An auctioneer’s gavel is set to sound the ushering in of a new era for Bohinj’s Hotel Bellevue and Hostel Pod Voglom, properties which are owned by former Seaway operator Japec Jakopin through his Finadria company – which is now the subject of a writ filed against outstanding obligations of over €1.6 million. As tangible assets of Finadria the sale of both the Bellevue and Pod Voglom can pay down its liabilities and at the same time bolster two properties that despite being under the same ownership, have endured contrasting recent fortunes.

Whilst the wonderfully located Bellevue, sitting atop a forest clearing at the end of an 800 metre road above Ribcev Laz has closed and fallen into serious disrepair, the lakeside Pod Voglom, set back from Bohinj’s southern flank has secured a unrivaled niche that provides a clean, basic, but friendly experience for all who stay – from backpackers to school parties and those seeking a cheap vacation amongst the splendour of the Julian Alps. Indeed, the Pod Voglom’s astute tenants turned over more than €500,000 in revenue during 2016 although an asking price of €800,000 would sadly seem to be beyond their means, despite this being €300,000 shy of its independently appraised value. Acting as a jumping off point, a figure of €800,000 could reach above and beyond its €1+ million estimate; I do though hope that the new owner will realise, apart from undertaking some essential material renovation, that the Pod Voglom and its business model isn’t broken and needs very little fixing whilst in concert with its current, diligent tenants.

The Bellevue, of course, represents a very different challenge. Somewhat at odds with an alleged €3 million price-tag attached to it by its owner, the derelict hotel and annex were independently adjudged to be worth little over €860,000 – with a figure closer to €600,000 confirmed as the auctioneer’s guide price. Such unrealistic valuations serve to either completely scare off prospective buyers or reflect the levels of debt secured against the property. With a daunting works programme ahead for the successful bidder I would therefore be surprised if the Bellevue changes hands for much more than €700,000.

Where of course this unexpected but welcome course of events differs from the similar situation currently engulfing the Zlatorog, Hotel Bohinj(formerly the Kompas), and Ski Hotel Vogel is that Jakopin’s hand has been forced by events outside of his control. Once Radovljica’s court ordered the Bellevue and Pod Voglom to be auctioned in light of Finadria’s/Seaway’s inability to meet its liabilities, the dynamic finally shifted away the interminable inertia caused by absentee hotel owners. It would seem unlikely that Zmago Pacnik, the owner of the Bohinj, Zlatorog, and Ski Hotel will be uprooted in a similar fashion, although at the moment it is unclear how much debt, if any, is secured against the aforementioned three and his other accommodation provider, the Stara Fuzina-based Triglav Apartments. The successful sale of the Bellevue and Pod Voglom – I mean by successful to serious investors with the area at heart – will hopefully sound the starting gun for Pacnik to realise his time in the area is up. Coupled with the heartening news that the fire-damaged Hotel Jezero’s renovations are on track to be completed by May, I hope 2017 proves to be a long overdue turning point for Lake Bohinj’s tourist industry.

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