Comparisons are, after all, odious. The perceived similarities I previously postulated between the relatively expeditious process of selling and renovating Pokljuka’s Sport Hotel and the continued inertia affecting many of nearby Bohinj’s previously foremost hotels were unfair.

The reported prices for which Victor Pacnik and Japec Jakopin are willing to divest their failing, and in many cases derelict portfolios are unrealistic – only serving to further stall the urgent need for the immediate remediation of both the Bellevue and Zlatorog, arguably two of three most iconic hotels – the other being the eponymous Jezero in Ribcev Laz – in the Bohinj region. Having already highlighted the general futility of comparisons, there is a glaring disparity between purchasing a fully functioning and modern hotel in neighbouring Lake Bled for the same figure Pacnik seeks to secure for his now decomposing Hotel Zlatorog, its villa, and anachronistic depandansa (annex). Therein lies the stumbling block: If Pacnik refuses to sell at anything but an inflated price, the mechanisms of the local authority and existing state legislation are for all intents and purposes powerless to intervene. Should Pacnik have no desire to sell assets which he in theory can still borrow against, the inflated asking prices may reflect the amounts for which he is liable. It is though hard to imagine any independent valuer arriving at the values Jakopin and Pacnik have placed upon their properties, although any building so close to Lake Bohinj and within the Triglav National Park carries a significant premium. Holding the Bohinj area to ransom is one thing, although expecting anyone to acquiesce to such exorbitant amounts for ailing hotels is quite another. Therefore, without state intervention and laws that allow the perpetually cycle of stasis to be broken, it is very hard to see from where a positive outcome is going to arise.

Drilling down into the details of each property putatively on the market there are some anomalies that need explaining – at least from my point of view. Occupying an elevated position overlooking Lake Bohinj, the Ribcev Laz-based Hotel Bohinj, formerly known to many as the Kompas, has until lately been open for business and is materially in reasonable condition, although reports of the service provided are none too complimentary. At an asking price of five million euros this is some €2 million less than Pacnik wants for the Zlatorog, or the rotting carcass of which it has become. Although the Zlat is a bigger proposition its rejuvenation will require a massive amount of money – some of which may be spent on complete demolition. Elsewhere, Pacnik’s string of tourist accommodation includes the Hotel Ski Vogel, an edifice emblematic of a bygone age of Brutalist architecture popular during Slovenia’s inclusion within Tito’s Non-Aligned Yugoslavia. Ugly it may be, but iconic both in appearance and situation at the Vogel cableway top-station the Ski Hotel has for the last few winter seasons been fully functioning under the astute custodianship of its tenant. €3 million is its asking price.

The lesser known Jacopin, an erstwhile academic whose business interests previously included the now former Seaway boat manufacturer holds both the Hotel Bellevue and Hostel Pod Voglom(Under Vogel) – two extremely different propositions experiencing contrasting fortunes. The Pod Voglom is one of the best regarded providers of tourist beds in the region, offering low-cost and clean accommodation popular with groups who visit Bohinj for its many outdoor pursuits; it is therefore no surprise that its marketing as a successful going-concern is attracting several interested parties. Sadly, the quintessential but now closed Bellevue and its eerie annex are being left to decay. A lack of investment and operating costs shaved to the marrow have all but finished the hotel once patronized by Agatha Christie, who would now presumably think it an ideal setting for a murder mystery she previously ruled out for the Bohinj area, deeming it too beautiful for such a genre. The Bellevue is though an open goal for any sympathetic investor – albeit one with deep pockets. Located at the end of an 800 metre-long road above Ribcev Laz and positioned on a crest overlooking Lake Bohinj with Mount Triglav visible on clear days, its traditional alpine lodge appearance perfectly dovetails with its heavily forested surroundings. For an investor experienced in the hotel industry and crucially, one with Bohinj at heart, I believe the Bellevue to be the best option of all those available. The three million euro price-tag is though again too expensive – a figure more akin to its purchase AND complete renovation.

As another year bereft of positive change draws to a close, one wonders what will need to happen to force the hands of Pacnik, Jacopin, and indeed, Slovenia’s Ministry of Tourism and the Triglav National Park authority. The only certainty is that things cannot be allowed to continue much longer on this ruinous but completely unnecessary course.

Source material courtesy of: http://siol.net – 26th November 2016

Wikipedia entry for Japec Jacopin: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japec_Jakopin