The history of the Grand Hotel Kempinski High Tatras

The current Grand Hotel Kempinski High Tatras consists of three interlinked historical buildings built over a period of 34 years, one next to another, on the Štrbské Pleso moraine: Jánošík (1893), Kriváň (1906) and Hviezdoslav (1923). They are distinguished by their varied architectural forms, which range from historicist design to the modern style of the 1920s. Together, they give the impression of picturesque and quaint construction, with various roof shapes that contribute to the panorama of the surrounding Tatras peaks.

The oldest building, dating back to 1893, is Jánošík. Originally, Jozef Szentiványi had it built for his own needs and named it Jozef's villa. The romantic small villa, decorated with paintings and engravings on its façades and with richly furnished interiors, was visited by the highest levels of the aristocracy. Guests included several family members of the House of Habsburg and the House of Coburg, the King of Serbia – Milan and others.

After the creation and foundation of Czechoslovakia, the villa was given the name Jánošík, after the Slovaks’ national hero.

Over time, other buildings have been connected to the original building, including Kriváň (completed in 1906) and Hviezdoslav (completed in 1923).

Kriváň ranked among the three grand hotels of the Tatras at the time of its creation. The project was developed by the renowned architect Guido Hoepfner in cooperation with Géza Györgyi in the era of Belle époque, an era dominated by the Secession style and thus the hotel, including all the furnishings, was designed in this style. The hotel also included spas. Archduke Charles Stephen and his family were one of the first guests of the grand hotel; he was astonished in particular at the hotel hall and restaurant. After the foundation of Czechoslovakia, the hotel was renamed Kriváň, after the Slovaks’ national peak.

Grand Hotel Hviezdoslav was opened in 1923 and bears the name of the greatest Slovak poet. The interior furnishings of the hotel were designed by prominent designers of the unique style known as Rondo-Cubism, the Czechoslovak national style at that time. Before the FIS World Cup in 1935, the old tourist restaurant was replaced by a new French style dining room and bar, which according to the contemporary critics was without equal in all the Tatras.

Starting in 1953, the hotel complex was used as a sanatorium before gradually falling into disrepair and finally, because of its poor condition, being closed.

In 2003, architect Peter Černo prepared a new study of the reconstruction and building of the former treatment house Hviezdoslav. The aim of the project was to transform the historically protected old buildings (from a central list of registered monuments in 1963) into a luxurious five-star hotel that met the expectations and requirements of the future operator - Kempinski. When modifying the exterior, his ambition was to be as close to the original historic appearance as possible. During the preparations, he sought archival materials, historical photos and other documents, all of which were used during the reconstruction.

The renewal of the hotel was an extremely difficult process and took more than four years from start to finish. The complex is located in the Tatra National Park, under the strictest degrees of protection. It is also a Grade II listed building, making it a national monument.

Reconstruction of Grand Hotel Kempinski High Tatras is supported by the European Union.