Think of skiing in Georgia, and you’ll no doubt think of Gudauri – the country’s ski capital that’s seen a considerable rise in popularity in recent seasons. But southwest of the resort, not far from the capital Tbilisi, lies Bakuriani, where Georgia’s Winter Olympians have long frequented to hone their skills, and, where it is quickly becoming the region’s most under-the-radar ski destination.
Nestled in the slopes of the Trialeti Range, Bakuriani has been a favourite with Georgian skiers and snowboarders since it opened in 1932, hosting the 2021–22 FIS Snowboard World Cup, which took place in Georgia for the first time ever, and also hosted the World’s Freestyle Ski and Snowboard Championship in 2023. While a favourite since it opened in 1932, the ski resort has now firmly cemented its cool credentials with the opening of a slick new design hotel by the sleek and uber-trendy homegrown Rooms brand.
Sitting at the foothills of the 2,200-metre Kokhta Gora peak, on the peaceful fringes of the ski resort, Rooms Hotel Kokhta likes powerfully juxtaposed against the carpeted green – or powdery white – mountain range, crafted from rustic timber and glass and adding a poetic Brutalist feel to the peaceful landscape. The work of architect Levan Mushkudiani, the property sits at the convergence of ski and snowboarding runs, but also hiking and horseback trails, making it a year-round destination, as well as the ski resort’s most coveted hotel.
From the brand behind Rooms Tbilisi and Rooms Kazbegi, Rooms Kokhta is a ski-in-ski-out offering comprising 95 guest rooms and muted, earthy spaces are the work of Tbilisi-based design duo Nata Janberidze and Keti Toloraia – think rustic-modern with warm, organic shapes and locally crafted materials like reclaimed wood, stone, and clay. Designed to connect guests with the surroundings, the hotel has also coined the term ‘firstoacel’ (an art object that feels archaic, futuristica, minimal and mystical as fire itself. In the lobby, highlights include a central mantle of the fireplace with a beautiful mosaic designed by Tbilisi’s Rooms Studio, which includes symbols and patterns related to ancient Georgian text – anchoring the space and providing a warm, homely and cosy space to unwind.
A similar chic, muted tone prevails in the guest rooms. The spaces – including double rooms and spacious suites – feature neutral washed walls, organic textures, custom-made handcrafted Lover’s wooden beds and hand-carved stone basins along with terracotta tiles, encapsulating the rebirth of archaic into contemporary and paying homage to Georgian folklore.
Much like the luxury ski resorts of France, Switzerland and the US, a stunning health club brings the mountains of Rooms Kokhta inside with floor-to-ceiling windows and valley views, while an open-fire restaurant and seductive bar serve up contemporary Georgian cuisine and creative cocktails. Guests can also enjoy drinks and nibbles on the terrace – offering the same sweeping views of the ski resort and beyond.
Rooms Kokhta is open year-round and boasts ski-in-ski-out facilities and ski equipment rental and is close to the resort’s ski lifts and tramps – come winter, creating the picture-perfect landscape of Alpine mountain ranges and snow-dusted forests. Bakuriani itself has 23 ski routes, from beginners to seasoned skiers and snowboarders, and there are three ski jumps (45, 70, 90 meters high and 1,350 meters long). The resort is just a 2-5-hour drive from Georgia’s capital, Tbilisi (perfect for tacking onto a city break), a 3.5-hour flight from the UAE operated by FlyDubai and Air Arabia.
Rooms Hotel Kokhta, Bakuriani 1204, Georgia; doubles from about AED404; roomshotels.com