Operated by the international group Kerten Hospitality, whose trademark is blending local art and culture with classic and contemporary styles to create authentic experiences in every hotel’s location, the newly opened House Hotel Old Tbilisi and its restaurant Blue Fox do just this. The boutique hotel is an art and culinary hotspot that offers genuine Georgian hospitality—as the saying in Georgia goes, guests are gifts from god—and curated community experiences.
The property is housed in a three-story mansion, formerly the Nikolozishvili family home, which has been fully restored to its original luster, preserving the lineage and style of Georgian architecture. Beautiful wooden balconies, intricate old woodwork, and inviting terraces give way to ancient doors and even an original chimney in the basement—now home to a wine cellar stocked with bottles produced at Original Jemal Inaishvili’s own vineyard in Kakheti. The interior design, overseen by Tbilisi-based designer Ani Abashidze, also melds classical Georgian design with modern contemporary elements, reflecting the city’s own eclectic spirit. Tones of burnt orange, muted reds, and dark greys, as well as wooden floors and patterned wallpaper, play off the hand-painted portraits of distinguished Georgian characters in every room by well-known local artist Musya Qeburia. Additional artworks in the hotel have been sourced from the owner’s personal collection, while bespoke furniture—the majority of which was fashioned from upcycled wood—reflects the city’s Eurasian heritage through a combination of Asian and European styles.
Qeburia’s murals adorn each of the 17 rooms and one suite, which are spread across the building’s three floors. The figures she painted find their roots in Georgian history, and guests can learn more by scanning a QR code in their room, leading them to stories about the depicted people written specifically for the hotel by Georgian journalist and historian Zurab Balanchivadze. The muted hues of the local textiles used for curtains counterbalance the colorful, ancient, Georgian handwoven rugs and carpets, which, through partnerships with local businesses, are also available to purchase. All rooms boast locally produced furniture from upcycled wood and marble bathrooms with rain showers. Most rooms also have a private balcony overlooking the hotel’s courtyard. The suite, meanwhile, features a soaking tub and a distinct wooden balcony with views of the nearby Mtkvari River.
On the ground floor is Blue Fox, a 72-seat restaurant where the bar menu features classic cocktails and exclusive Georgian wines and the kitchen focuses on international cuisine infused with local flavors. Regional and seasonal ingredients are at the fore, emphasized through partnerships with the likes of Rukhi Queen, a local honey producer, and Pancaviar, a local eco-farm supplying fish and caviars. Menu highlights include mtsvadi, skewered meat roasted over coals, and khachapuri, a Georgian staple that, here, is turned inside out: instead of stuffing bread with beans and marinated onions—or marinated salmon, lemon, and cucumber—as traditionally done, they’re placed on top. Guests can dine indoors or al fresco in the courtyard, where there’s a show-kitchen with a charcoal grill and which faces the narrow, characterful Shavteli Street. The courtyard is also an ideal place for hosting private cocktail events.
The hotel is located in Tbilisi’s picturesque, ancient Old Town, directly across the street from the sixth-century Anchiskhati Basilica. Surrounding the property are medieval churches, atmospheric homes with decorative balconies, sulfur bathhouses fed by natural springs, narrow labyrinthine streets, leafy squares, cultural and historical heritage sites, as well as some of the city’s best cafes, restaurants, and galleries. Shavteli Street, which the hotel’s courtyard faces, is a designated Historical Heritage Monument.