The tide is slowly starting to turn in Bohinj. One of the many jewels in Gorenjska’s alpine crown has for a long period suffered through the maladministration of a large swathe of its most prominent overnight accommodation. There are though now signs that the fortunes of a variety of tourist sites offering lodgings – from a lakeside campsite, to a thriving hostel and a now derelict preeminent hotel from yesteryear – are waking from a ruinous stasis that threatened to undermine the lasting impression many would take away from this corner of the Julian Alps.
The sale by auction of the Hotel Bellevue has been covered widely in this blog, but its forcible change of ownership from Japec Jakopin to a local network of companies backed by the Archdiocese of Ljubljana is wonderful news not only for the area but also the historic hotel, whose advantageous geographic situation and tales of famous guests overshadow its previous status as a modest three-star facility. During the hotel’s demise the almost ethereal serenity of its forest location took on a funereal silence; even the area’s abundant ornithology seemed to bow their heads and cease their songs in an act of remembrance for a departed loved one. Similar to the stretch of tarmac linking the Bellevue to Ribcev Laz the hotel’s recovery will involve journeying a long road, although finally there can now be a greater confidence of the patient fully recovering after receiving an appropriate course of treatment – from a qualified, empathetic professional.
Hostel Pod Voglom(under Vogel) is Jakopin’s other property but represents a completely different set of circumstances to the decaying Bellevue. Indeed, I wonder if secretly the diligent and hardworking tenants in situ hoped that the sale of the hostel wouldn’t come for a good while yet. Although appositely described as rustic and basic, the Pod Voglom is superbly run and despite its modest tariff generated over €500,000 during 2016. There has been some conjecture whether the current tenants had first refusal to bid for the hostel, and whether they would have the means to do so. Slated to be auctioned on the same day as the Bellevue, the Pod Voglom was temporarily withdrawn from sale due to a third party ownership issue involving a building included in the sale specification that belonged to an unrelated landlord. There has though been strong interest from potential suitors, meaning the Pod Voglom will be sold in due course. I personally hope the current tenants remain firmly in charge, having first benefited from a modest but sympathetic upgrade to the property which is set back from the lake’s southern shore and road to Ukanc.
Having been somewhat overshadowed by the March 10th auction, it has also been revealed that Camp Zlatorog, adjacent to the derelict hotel bearing the same name has been sold to its current tenants, who have also during the last couple of winter seasons rejuvenated the Ski Hotel Vogel, situated at the Rjava Skala top station of the Vogel cableway. Both the camp and ski hotel were part of Zmago Pacnik’s portfolio of tourist properties and whilst I believe he still retains the hotel, the camp has now been sold despite the local municipality believing it had the first right to refusal. From what I understand this scenario was circumvented by the company which owns the camp being bought by the tenants, rather than just the camp itself. Nevertheless, Camp Zlatorog now has competent owners who will work with the local authority, rather than place a series of hurdles and red herrings in its path.
Although the derelict Hotel Zlatorog, a fully operational Ski Hotel Vogel and the reportedly ailing Ribcev Laz-based Hotel Bohinj remain in Pacnik’s control his and Jakopin’s grip on the area are finally loosening, heralding the beginning of the end to a chapter in Bohinj’s history that few will ever want to retell, let alone revisit.
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