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Explore the golden as well as the dark years of the First Lady of the Tatras

The First Lady of the Tatras, as we like to call the Lomnica 
hotel, has occupied this location for the long 124 years.
Let us tell you more not only about its heyday and period of glory
but also its decline and subsequent rebirth.
We kindly invite you to a brief trip down the memory lane to let you explore 
what was locked behind the hotel’s decrepit walls for long years.


Let us travel in time to the beginning of theLomnica’s story, to the era when the history of the municipality of TatranskáLomnica was only beginning.

It’s the year 1892. The Hungarian state and thewealthy aristocracy of Budapest, its capital, are initiating an extensive propertydevelopment project of the “villa settlement of Tatranská Lomnica”. Only oneyear later, the construction works are already running also on the elegantproject designed by architect GedeonMajunke, which is supposed to give the newly-established municipalityits distinct face. It should be the first hotel in the High Tatras,its construction takes one year and the investment amounts to 85 000 Hungarian forints. 

The golden years

In 1894, the Lomnica hotel opens its gates tothe guests,most of whom are statesmen, members of aristocracy, artists, as well as thefirst visitors of the climate spa in the High Tatras. Accommodationis offered in 28 rooms availableat 1 - 3 forints. In 1900, the accommodation costs 2- 6 krone per night.
 
At the turn of the 20th century, the Tatras come tolife also thanks to sport enthusiasts, who visit the mountains also toenjoy new types of adrenaline adventure. Those excitedabout the velocity enjoy sledding on the newly-built bobsleigh track or thewind in their hair during a sleighride pulled by horses. Golf, tennis or claypigeon shooting dominate the world of sports at the turn of the 20thcentury. The municipality of Tatranská Lomnica is becoming a popularlocation offering its visitors a wider range of leisure activities.Nothing seems to stand in the way of breaking of the limits and tourismdevelopment.

Parks flourish under the designs of garden architect JánBöllmann and the kitchen of the  Lomnica is regularly supplied by the freshlygrown vegetables right from the hotel garden.

An unexpected fall

However, several years later the Tatras start to decline.Hotel capacity does not serve touristsanymore, but it does to soldiers and mountain rangers, who come here formilitary drill. The Great War (also known as the WWI) changed everything, as itdisrupted the oasis of fun and relax with the dramatic times it broughtto Europe. In winter 1917/1918,Tatranská Lomnica is completely abandoned.

After the war, the former property of the Hungarian state thatincludes the hotel passes to the hands of the newly formed republic ofCzechoslovakia. The buildings are looted and derelict. The task to bring backthe not so distant fame of the Tatranská Lomnica is given to Cyril Holuby, anexperienced balneologist and hotel manager. However, this brings with it a numberof unpopular decisions aimed against the enemies of the existing regime. Thismay perhaps also be the reason why only some time later, Cyril Holuby mysteriouslydisappears never to be seen again.

A new hope

However, during the 1930s a new dawn is on the horizonbringing better times. The cable car is being built up to the topof the Lomnický štít and the whole municipality of Tatranská Lomnica becomes apopular hub of social life again. The golden 1930s bring cultural growth alsoto the eponymous hotel. The rebuilt hotel terrace becomes apopular place for sitting with friends and relaxing on the healthy mountainair and the hotel premises also serve as an atelier for Vladimír Koštial, thephotographer of the Tatras.

The hotel withstood the WWII, just like the Great War. Afterliberation of Czechoslovakia from the Nazi rule, the hotel is again knownfor a unique ambience and atmosphere. It holds a number of musical andtheatrical performances. The harmonies of the electric organ resonate the hallson a regular basis as well as the laughter and voices of the merry guestsattending the popular five o’clock teas.  

The fateful breakpoint
Hotel premises were used for a wide range of purposesduring the whole of its history, whether it meant accommodating VIPguests, soldiers or inhabitants of the Tatra region.However, nothing  left sucha destructive mark on the hotel as the 1990s. The building was stilloperated some time after the privatisation, however, in 1993, its renovatedfaçade only carries the bannercelebrating the 100th anniversary of the hotel, which does notserve its original purpose anymore. The operation was reduced to a souvenirshop, toy store and a grocery store. Still, even these retail operationsgradually close down and the building of the once famous FirstLady of the Tatras is left alone to resist the merciless ravages of time. Itonly serves as home to a family of storks, which checked-in as the most recent guests. 
The exquisite premises turn into a ruin, the pride decays to disgrace.



Rebirth of the First Lady
2015 brings a new hopeful spark into the life ofthe First Lady. The investor and the architects from the GFI companyenter the officially closed hotel building. Despite the nakednessof the decrepit walls, their breath is immediately taken away. Keeping the maximum from the originalbuilding is set as the key task while simultaneously giving the hotel backits original purpose, grace and charm. In the sameyear, an ambitious project is designed, which must comply with the mostdemanding wishes of contemporary discerning guests. Accommodation capacity mustbe extended, the premises for the wellness centre and the congress venue mustbe built anew. On the other hand, the new building extension must not competewith the original hotel building, quite the other way round. Its task is to forma reasonable contrast to the original thus pointing out to its uniqueness. Thatis why the extension is designed using the minimalistic modern style with asilhouette reminding of the High Tatras. Follow us and look into the buildingjust before the reconstruction and after the project was completed.

Do you recognise it?

You may also watch a short video documenting the whole process of reconstruction.


 
The story of the First lady is not over yet. To the contrary, it keepsunwinding. 
If you want to be a part of it, make sure you pay us a visit.



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