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Ukrainians In finding Solace in This Mountain Get away By means of YOD Staff

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Located in the Carpathian Mountains in western Ukraine, the Bukovel ski resort is far from the front lines of the country’s war with Russia. Just off the slopes, in the village of Polyanytsya, is Hay Boutique and Spa by Edem Family, a ground-up hotel by Kyiv studio YOD Group that’s relatively safe and offers a semblance of normalcy, if not luxury. YOD, which stands for your own design, conceived the 59,200-square-foot property well before the 2022 invasion. But when it opened that December, Hay proved to be exactly what Ukrainians needed: a calm, cozy escape that celebrates the country’s heritage.

The client, Ukrainian entrepreneur Andriy Semaniv, initially envisioned a mid-range hotel with few amenities. But due to local height restrictions and a small site, there could only be 40 rooms, making it hard to turn a profit unless prices were high. YOD convinced him to create something more upscale, with a spa, pool, and two restaurants, and brought on premium hotel operator Edem Group to run it.

Behind the Design of Hay Boutique and Spa by Edem Family in the Carpathian Mountains

dark moody lounge with multiple chairs and shelves surrounding a fireplacedark moody lounge with multiple chairs and shelves surrounding a fireplace
In the lobby lounge, Ukrainian designer Kateryna Sokolova’s Gropius chairs are upholstered in a custom polyester.

“We had two main inspirations,” begins Dmytro Bonesko, YOD’s art director and, with architect Volodymyr Nepyivoda, co-founder. “We decided the building should offer 360-degree views of the Carpathian landscape and be organically integrated into the mountain, like a rock with a cascade of plants.” Charcoal porcelain tile that looks like terrazzo clads the concrete exterior, and balconies off all its six upper floors are lush with greenery. The plants grow as they do in nature: White spruce, found at the base of the mountain, is on lower levels; aspen, which prefers higher altitudes, appears above.

Inside, the warm, muted ambiance evokes a well-appointed cave, “to protect guests from urban noise and destruction as much as possible,” Bonesko says. There are a few vivid colors—red barrel seating by Marc Thorpe in the lobby, ochre chairs by Emilio Nanni in the café—but earthy browns and grays dominate the palette, both to relax guests and keep the focus on the views. YOD favored natural materials like spruce paneling, leather and wool upholstery, and dried plants, nodding to the hotel’s name. The latter are especially present at Vinotheque, the main restaurant, where grapevines decorate the walls and pressed hay forms pendant fixtures.

How YOD Group Incorporates Local Craft Tradition

dining room with oak chairs below hanging chandeliersdining room with oak chairs below hanging chandeliers
At Vinotheque restaurant at Hay Boutique and Spa by Edem Family, a 40-room, seven-floor hotel near the Bukovel ski resort in Polyanytsya, Ukraine, by YOD Group, Emilio Nanni Croissant chairs join pressed-hay pendant fixtures by local industrial designer Andrey Galushka and dried grapevines hung on thermo-spruce paneling.

During the research process, Bonesko, Nepyivoda, and their team visited museums in the region to learn about traditional crafts they could incorporate into the project. On the ground floor, they explored an ancient method of joining two pieces of wood together using large iron staples, instead of nails or glue. YOD employed the technique to combine layers of bent-oak veneer that wrap around square concrete columns, hiding them behind what look like tree trunks. “You feel the structure, the scratches on the surface,” Bonesko notes.

Wood and iron also meet at tables in the guest rooms. The top is made of a single piece of oak repurposed from an abandoned house; the cast-iron base, shaped like an anvil, extends to double as a lamp. Door pulls and clothes hooks resemble forged tools and nails. “We like hammer marks on metal. It looks uneven, but it’s real, because nature is not perfect,” Bonesko continues. The same is true of live-edge oak headboards, side tables, and coffee tables, all reclaimed oak.

room with a ceramic tub, wool rug and a bed painted with dark colorsroom with a ceramic tub, wool rug and a bed painted with dark colors
A ceramic tub and a wool rug by Kyiv-based Litvinenko Design appoint a suite.

Many traditional crafts were almost lost during the Soviet era, YOD says, but have been revived in recent decades as people explore what it means to be Ukrainian. The resurgence is on full display at Hay. Textile designer Kateryna Morgental embroidered pillows with the ancient starlike alatyr symbol and created graphic upholstery patterns based on the pointed shape of Carpathian shingles. The polyester fabric appears in the lobby lounge on armchairs by Kateryna Sokolova, a Ukrainian industrial designer, and Kyiv studio Litvinenko Design crafted wool rugs inspired by traditional weaving for the suites. 

Modern Amenities Include a Luxurious Pool With Sweeping Views

Yet Hay is no time capsule. Case in point: the swimming pool on the top floor. Wrapped in teak decking, it’s lined in large sheets of stainless steel. “We like the power of this material, how it reflects the water, and that you don’t see any joints,” Bonesko explains. A glass partition divides the pool into indoor and outdoor sections, both with mountain views. On its bottom, 4-foot-diameter portholes look down to a corridor on the level below, bringing in extra light. Bonesko admits this was conceived with Instagram in mind, and indeed guests now flock to the sixth floor to take pictures of swimmers overhead.

indoor portion of the pool with sand chaise loungesindoor portion of the pool with sand chaise lounges
Sand chaise lounges serve the indoor portion of the pool, which is 55 feet long total.

The hotel was under construction when the war broke out. After a pause, YOD urged the owner to finish it. “I said to Andriy that if you believe in Ukraine and that there will be peace, then you should complete this project,” Nepyivoda recalls. While the climate has changed, it’s more important than ever for Ukrainians to relax and recharge. “It’s hard,” Bonesko adds, “but people need to switch and achieve a feeling of freedom.” Hay offers hope for a better future.

Walk Through Hay Boutique and Spa by Edem Family, Designed by YOD Group

office space with custom wood table, grey chairs and paneled wallsoffice space with custom wood table, grey chairs and paneled walls
Ronan & Erwan Bouroullec’s Officina chairs pull up to a custom table with integrated lamp.
outdoor hotel pool with a view of the sunset and the surrounding landscapeoutdoor hotel pool with a view of the sunset and the surrounding landscapeoutdoor hotel pool with a view of the sunset and the surrounding landscape
Teak planks flank the outdoor portion of the hotel pool, lined in stainless steel.
custom headboard and side table made from repurposed oakcustom headboard and side table made from repurposed oak
A custom headboard and side table, both repurposed oak, furnish a guest room.
reception area with red and black wire-framed chairs with outdoor viewsreception area with red and black wire-framed chairs with outdoor views
Custom tables of heat-treated reclaimed oak and Mark Thorpe’s Husk chairs greet guests at reception.
dining room with broom-like chandelier over a dining table with orange chairsdining room with broom-like chandelier over a dining table with orange chairs
A leather-wrapped bushel of dried grapevines, found on-site like those on the wall, conceals a pendant fixture at Vinotheque.
landscaped balconies clad with porcelain tiles and greenerylandscaped balconies clad with porcelain tiles and greenery
With landscaped balconies and terrazzolike porcelain-tile cladding, Hay’s exterior evokes plants growing on rock.
closeup of a concrete column wrapped in an oak veneercloseup of a concrete column wrapped in an oak veneer
Iron staples and oak veneer wrap a concrete column in reception.
spa steam room that is lit upspa steam room that is lit up
LED strips gently glow in the spa’s steam room.
spa reception area with herbs hanging over a barspa reception area with herbs hanging over a bar
In the nearby spa, dried herbs hang above the phytotherapy bar.
corridor underneath a poolcorridor underneath a pool
Portholes under the pool illuminate the sixth-floor corridor below it.
sauna wrapped with plywood stairssauna wrapped with plywood stairs
Plywood and linden wrap the sauna.
cafe nook with oak-veeenered tables and woven wall hangingscafe nook with oak-veeenered tables and woven wall hangings
In the 88 Daily café, Nanni’s Fratina chairs meet oak-veneered tables and a wall hanging woven of Carpathian sheep’s wool by a local workshop.

PROJECT TEAM

YOD GROUP: MARIYA DRAGA; DENYS MOSEYKO; NATALIYA BABENKO; YAROSLAV PAVLIVSKY; YANA ROGOZHYNSKA; SERGEY PRUDKIY; SERGEY ANDRIYENKO; OLEKSANDR KRAVCHUK

AU HOME: CUSTOM WOODEN FURNITURE WORKSHOP. 

PRODUCT SOURCES

FROM FRONT BILLIANI: CHAIRS (RESTAURANT, CAFÉ). 

MOROSO: CHAIRS (RECEPTION). 

C.I. FORM: CUSTOM PEN­ DANT FIXTURE (RESTAURANT), CUSTOM TABLE (GUEST ROOM). 

NOOM: CHAIRS (LOUNGE). 

MORGENTAL: CUSTOM CHAIR FABRIC (LOUNGE), CUSTOM PILLOW EMBROIDERY. 

SANTA & COLE: FLOOR LAMP (GUEST ROOM). 

TBI: CURTAINS. 

MAGIS: CHAIRS.

STARPOOL: STEAM ROOM (SPA). 

ETHIMO: CHAISE LOUNGES (POOL). 

VARANGO LIVING: DECKING. 

THERMALL GROUP: SAUNA (SPA). 

THROUGHOUT THERMORY: PANELING. 

BERTI: WOOD FLOORING. 

EGE CARPETS: CUSTOM CARPET. 

MIRAGE: FLOOR TILE. 

DESVRES ARIANA: FACADE TILE. 



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