Meet Rūta Pulkauninkaitė-Macikė, Hotel Pacai, Vilnius
Set in the heart of Vilnius Old Town, Hotel Pacai perfectly echoes this quarter’s 17th-century Baroque grandeur, yet augments it with a contemporary twist.
We were huge fans since its opening and we cannot wait to have you discover the Hotel Pacai. We sit down with its General Manager: Rūta to discuss the city’s secret and get some design insights.
Can you tell us three facts about Vilnius that people might not know about?
- Vilnius is the only capital in Europe you can fly above with a hot air balloon. Views of the medieval old town from above are breathtaking.
- Surrounded by forests and green hills, Vilnius is the greenest capital in Europe and the third in the world.
- Inside the city exist the self-proclaimed ‘Republic’ of Užupis with its own president and constitution – the city’s Bohemian and artistic district. In the warmer months, festivals, music, art, and theatre fill the streets, theatres, and galleries of Vilnius.
Come to the Hotel Pacai to discover more of it’s secret 🙂
Can you tell us a little bit more about Hotel Pacai and it’s neighbourhood?
The hotel is set in the heart of Vilnius’s old town. It is one of the best-preserved in Northern Europe and was inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1994, It is an exceptional illustration of a medieval Central European town that evolved over a period of five centuries. The labyrinthine of Old Town, business district, elegant center, many open squares and parks, coffee places and restaurants, museums, you name it, everything is close to our hotel.
Can you tell us about the history of the building of the Hotel Pacai?
It was famous for being the most magnificent mansion in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania in the 17th century. The stately building has been reborn thanks to the inspired efforts of a passionate team of local architects and designers. The ornate baroque mansion lived through the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, the rule of Russian czars, Napoleon’s entrance to Vilnius, and the Soviet before it was reborn in 2018 as the Hotel PACAI. Rich historic elements are masterfully blended with present-day design to showcase soft, deep tones and elegant materials that heighten the structure’s classical style.
Could you share one of your favourite stories about something that might have happened at the Hotel Pacai?
My favourite story was when a guest who watched a TV show before going to sleep, met the main actor of the TV show as he arrived for breakfast. He ran to reception asking if he had had a hallucination! One guest also begged us to sell the bed linen he slept in as he felt so cozy and just wanted to take that feeling back home. Money was not the case, he said, just tell the price. Very Maison Flâneur.
What makes a good hotel?
Authentic experience (be it architecture, design, food, spa moments, details in the room, welcome note) and genuine hospitality – employees who do their work with passion.
Can you tell us about your vision in terms of interior design?
Hotel PACAI’s design is the synthesis of multiple creative visions coming together in a historical building. It celebrates the region’s tradition as well as the present uniqueness of Lithuanian and Baltic culture. With the majority of the mansion’s spaces dating back centuries, the designers’ goal was to keep the history visible in a direct way. Thus, all the existing frescoes and unique textures of the walls are emphasized through lighting. While the main features of the hotel strive for elegance and classical purity, both through materials and details. A cozy, artistic atmosphere includes soft, deep tones in the public areas and artwork in the rooms.
Do you have a favourite suite?
The Pacai Suite is my favorite as it holds beautiful history: three different layers of frescoes, a palatial 4.5 meters ceiling, a dark green marble bathroom, and a famous balcony. A balcony where back in 17th century Napoleon stood and addressed his army. All this makes the room special and different.
Is there an object in the hotel that has a special meaning for you?
Athena – a sculpture of 17th century greets you on the second floor. The sculpture was found during renovation without a head, the head was cut and placed next to the feet. Reborn Athena is as important as a reborn mansion.
Can you tell us more about the restaurant and chef Matas Paulinas ?
For a long time Matas worked in Japanese cuisine restaurants in Denmark, he has also worked at a “Michelin” star lever restaurant in Monaco. Later, while living in Copenhagen, he worked in “Noma” where he became a fan of Scandinavian kitchen philosophy. His food style is a contemporary interpretation of ethnographic themes from recent history, Matas is extremely creative inside the plate.
Your favourite address for design in Vilnius/in the world?
MO museum and Galerija Vartai are my favourite places to visit in Vilnius for art and design.