Discover history of unique Hotel Elizabeth
Hotel Elizabeth, originally named “Erszebet Szalo”, was built by Baron Armin Popper. It started its operations on January 1, 1902 and it immediately became part of the social and cultural life of the city of Trenčín. In 1921, the hotel was renamed “Hotel Tatra”. Nobility met here with perfect comfort and service of the Viennese facilities.
The year 2001 was unique for the hotel; it celebrated its 100th anniversary. The hotel underwent extensive reconstruction in 1987 and 1994 when it again opened its doors to guests.
From 2010 to 2012 the hotel underwent extensive reconstruction to become a modern business and wellness hotel, which will captivate even the most demanding business clientele while retaining the original charm of the art nouveau style architecture and its unique historical atmosphere.
In the late 19th century, the guesthouse “K červenej hviezde" (Voros Csillaghoz, Zum roten Stern, To the Red Star) was standing under the Castle. It served as a shelter for travelling salesmen, also providing facilities such as stables and coach house. At that time, the city gradually started to develop into the industrial and commercial centre of the Váh region. The rail transport was spreading; smaller and larger companies were originating; bridges, barracks and hospital were built and the old guesthouse could no longer satisfy the new demand.
The new investor, Baron Armin Popper, had the building demolished and on the threshold of the 20th century, in February 1900, started to build a new representational hotel and tenement house. The new structure was designed in close proximity to the castle rock which at that time was owned by the countess Iphigénia d’Harcourt as a part of the castle ruins. In the interest of safety, she was ordered by the city council to have the destructed and falling gun bastion masonry and the castle rock repaired, within the scope of the projected new construction.
The hotel was completed in the fall of 1901 and put into operation on January 1, 1902. The first lessee, Ján Martinschultz, 32-year-old waiter from Budapest, named the hotel “Elizabeth” (Erszebeth Szalo) in honour of the Empress Elizabeth, wife of the Emperor Francis Joseph I. The hotel was the most elegant facility in the Trenčín County; it became a part of the social and cultural life and the meeting place for local elite. The next lessee, from 1903, was August Čermák who improved the hotel services. The hotel became the venue of regular dances, balls, carnivals, concerts, congresses, various celebrations but also meetings of the city council and general meetings of many Trenčín associations.
At the invitation of Baron Popper, many artists from home and abroad were performing at the hotel, including opera singers or Vienna and Budapest Philharmonic. In 1907, the lessee modernized the Hotel interior; the gaslight was replaced by electric lighting and electric motors were built-in for ventilation. Popper was passionately engaged in gambling, therefore had a casino built in the hotel based on the design of French night clubs. This passion, however, became fatal for Baron. In 1910, due to debts and financial manipulations, the Ružomberok credit bank of the Hutter and Schwartz Company required the imposition of receivership on his property. At public auction held on September 15, 1910, five of the eight houses owned by Popper in Trenčín were sold. Hotel Elizabeth was bought by his father-in-law, the Knight Samuel Hahn, for 423,501 Crowns.
Even after the hotel had been sold, the devoted Augustín Čermák continued to organize works in order to modernize the hotel up until 1911. Extensive interior adjustments and cafe reconstruction were carried out; new room for card playing and billiard hall with American tables were built; the furniture was replaced by new pieces in Biedermayer style. The hotel got connected to the municipal sewer and water supply, being built in Trenčín at that time. The next lessee was the Vienna hotelier of Polish origin, Franc J. Czyzewicz. Under his management, the Hotel Elizabeth – Alžbeta, was literally experiencing its renaissance. It was the venue for famous musical bodies playing classical music.
During World War I., the Hotel started to decline. Since April 1916, it belonged to Baroness Hermína Popper – the daughter of Knight Hahn and ex-wife of Baron Popper. She was only rarely staying in Trenčín and rented the Hotel out for storage purposes. For a short period, it served as the post office and finally, she provided accommodation to soldiers, who destroyed it. The Hotel survived the end of the war and downfall of the Austro-Hungarian in poor condition. Destroyed and indebted, in October 1919 it was purchased by Tatra Banka, the holding company from Martin, for 1,200,000 Crowns. In October 1921, the Hotel’s title changed to Tatra.
The devastated and neglected building was reconstructed by the construction company Považská stavebná spoločnosť from Trenčín. The object was put into operation on February 1,1922. The hotel manager, V. Herclík, had to leave due to misconduct and high deficit and his position was taken by an experienced hotelier, Ján Franek, who managed to return the hotel to its pre-war high European level. Cultural life also returned to the hotel, with performances by both drama and opera of the Slovak National Theatre from Bratislava as well as the National Theatre from Prague. In 1936, the so called Literary Thursdays became very popular, hosted by famous personalities such as Emil Boleslav Lukáč, Laco Novomeský, Ján Smrek, Milo Urban or Rudolf Fábry. Another era began after the hotel was taken over by the Slovak Hotel Holding Company Trenčín which centralized the capital of the hotels such as Tatra Trenčín, Carlton Bratislava and others with decisive position held by Tatra Banka. Various adjustments have been done under the management of the director Karol Baxa. At that time, the Hotel offered 85 rooms with 166 beds. In the period 1959 – 60, the Hotel was managed by Pavol Kolečáni, followed by Jozef Ježík who led the Hotel for almost 30 years and was known as an excellent hotelier.
From January 3, 1987, the Hotel was closed due to general overhaul. Following its completion, as of December 15,1991, Hotel Tatra became the property of the city of Trenčín. Since December 1992, it was run by the Slovak-Canadian hotel company ATLIFIC s.r.o. In March 26,1994, operation in the renovated Hotel resumed. At first, it was managed by Jana Cornelius from Canada, followed by Ing. Pavol Kušuba in 1997.
In 2006, the Slovak Company SYNOT GASTRO SLOVAKIA s.r.o. became the owner of the Hotel. In 2010, an extensive reconstruction, rebuilding and extension of the new or rehashed facilities commenced, corresponding with the demands of guests in the **** hotel category. This was only possible thanks to an investment of EUR 13 million, which was also supported by the European Union, contributing a significant amount of almost EUR 3.9 million.