In the historical center of the city you can find many buildings with bright individual architectural look. One of such buildings is the “Versailles” hotel, which used to be called “Cheluskin” for some time, located on 10, Svetlanskaya Street. The building is very interesting by its diversified history.
The history of the building goes back to February 1906 when the city administration gave a ground area near Russian-Chinese Bank at the corner of Svetlanskaya Street and Koreiskaya Street (today Tigrovaya Street) for the hotel construction to Vladivostok entrepreneur L. Radomishelski. The project was made by architect I. Meshkov who was famous for the buildings constructed in 1901-1906 which gave to our city center its unique feature. In May 1909 the hotel opened its door to the first visitors.
Local newspapers wrote that new hotel was “an ornate and elegant novo-classical architecture”.
The hotel was on the one level with the best Western architectural models. 70 rooms with electricity, bathrooms and telephones were at guests’ disposal. Trained servants were represented mostly by Japanese and Chinese citizens.
Almost all residents of Vladivostok remember that in Soviet time the hotel and the restaurant in it were called “Cheluskin”. So, why it was called so?
The ship “Cheluskin” was constructed in Denmark by the company Burmeister and Wain (B&W, Copenhagen) on the order of Soviet government. While launching (March 11, 1933) it was called “Lena”, but then in June 19, 1933 it was got another name “Cheluskin” in honor of Russian seafarer and explorer Semen Cheluskin.
In August 2, 1933 the ship under the command of V. Voronin left Murmansk for Vladivostok working out the scheme of goods delivery during summer navigation in North marine rout. In February 13, 1934 in Chuckchee Sea the “Cheluskin” was crushed by ice. 104 crew members headed by the academician O. Shmidt were saved only two months later on April 13 by the Far-Eastern pilots under the command of N. Kamanin. First they came to the sea-port Vrengel and only in early June 1934 they came to Vladivostok.
After solemn meeting the “Cheluskin” crew was put up in the hotel “Versailles”. During several days they stayed at our city and then left for Moscow.
Regarding the hotel, it was got new name in honor of polar heroes for many years.
In 1989 the restaurant interiors were damaged by the big fire. In 1992 the renovation had begun and the most part of the hotel appearance was reconstructed by the historical photos and saved sketches.
In January 2007 the famous Italian architect and designer Anacleto Mariani came to Vladivostok to interior reconstruction. He is an author of elaboration and realization of such projects as the International Airport “King Abdul Asis” in Saudi Arabia, the VIP zone in Almata airport, the high-class ski resort in Bulgarian city Bansko, the hotel “De Castillion” in Paris, the television tower “Baitrack” in Astana. He made interior decoration in world-wide known hotels “Ritz-Carlton”, “Mondial”, “Ovest”, “Nationale” and some others. Mariani who is one of six best European architects said to journalists: “I have been to Vladivostok for five times and stayed in different hotels but only “Versailles” has a soul”.
Prominent guests of the Hotel
In autumn 1918 Anna Timireva who was “the dearest friend and the most desirable woman in the world” of Alexander Kolchak lived in the “Versailles” Hotel. These very words were said about the beloved woman by the famous Russian admiral, explorer, and the commander-in-chief of the White Army in Siberia.
Together they came to Vladivostok from Japan. Anna considered herself being a Kolchak wife as she was officially divorced by the Vladivostok consistory in August 1918. But he was married, so he believed that it was impossible to stay with her at one hotel. He lived in the “Golden horn” Hotel.
Speaking about the outstanding people for whom the “Versailles” Hotel turned into a cozy home for some period, it is impossible not to mention Ho Chi Minh (his real name Ngyen Ai Kuok). He visited Vladivostok rather often in 1920-s and -30-s and he always stayed here incognito.
Ho Chi Minh is famous for Vietnamese and international communist movements. He joined the communist party in 1920 in France. In 1925 he organized the Partnership of revolutionary youth of Vietnam. In 1930 under his direction the Vietnamese communist organizations merged into the United Communist Party of Indo-China, which was called the Party of Vietnamese workers since 1951. Since 1976 it was called the Vietnamese Communist Party. Ho Chi Minh was the president of the Vietnamese Socialist Republic since 1946 till his death in 1969.
According to the documents which are kept in Ho Chi Minh Museum in Vietnam, he visited Vladivostok three times.
In October 1924 he left for Vladivostok from Yuroslavskiy railway station in Moscow. After Vladivostok Ho Chi Minh left for Chinese city Guangzhou. At the end of May 1927 he visited Vladivostok for the second time on his way from Shanghai to Moscow.
Ho Chi Minh was in our city (and surely in the “Versaille” Hotel) for the third time in June 1934, when he traveled again from Shanghai to the USSR capital.
In July 18, 1927 the famous polar explorer Rouale Amundsen came to Vladivostok from Japan on the vessel “Kaga Mary”. He stayed at the “Versailles” Hotel for six days
(N. Miz, V. Savruev)