We caught up with Simon Kincaid, Partner at Conran and Partners, but also known as the man who dreamt up the award winning PURO Kazimierz, to talk about his favourite spots and the city’s unique charm.
First impressions of the city
It has to be visiting the MOCAK (Museum of Contemporary Art in Kraków). It’s located in the former halls of Schindler’s Factory where Jews were kept in the city during WW2 so just being there is a really thought provoking and emotional experience. It’s a place where art meets humanity and ethical value, making it a really extraordinary and sensorial space.
The A-Z of a research trip
Before we start a project we tend to go on a research trip to get a feel for the city, our project’s future competitors, and where our target guests would frequent; bars, restaurants, shops, galleries etc. We like to really engage with a city to learn what the future habits of our target guest may be too.
Whilst we have a rigid plan of things we want to see, usually a list informed by recommendations and research, we leave the rest to mere serendipity. Kraków isn’t necessarily a city for people who want everything in one place, part of the fun is walking around and seeing what you might stumble upon. We’ll jump onto an unusual guided tour, trail off down a side street and into a bar, where the barman will tell us about his uncle’s friend’s daughter’s restaurant that serves the best Pierogi and only has four tables. Explore and be inquisitive, that’s how to really get under the skin of a city!
Where to stay
As part of our research and to better understand the brand, we stayed in the original PURO hotel in Kraków which is located in the Wola district, a more commercial part of town. The hotel naturally attracts more business travellers due to its location so the design is a touch more conventional.
Let’s talk about PURO Kazimierz
PURO Kazimierz was the group’s second hotel to open in the city and is located in the Jewish quarter. The new hotel, with architecture by ASW Architekci, sits on a much bigger site so offers a wider range of facilities such as a spa, gym and meetings and events space. As a result of it’s location, the hotel attracts a more alternative and youthful crowd so we had a lot of fun coming up with the design concept – which recently featured on Channel 4’s Travel Man!
Where to eat
Tucked around the corner from PURO Kazimierz there’s a seriously good Israeli restaurant called Hamsa. We ended up eating there every time we went back to Krakow
What to eat
The paczek (Poland’s national doughnut)
Chicken hearts (a poor man’s cavier)
Kielbasa (every kind of sausage imaginable)
Waffles and ice cream (Waffleball is a must)
Pierogi (dumplings for breakfast, lunch and dinner)