Haapsalu becomes an imperial spa
Haapsalu developed into an imperial resort in the mid-nineteenth century, after two mud spas were opened and members of the Russian court as well as nobility started arriving. Local authorities faced a need to improve the look of Haapsalu and create modern resort atmosphere. Therefore the embankment was reinforced in order to create paths and parks for holidaymakers to walk and relax under shady trees. The Great Promenade, heart of the resort, was born. In 1852, an orthodox church was consecrated. At the end of the 19th century (most likely) the Kuursaal and bandstand were built, which have become the most favourite concert venues.
Moody sea, waterfowl and wooden architecture along the embankment - this is value added to romantic walks. This is the embankment composer Pjotr Tschaikovski liked to walk along. The hotel is just a few steps from the “Tschaikovski’s bench” - a stone bench to commemorate the great composer.
Steamship and railway connections opened access for czars
The image of an imperial resort depended on smooth connections: in 1845, a regular steamship line (4 times a week) between Haapsalu and St Petersburg was opened and in 1905, a rail link Haapsalu-Tallinn-St Petersburg was launched. The number of holidaymakers grew rapidly: in 1840 - 269, in 1850 - 952, in 1859 - over 2000 (comparable to the number of city dwellers), in 1897 - about 3000. Apart from a visit by Peter the Great in 1715, four last Russian czars - Aleksander I, Aleksander II, Aleksander III, Nikolai II have been on holiday and taken mud baths in Haapsalu, some of them repeatedly.
Pelzer Villa since 1859 - predecessor of Baltic Hotel Promenaadi
In 1859, Gustav von Ungern-Sternberg built a summerhouse next to an army grain storage on the coast of the Bay of Tagalahe. The house was designed by A. Arhijev in 1858. The design bears a comment that the house is designed according to construction rules but façades are not in compliance with the requirements of 1851.
However, in January 1859 permission was granted to build a wooden summerhouse. Unlike the design, a stone house with a few wooden parts was built. The house at 22 Sadama Street is a two-storey stone one with a two and a half-storey tower. On top of the tower there is a wooden viewpoint covered by a roof. The building has a sensitive layout: facing the sea is a hall with a sun parlour and a terrace with a semicircular balustrade.
The house is in late classicism, however, its eaves, diagonal support structure and wooden components of the tower in particular are in the style of á la Russia.
In 1931, the house still belonged to Baron von Ungern-Sternberg (villa Wenden).
Under Soviets the house was nationalised and it housed a trade union spa Laine. After the restoration of Estonia’s independence the building was privatised, fully renovated and extended by a wing of 29 rooms.