is immediately evident upon arrival when guests enter the building on the lower level and are greeted by a warm, open plan and welcoming contemporary space. Filled with structured interiors that feel considered – the contemporary art fireplace feels like the focal point of the design. Around it, integrated lighting in the ceiling and staircase along with accented modern furniture and a large contemporary fireplace ensure the space feels appropriately layered. An indoor swing hangs in the corner on a platform next to the bar, adding a touch of personality and playfulness to the space.
As you move through the public areas, past the Möet champagne bar, the atmosphere unfolds as guests move from inside to outside and into the courtyard, where an island of furniture atop a striking water feature becomes the focal point. “This courtyard is so much more than just a nice place to sit and relax in the common areas,” said Irina and Olga Sundukovy. “Ahead of this area, the guest rooms lacked ‘a view’ as many of them face inward around that void in the building.” The new courtyard effortlessly blurs the lines between indoors and outdoors.
While the public areas are impressive, the real draw of the hotel, in my opinion, is the intuitive design of the guest rooms and suites, which have been incorporated into the building’s existing architectural envelope. Here the rooms are not what you would expect. The shower for example is in the middle of the layout I imagine to save space. Although the shower is thus in the middle of the room, the designers have made sure that privacy is not sacrificed by mirroring the glass to the shower.
The other detail that suggests this hotel was on a healthy budget and an investor who understood the ingredients needed to run a successful hotel equipped for modern travel is the technology that makes guests feel so seamless and effortless connected to the room. “The owner of the hotel really understood our design direction,” the designer twins added. “This allowed us to take the latest technology and bring it together within the design scheme with the aim of simply improving the guest experience.”
The touch-sensitive panels keep technology under control, are easy to use and allow guests to control various lighting settings. Going a step further than conventional, even elements like the bedside lamp have been redesigned, in this case a point from the ceiling.
With the yet to be unveiled F&B experience, MGallery has made a name for itself in the city of Plovdiv thanks to the owner’s creative vision and the flair of the interior design by Sundukovy Sisters (S+S). True to what they say, a hotel really has the power to capture the soul of a city. For MGallery, which has over 100 hotels worldwide – a brand that has built a reputation for telling unique stories – Plovdiv is a key destination that will help raise awareness of Accor while also expanding its portfolio of locations to expand that you might not expect.
Main image credit: Accor