As part of our bestselling Transnistria tours, the Soviet Wastelands team spend a huge amount of time in Chisinau, the capital city of Moldova which is Europe’s least visited country. Chisinau has a few hotels on offer, but you’d be foolish not to choose one of our favorite Soviet hotels in Europe: The Hotel Cosmos!
After taking the infamous Soviet night train from Bucharest, the hotel is a welcoming five-minute walk from the train station, the Hotel Chisinau is unmissable in its Brutalist 1970s style architecture that we all love, topped off with a hulking bronze Soviet revolutionary memorial in front. The lobby has retained some of its Soviet reliefs and features a very low priced bar, currency exchange, and a souvenir shop.
This hulking brutalist masterpiece is one of the biggest hotels in Moldova and took almost a decade to build! The construction lasted for nine years, from 1974 to 1983.
During the Soviet era, vacation opportunities were limited to within the borders of the USSR. Moldova, with its fantastic wine, exquisite cuisine, and colorful local culture, was a popular tourist spot for Soviet citizens. In the USSR, the hotel occupancy rate reached 90% to 100% during the tourist season.
As the Soviet Union collapsed, the number of tourists dropped dramatically. In order to survive, the hotel administration made the wise decision to use the hotel and its strategic local to its full potential and began to lease certain rooms and parts of the lobby as offices and commercial spaces.
One of the best features of Hotel Cosmos is its incredible staff who go above and beyond to make your stay in the city as good as possible. Check-in is always seamless, hand over your passport, pay before or after your stay and receive your key and ticket to breakfast.
A standard room at Hotel Cosmos costs around 30 per night, there is the luxury option for a higher price, but in my opinion, the rooms are pretty much all the same. It’s better to request a room on the lower floors of the hotel as the wifi is better, however, the higher floors at the front of the building have an epic view over the city of Chisinau. The location of the hotel makes it a great starting point to explore Chisinau, it has many supermarkets and restaurants nearby.
In front of the hotel is an incredible monument to the Russian revolutionary, Grigory Kotovsky, erected in 1954, on the square of the same name, to honor the 36th anniversary of the Soviet Army. The Kotovsky Monument was actually the first one to appear in post-war Moldova.
The hotel boasts over 150 rooms and some of them are like functioning museums. The telephones are often from Soviet factories in the Baltics and many of the fridges are from the former Lenin production plant in Ukraine! However, the bathrooms are up to a modern standard with hot water and all rooms have good AC.
Breakfast is held in the former club of the hotel and the stage where entertainment would have been held for visiting Intourist groups is still there, albeit non-functioning. Breakfast is mediocre but they have good coffee and a basic spread of food to start the day.
So, if you find yourself in Europe’s least visited country be sure to stay at the iconic Soviet Cosmos hotel! Or join one of our Transnistria tours where it is always a staple feature!