From manor house to well-appointed hotel

SOME OF the smallest villages, even those on the very edges of Slovakia, often boast a historical manor house or an old mansion. Tourism entrepreneurs have discovered the potential many of these historical properties have for new lives and have started to convert them into hotels with a distinctive style, a charming character, and a historical atmosphere that a newly-built hotel cannot provide.

SOME OF the smallest villages, even those on the very edges of Slovakia, often boast a historical manor house or an old mansion. Tourism entrepreneurs have discovered the potential many of these historical properties have for new lives and have started to convert them into hotels with a distinctive style, a charming character, and a historical atmosphere that a newly-built hotel cannot provide.

There are a number of such historical edifices in Nitra Region such as Beladice, Château Belá, Mojmírovce and Palárikovo which no longer are residences for counts or barons but now accommodate foreign visitors, serve as romantic settings for weddings, or provide secluded, peaceful surrounding for important business meetings.

The premises of a neoclassical manor house in Beladice, just 18 kilometres from Nitra, dates back to around 1820 and is now known as Park Hotel Tartuf. The hotel derives its name from a rare fungus, a truffle. Just as it is necessary to persistently search for truffles, Park Hotel Tartuf is itself well-hidden – in a five-hectare park, which with its meandering paths through large, mature trees provides incalculable added value, giving it the extraordinarily peaceful atmosphere of a secluded site far from the rush of city life.

What distinguishes this hotel with its adjacent modern wellness centre from other historical premises converted into hotels is its Natural Gallery of Art Ceramics that features artworks which Slovak and foreign ceramists have created during regular workshops held at the former manor house.

The metamorphosis of this manor house into a hotel has been positively welcomed by descendants of its previous owners. Pankraz von Freyberg, the great-grandson of Heinrich von Lindelof, who had rebuilt the manor house in neoclassical style, has visited the new hotel several times.

“During his visits Dr Freyberg was very satisfied with the gradual reconstruction of the manor house as well as the whole premises, including the park,” Radovan Baláž from Ekostavby, the managing company of the manor house, told The Slovak Spectator. “He was glad that life had returned to it.”

The story of Château Belá, which is 10 kilometres from the border town of Štúrovo, is a little different. Ten years ago Ilona von Krockow, granddaughter of the last owner of the premises, originally wanted to keep the estate for private usage because of its closeness to her heart. But later she changed her mind and Juraj Ullman bought the Baroque estate and doggedly returned its previous beauty in grand style, with attention paid to every detail, the Týždeň weekly wrote. Now the estate offers a five-star hotel with facilities that are perfect for important business conferences, fairy tale weddings or other lifetime events which become unforgettable memories thanks to Château Belá’s unique atmosphere and style.

The Mojmírovce manor house is situated only 15 kilometres from Nitra and it has experienced a turbulent history. The estate was constructed by the Hunyadi family in 1721 but from the beginnings of the 19th century the property, built in a Baroque-Classicist style, ended up serving as a sugar refinery, prison, primary school and military base. After falling into a state of serious disrepair, the estate was bought by private investors and renovated into a training centre and hotel with accommodations and a restaurant, with the capacity to serve as a congress centre using the manor house and the facilities of a former horse-breeding farm.

The manor house in Palárikovo, 14 kilometres from Nové Zámky, is located in a 50-hectare park and it is well-known among hunters, especially because of its legendary pheasantry. The Károly family opened the pheasantry in 1752 and it still exists today. Now the manor house, which had been completely reconstructed by Alojz Károly in 1866, houses a hotel and a permanent exhibition sponsored by the International Council for Hunting and Animal Protection.

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