Oreanda Hotel

In the fall of 2007, Yalta's Oreanda hotel held a sumptuous celebration of its 100year anniversary. Exactly 100 years ago, its doors hospitably opened to the sophisticated public thanks to Aleksandr Nikolayevich Witmer.

Oreanda Hotel dates back to 1907 and has always been a city landmark with breathtaking views over the Black Sea and surrounded by the spectacular Crimean mountains.

Located in the heart of picturesque Yalta, directly on the Promenade and only a few meters from the sea, it offers its guests an optimum starting point for excursions and trips of discovery through the famous sights of the Crimea.

Having recently undergone extensive renovation and modernization, nowadays Oreanda is the most popular hotel in Yalta where traditions of old times are perfectly combined with modern solutions. Its elegant and stylish rooms can accommodate over 200 guests.

OREANDA Hotel was certainly born under a lucky star since the place for the hotel in 1907 was chosen by Alexander Vitmer - a retired general of hussar regiment, professor of military history & tactics of the Academy of General Staff, writer and painter. Back to those times the hotel became the best one in Yalta district and the whole of Crimea.
Pre-revolutionary guide-books inform that the hotel had "perfect provision, excellent furniture, mirror glasses, fresh air and a well kept garden around". In the hotel's lobby an incomparable smell of cigars mixed with a delicate aroma of ground coffee and expensive perfumes, its art saloon exhibited the masterpieces of Aivazovskiy, Shishkin, Makovskiy, Vereschagin and others who started cultural traditions of Oreanda.
In 1918, during the revolutionary period in Yalta, the hotel served as a fort post and defensive fortification for the Crimean opponents of Bolsheviks. Machine gunners, being on the hotel roof, centered fire at sea front and its neighborhood until revolutionary sailors from the ship suppressed fire and damaged two rooms on the 3d floor.
At the beginning of the World War II a military hospital was placed here. After the war the hotel was converted into a recreation center where the wounded soldiers and officers were treated. By the end of the 1950th after capital repairs Oreanda regained the status of a hotel.
At the beginning of the 1970th the hotel was reconstructed with preserving a historical image. It's remarkable that a unique look of the architecture masterpiece of the early XXth century was also remained after complete modernization in 2001.
In 2007 renewed and forever young, beautiful as never before, OREANDA crossed the threshold of its first century. Oreanda is well-known and beloved; it has been a symbol of Yalta and the most comfortable hotel in the Crimea for 100 years.



A Man of Boundless Energy

Who was this man, who, by the end of his life, owned 19 proper ties in Crimea alone: gardens and vineyards, barrel production and stores, profitable homes, bathhouses, hotels and much more?
On his mother's side, A. N. Witmer came from the old family line of Baranovs, whose progenitor was the Murza (nobleman) Zhdan, and whose sobriquet was "Baryn." According to legend, this outstanding murza left the Crimean Tatar horde due to the ingratitude of the khan.

According toWitmer himself, the story of the khan's insult of Baryn reminded him of the fairytale of Ruslan and Lyudmila. The khan promised to give his daughterZyuleyka in marriage to the one who brings him the head of his enemy. Baryng ot the head, but a clever lesser noble stole the head and married Zyuleyka. The indignant Baryn left and settled in Rus.

Witmer's ancestors on his father's side came from Denmark. His greatgrandfather, who was a mechanic, came to Russia during the reign of II and never left. Witmer's father was among the nobility of theNovgorod province of the Russian Empire. From his father, Witmer inherited his tall stature and great physical strength.Aleksandr Nikolayevich was a man of many talents and achieved success in many areas. His military career was superb. He took part in military action, defended a dissertation on the Napoleonic Wars, lectured at the academy of central military staff headquarters and, at 39, became a major_general. He always read a great deal and knew Russian literature well, especially poetry. When he was 30, Witmer married Sofia Sobinina, who was descended from the nobility of the Simbirsk province of the Russian Empire, and with whom he had four children. The couple enjoyed going to the theater, taking trips along the Volga, and eating in fashionable restaurants. Regarding these times, Aleksandr Nikolayevich reminisced: "At picnics, everyone was young and interesting. Money was not spared, champagne flowed like rivers, Gypsies were invited. We rode in horse-drawn troikas, going at a fast gallop, unlike now, and with a speed nearly equal to that of an automobile."

In the 1870s, Witmer met with serious changes in his life, as his health grew seriously worse. For his permanent residence he chose Yalta, which he considered "the most valuable pearl of Russia in terms of its beauty, climate and convenient location." On the blessed Crimean land, he made a living in viniculture, tobacco growing and forestry. In Simferopol, he founded a lumber_sawing plant, in Sevastopol, and oyster plant, and launched a hotel business in Yalta. While his affairs went smoothly, this period of his life was darkened by tragedy. In 1894, his younger son, who was a medic, injected himself with a vaccine he was testing, dying as a result.

Witmer's wife, Sofia Pavlovna, was unable to survive this shock and poisoned herself with cyanide. Witmer never mentions his wife's suicide in his memoirs. With time, Witmer's health allowed him to visit Petersburg for several months at a time. There he wrote a great deal, mostly plays, one of which met with great success on the stage of the Aleksandrinsky Theater. However, notwithstanding his literary successes, business called him back to the south. Then came 1905. Witmer opened a hotel in Yalta called Dzalita. He was not afraid of competition. Notwithstanding that the coast already had five comfortable hotels with good reputations, he decided to build yet another one - Oreanda - and commissioned the well known architect Aleksey Beketov to develop the project.

Could Aleksandr Nikolayevich imagine what place in the life of the city his child would attain - that namely Oreanda would become the calling card of Yalta?
There was not one tour guide or newspaper in 1907 that did give its attention to the "furnished rooms of Oreanda." What impressed everyone, without exception, was that the vestibule, salons and even the suites were decorated with the paintings of well known artists from Witmer's collection, which he began in Petersburg and continued enlarging in Yalta. By the end of his life, his collection included works by Serov, Repin, Kramskoy, Makovsky, Vereshchagin, Ayvazovsky and Shishkin.
Loving life, Witmer remained active into his old age. He had gained a circle of friends in Crimea, women appealed to him, he contributed to forming a circle of artists and dramatists in Yalta, and organized evening gatherings and exhibitions. Witmer died at the age of 77. When his will was read, many were surprised by his instructions regarding his funeral, although they were very characteristic of this man: "Simply bury me in a grave, without any upholstery and decorations. Bury me without any mourning singers, ceremonies, wagons, newspaper obituaries and invitations. I earnestly ask my close ones not to go into mourning over me, and don't deny yourselves pleasures, including theaters, even for one day."
From the book "Oreanda" (Simferopol, 2007).

114 Rooms

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Oreanda Hotel
Country: Ukraine
City: Yalta / Crimea
Opening date: 1907

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35/2, Lenin St.
98635 Ukraine, Yalta / Crimea

Tel: +38 (0654) 274-274

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