In 1997, after 2 years of living in The Netherlands, my parents came for a summer trip to Europe. We met up in Vienna and spent two weeks driving through the Czech Republic and Hungary. Although the Berlin Wall had fallen 8 years earlier, the remnants of Communism were still rampant and it wasn’t a particularly easy vacation.
After seeing The Grand Budapest Hotel, I started thinking of some of the formerly grand hotels we had seen while on our trip. One in particular, the Juniorhotel Krakonoš in Mariánské Láznê, stuck in my mind. It was at one time quite a spectacle, with grand staircases, immense chandeliers and wood panelling, but by the time we got there, it had fallen on very sad times. It was run-down, dark and extremely depressing; now more of a youth hostel than a hotel, it had tried to pep up its appeal by adding a minigolf course to the front terrace, an act that accomplished the exact opposite effect. Sad, sad.
I started googling this morning to see what’s happened to the old pile. I found reviews and booking options for Hotel Krakonoš (no ‘Junior’), but all the photos were of a glassy modern pyramid. One aerial photo showed the former grand hotel forlorn and forgotten next to its replacement. I found some photos on Flickr from 2007 (Thank you, dmytrok!) that showed it completely bordered up and abandoned. I wonder if anything else will happen with it? Will it just collapse on itself in the next 30 years? Or will someone take on a labor of love and try to restore it for some useful end?