A chip off the old bloc

A mix of tra­di­tional, Soviet and mod­ern styles, Ge­or­gia is a tricky place to pin down. But that’s half the fun of it for Suzanne Moore, who also

The Guardian - Travel - - Front Page -

Stepants­minda Soviet chic Rooms Ho­tel is in an old print­ing house

into the High Cau­ca­sus es­tab­lished in the first cen­tury. Green vel­vet moun­tains, azure lakes, fresh figs and honey sold by the road­side – to­tally stun­ning. I have been in the Hi­malayas and the An­des, but this is mind-blow­ingly gor­geous.

We stop at the huge semi-cir­cu­lar Russo-Ge­or­gian Friend­ship mon­u­ment, and gaze in awe. Then it’s on to Kazbegi Rooms in Stepants­minda, an­other woodand-glass bru­tal­ist struc­ture that was once a Soviet spa. My God, it is fan­tas­tic, with decks all around so ev­ery­where you look there are the moun­tains, one with Ger­geti Trin­ity Church on top. Some big wed­ding is go­ing on and Ge­or­gian aris­toc­racy is be­ing he­li­coptered in. The men are in tra­di­tional dress with swords (and none makes any at­tempt to kill us). Swoon. We lie on the deck and staff bring us blan­kets and any­thing else we de­sire.

Down­stairs there is a pool spa but all I want to do is lie on that deck and look at the moun­tains. It is one of the most gor­geous places I have ever stayed in, and the near­est I have ever got to med­i­ta­tion. With wine. I would go back to­mor­row. Why is Ge­or­gia so spe­cial? It’s not about gold taps and bell­hops. It’s about warmth and hospi­tal­ity, and feel­ing you can do what you like. That is what lux­ury travel is. That and, of course, hav­ing some­one to travel with who will take a chance with you, wher­ever you end up.

• Ac­com­mo­da­tion was pro­vided by De­sign Ho­tels (de­sign­ho­tels.com) in Rooms Tbil­isi (dou­bles from £175 B&B), Rooms Kazbegi (from £144 B&B) and Stamba Ho­tel (from £242 B&B). Ge­or­gian Air­ways (geor­gianair­ways.com) flies from Gatwick to Tbil­isi from £165 re­turn

Mtk­varze Kik­liko

One of the first clubs in Ge­or­gia was es­tab­lished in 2012 in this 1950s fish restau­rant by pi­o­neer DJ Bero. The club is on the left bank of the Mtk­vari River, and when you get tired of danc­ing to house and techno, you can head to the bal­cony and watch the river.

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A new­comer that has quickly es­tab­lished it­self as the coolest place to eat in town, Pep­per­boy looks like a cosy iza­kaya [Ja­panese din­ing pub] with cy­ber­punk wall art and neon lights. The food is pan-Asian: pho, kim­chi and ra­men served with sake, soju or tea.

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An­other new spot, Kik­liko, serves brunch from 8am to 3pm. It’s named af­ter the tra­di­tional Ge­or­gian break­fast that’s a pi­quant ver­sion of french toast us­ing spicy ajika sauce, but it also serves other sta­ples such as sul­guni (semi-soft cheese). It’s the per­fect place to start the day.

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Amodi

This bar has a huge ter­race with amaz­ing views over the city. In a big house with pe­riod fur­ni­ture on Narikhala Hill, it’s the per­fect place to catch some live mu­sic while eat­ing tra­di­tional food such as beef stew with pomegranate sauce, fried pota­toes and Ge­or­gian hum­mus.

• amodi.busi­ness.site

rooms brings to vivid life a no­to­ri­ous

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