Eastern Europe is a region full of history and mystique, something which really shows in its architecture and the historic buildings which make countries like Poland and the Czech Republic attractive to foreign tourists, even those from their neighboring countries in Europe as well as Asia.
While the everyday tourist might want to simply stay in regular accommodations in the main city areas, it is undeniably true that these countries have a lot more to offer when it comes to their beautiful and decadent historic and heritage hotels, converted from old castles, palaces and country houses.
A great example of this is the breathtaking Rübezahl Marienbad Hotel in the Czech Republic. This five star heritage hotel is located in the spa city of Marianske Lazne (Marienbad), in the Bohemian Forest, and dates from the early 20th century. One of the oldest spa hotels in Europe, this has always been considered a luxurious wellness center for travelers who can enjoy the best of the region, including its health benefits and extraordinary cuisine, while staying in the extensively renovated fairytale-like castle, which gives the experience its almost magical appeal.
The Rübezahl Marienbad Hotel is open to guests the whole year and features all kinds of commodities, from lifts and a layout suitable for disabled guests to a host of wellness and sports activities including golf and skiing. It is also a great location for weddings and conferences.
Known for its great yet troubled history, it is not surprising that a number of castle hotels can be found in Hungary. One of them is the beautiful Castle Hotel Batthyány, in the Zala County. Situated in a park which is over 300 years old, this four star heritage hotel is a relaxing retreat for those who already do or would like to enjoy thermal baths and other wellness experiences only accessible in the countryside.
Initially built in a Gothic style in 1400s, the castle ended up only being finished in the 1800s, acquiring a Baroque style. Since then, it went through several renovations, most notably in the late 1990s, after having served as a foster home for over 40 years and almost being destroyed. Today, the Castle is a premium location for wellness tourists as well as hunters and a prime location for those who enjoy historic sightings, as other castles and palaces are located nearby.
Those who’d like to experience the life or host an event in a typical 19th century Polish manor house will certainly enjoy the Chotynia Manor House, a few kilometers south from Warsaw. Built in that time’s typical style, the preserved Polish manor proudly maintained a traditional style, featuring an eclectic decoration in its interior, made up from pieces of different times and settings, which give it an eccentric appeal and complete with modern commodities so that guests can feel right at home. Aside from the very characteristic decoration, the hotel’s crown jewel is its restaurant, where a number of dishes inspired by French, Polish and Italian cuisine are served.
With a very peculiar history, Slovakia’s Hotel Sebastian is a quite unique heritage hotel. Although it was only converted into what it is today in 2009, the Modra hotel’s structure dates as far back as the medieval times and is the result of the enhancement of several wine producers and craftsmen’s houses, something clearly visible to those who visit and stay there. Aside from modern commodities such as conference rooms, which can host a number of events, the hotel also offers its guests the possibility of visiting large wine cellars, parlors and a large attic, where the rooms are situated.
Another remarkable heritage hotel is Castle Strmol, one of Slovenia’s most famous and the only one completely preserved among the 12 present in the Cerklje community near Ljubljana. The main feature of the castle, which dates from the 13th century, is the fishing pond with its drawbridge, once intended to protect it from Turkish invasions.
It has changed owners over the centuries, having had eccentric entrepreneur Rado Hribar and his wife as its last inhabitants during the 1930s. Due to its location and history, the Castle is now used by the Slovenian government for official ceremonies and functions.
These five historic jewels should give you glimpses of all Eastern Europe’s historic hotels have to offer. There is, however, a lot more to explore, as the region isn’t short of castles, palaces, manors and monasteries which clearly mirror the Old Continent’s rich history, providing guests with unique experiences they can’t enjoy anywhere else.