The golden era of the historic 114-year-old Grandhotel of Starý Smokovec, its rich history and noble past with the dominating Austro-Hungarian cuisine were celebrated and remembered also by Slovak Louis Armstrong – Peter Ondria and his great performance. The Grandhotel has begun to write a new chapter of its existence this summer and is welcoming its guests with a new design. “By dedicating our suites, we are paying tribute to great cultural and artistic names from the past as well as present. The room renovation has increased the hotel potential and restored its former glory. We were very careful during the whole process and considered it a significant responsibility to preserve the original hotel spirit that has been successfully transformed to our new rooms,” explained Matej Fujka, the general manager of Grandhotel Starý Smokovec.
The renovation took three months. 79 rooms and suites were upgraded in total and the costs reached 1.6 million EUR. The interior modernisation task was in the hands of architect Michal Kysela, whose inspiring creations meet the requirements of present-day hotel clients. “A sort of a facelift performed on hotel rooms and suites was the first phase. We made a competition regarding the final design suggestions of hotel room interiors and used 3D visualisations. The upgrade of hotel halls and the conference room followed only afterwards. We had a chance to have a look at archive hotel photos that were very inspiring but our aim was not to copy the original furniture and amenities. Massive bed beam frames serve as important graphic elements that have re-defined the spaces and refer to outdoor facade halftimbering which was typical for the architecture in the Tatras in the early 20th century – i.e. the era when the hotel was opened. However, the materials and constructions that we have used are adapted to modern times. Lamps in the rooms were replaced with new minimalistic ones which are practical and easy to maintain. Original chandeliers in suites and halls were preserved, though. All textiles, including carpets are new and feature interesting patterns. Along with the decorative surface finish on the walls, which had been designed especially for this Grandhotel, they help create an impression of great historic luxury. The rooms and suites are atypically spacious, which makes moments spent at the hotel very special and unforgettable. As everything was being reneved while the hotel was operating, it was important to optimise the processes and do only what was inevitable. It was a big logistic challenge for us and the whole performing team did a great job also thanks to their previous experience they gained while renewing Grandhotel Praha in Tatranská Lomnica,“ said architect Michal Kysela.
The historic hotel spirit has not disappeared despite the new design. Famous personalities that some suites are dedicated to have breathed new life into them. From now on, clients can enjoy the romance of Grandhotel Starý Smokovec for example as the Zátopek couple, Vlasta Burian or Emília Vášáryová, who loved the High Tatras and it is them that the first three suites have been named after. “Each dedicated suite is marked with the respective personality name at the entrance. Today, the suites feature paintings, historic photographs and books about individual figures that they are named after. We also plan to add popular meals of these personalities to our menu. The dedication of our suites will continue by focusing on significant Czech and Slovak names. I hope we will be honoured to launch more suites officially very soon,” said Jana Tuzinska, the marketing manager.
Vlasta Burian, the king of comedians and the father of Czech humour and film comedy loved our grand mountains. He stayed at Grandhotel Starý Smokovec several times and would always leave relaxed and satisfied. Emil Zátopek, a four-time Olympic champion, world record holder, sports legend and one of the best runners in the world´s history used to train in the Tatras. One day, when he was returning from Veľká Studená Dolina (valley), he managed to pick a basket of beautiful king bolete mushrooms. The hotel chef at that time, Štefan Pupák used them to make a delicious mushroom soup for the whole hotel. Emília Vášáryová, a great lady and first-class actress of the Slovak and Czech theatre scene acted in one of the most romantic films of the Slovak cinematography – “Copper Tower” along with Štefan Kvietik in the embrace of the beautiful Tatras.
Hotel history: Grandhotel**** Starý Smokovec was built in Art Nouveau style and opened as one of the first big hotels in the Tatras on 30th June 1904. From the beginning, it was considered snobbish, prestigious and available only for the rich upper social class. The threestorey building featured 150 rooms (120 rooms of them offered accommodation for clients) and an eleven-axial facade. Luxurious interior, services and comfort made it one of the most visited hotels in the whole region of the High Tatras. And this news spread out in the world very quickly. Grandhotel**** Starý Smokovec was fully booked ever since and before the WWI, it was unofficially declared one of top 10 alpine hotels in the world. During more than 100 years of its history, it has never been closed and is regarded as a hotel with the longest operation period in the Tatras. It was the Hoepfner family that contributed to the hotel construction and development of Starý Smokovec most. Gustav Hoepfner Sr., the director of the Spiš Savings and Industrial Bank at that time, inspired the company to invest in Starý Smokovec. The hotel was built during the era of his son, Gustav Hoepfner Jr., who persuaded the bank board of directors how necessary it was to establish a hotel. The biggest conference room in the hotel is named “Hoepfner” to honour this eminent family. Meetings held inside offer beautiful views of nature all around and impressive sunsets. The idea to create the Grandhotel and boost tourism turned out to be the right one because the number of tourists in Starý Smokovec doubled after it had been opened.
Tatry mountain resorts, a.s. (TMR) is the leader in tourism in Central and Eastern Europe; it owns and operates attractive mountain resorts, amusement parks, restaurant facilities, sports services, shops and hotels. In the Low Tatras TMR owns and operates the resort Jasná Nízke Tatry and hotels Wellness hotel Grand Jasná, Boutique Hotel Tri Studničky, Chalets Jasná De Luxe, Hotel Srdiečko, and Hotel Rotunda. TMR is also the owner of Aquapark Tatralandia, the largest Slovak aquapark with year-round operation, which besides water entertainment includes Tropical Paradise, a special tropical indoor hall with sea water, as well as Fun Park, and accommodation in bungalows and apartments of Holiday Village Tatralandia. In the High Tatras TMR owns and operates the resort Vysoké Tatry with mountain areas of Tatranská Lomnica, Starý Smokovec, and Štrbské Pleso, which TMR co-manages. In the High Tatras TMR also owns hotels Grandhotel Praha Tatranská Lomnica, Grandhotel Starý Smokovec, Hotel FIS Štrbské Pleso and Mountain hotel Hrebienok. TMR also owns a 9.5 % share in Melida, a.s., which leases and operates the resort Špindlerův Mlýn in the Czech Republic. TMR also leases and operates the ski resort Ještěd. In Poland TMR owns a 97% share in the mountain resort Szczyrkowski Ośrodek Narciarski S.A. (SON), a 75% share in a company that owns and operates Silesian Amusement Park (Śląskie Wesołe Miasteczko) and a 7.3% share in an amusement-educational project via the Polish company Korona Ziemi Sp. z.o.o. TMR also owns and leases hotels Slovakia, Kosodrevina, Liptov and Ski&Fun Záhradky a Bungalovy to third parties. By the end of 2017, more than EUR 300 mil. had been invested into development and modernisation of TMR’s resorts. TMR shares are traded on three European stock exchanges – in Bratislava, Prague, and Warsaw.