The Carlton Hotel, a prestigious Bratislava landmark, reopened to guests October 1 after almost 10 years of being closed.
However, increased security measures around the US embassy, which neighbours the hotel, are having "a negative impact on the hotel's guest attendance," admits Tom Goldscheider, Carlton's business director.
He said that although the large number of police and an armoured troop carrier next to the hotel had not resulted in cancellations, there were generally lower "attendance rates at the restaurant, cafés, and room occupancy."
Goldscheider added, however, that because of the measures, The Carlton was currently "certainly the safest place in Bratislava".
The hotel's underground parking lot has been hit by the increased security measures which have been applied in the aftermath of the September 11 terrorist attacks on the US. Miroslav Kubík, manager of the Axis firm which runs the facility, said his company had suffered "hundreds of thousands of Slovak crowns in losses" since it was closed to the public one month ago.
Kubík said that only subscribed clients were allowed to park their cars in the underground lot, while the entry check now took 20 minutes instead of just one.
Despite the security situation, The Carlton's head Peter Anker-Moller told The Slovak Spectator that "our projection for the following year is to have 60% annual occupancy of the hotel", and added the facility aimed "to attract business travellers, conference, holiday makers and diplomatic corps" to be served by the hotel's 155 employees.
Officialy known as Hotel Carlton Radisson SAS, its managers are confident they can build on the reputation the hotel achieved at its peak between the two world wars.
The Carlton got its name and contemporary look in the early 20th century, according to Old Town spokesperson Milan Vajda: "It was the first of this Carlton and Ritz kind in eastern Europe. It traditionally attracted international guests, and was a favourite meeting place for Bratislava intellectuals who came here to exchange ideas over a cup of coffee or tea."
The hotel gradually dilapidated after it was nationalised by the communists in 1948, and a different type of clientele started to pour in.
"Communist trade unions would send their workers to the Carlton for holidays. In the 1950s there was even an attempt to rename it the Hotel Moscow," Vajda said.
But the hotel has been reconstructed at a cost of almost Sk2 billion ($42.6 million).
Gautier Vaneyck, Bratcarl's head of the board of directors, added: "We carefully considered the original, historically valuable architecture of the hotel. We understand that The Carlton carries a historical recognition with it, not only in Bratislava but across Slovakia."
15. Oct 2001 at 0:00 | Martina Pisárová