A stay in a luxury hotel can be a brief reprieve from the harsh reality of the world.
A distraction with fluffy towels, soft linens, minibar, complimentary toiletries, the recomforting sensation that breakfast is waiting for you downstairs — and hopefully a late checkout. Perhaps my wanderings go beyond the scope of a hotel review but as I sit at the work desk of room 226 of the Pacai Hotel in Vilnius sipping my Nespresso espresso this is what comes to mind.
The baroque Pacai Mansion was established in 1677 by the debonaire Mykolas Kazimieras Pacas. The Mansion still possesses the joyful energy of the aristocrats that frolicked in its insides once upon a time; before it was forsaken by half a century of Soviet rule. The palace that once hosted Czars, Kings, and Napoleon himself, has been reborn with the young vigor that characterizes today’s Vilnius.
Its contemporary interior has vague remnants of its more prestigious past, when to spend the night here, you likely had to be of noble upbringing. (Although I feel like the decor was more inspired by the debaucherous facet of the upper classes. When exploring the Pacai in the evening I couldn’t get rid of the feeling that I could stumble upon an Eyes Wide Shut scenario — the beautiful blondes carelessly wandering through the hallways strengthen this impression.)
Pacai manages to be cozy, welcoming, and warm, but at the same time mysterious. As if the night presents more possibilities than a tranquil stay at a small city hotel. The service is excellent. The young gentlemen at the front desk seem to have been bred specially for this job. They perform their duties with impeccable precision. They even give off an air of superiority, as if spending long hours in the Pacai inevitably gave them permission to exhibit such sentiments despite the menial reality of their job.
Stylistically the room is a blend of modern functionality, with a moderate addendum of sensuality, while preserving the building’s legacy. It’s luxurious, but I don’t feel like a profligate for spending the night there.
A zest for life develops when you are here. Even the name Pacai evokes something sophisticated, intimate, and posh, but adorned with a je ne sais quoi, unlike the universally recognizable British Monarchy elegance. This is something else. More careless, original, and indistinguishable, like Lithuania’s own role among the more established Western European culture and aesthetics.
Naive, vibrant, young… and since it’s young it’s more prone to mistakes; which did happen during our stay. They sold me a Valentine’s Day special for “one person” and charged me for person 2 upon arrival — what hotel offers a Valentine’s Day package for one person? They tried to justify it instead of accepting it was a mistake. They promised us an empty sauna/hammam at 19h, but there were 4 other people there. Mistakes that are excusable due to over-eagerness (or just inexperience).
Another downside is that the Pacai can be a bit cold, unfamiliar, like a distant couple after a bitter quarrel. I got the impression that the Pacai Mansion has not found its personality yet, like someone who went through a transformation too quickly and now is not sure who he is. The disharmony makes it somber at times. But it’s also hard to forget, this is why I am writing a 583 word hotel review.
The Pacai Hotel is not perfect, but sometimes you don’t need to be perfect. A 9 can be more interesting than a 10.