Where was the Hotel Devín built?

Functionalist Hotel Devín**** was initially not liked by many. The building without any decoration among the picturesque houses along the Danube was an eyesore.

Imagine the lower town between the wars. In the morning, moms would send their children with a jug to get milk, and dads would send the same kids with the same jug to the City Brewery in the evening to get a beer. A symphony from the Music School in the Benyovský Palace echoed along the embankment. The elite of Bratislava used to go swimming in the wooden baths that stood on the Danube near today’s Hotel Devín****. The spa, surrounded by wooden cabins, sheltered visitors, among whom naked ladies were said to be sunbathing. Maybe it was true, maybe not, in any case, a clever marketing trick lured the curious to visit. People bought caught fish and fresh vegetables at the Fish Market.

After the Second World War, these residents experienced a gradual transformation of their picturesque Bratislava lower town. The burned-out castle that dominated this scenery had been destroyed for over a century, and the war did not help the city’s character. However, the biggest change came with the change of regime and function replaced decor. The era of thick walls, historicizing elements, and nobility was over and practicality, function, and celebration of the people have came to the fore.

Among one of the first buildings, a timeless functionalist hotel was built in this style in 1952-1954, which Mr. Emil Belluš, at the head of a team of architects, brought to perfection. He reworked the exterior and interior in detail so that all parts of the building were used and connected to each other through details. Luxurious wooden tiles in the interior, mirrors that graphically reflect the space and high ceilings. Nowadays, no investor would approve such a generous project with a slow return. The facade of the building is not insulated, it is dominated by our Slovak travertine from Spiš. When the project was finished, Belluš handed it over to the Directorate of Hospitality Facilities as a gift to the institute. The building is a national cultural heritage and is a gallery of works of art by leading Slovak visual artists. Until 1996, Hotel Devín**** was managed by the state-owned company Interhotels, only then it came into private hands, which luckily modified the premises very sensitively.

In today’s competition of chain hotels, a small hotel with a capacity designed 70 years ago does not have an easy situation. However, it has something that new hotels generating quick profit do not have. Genius loci you have to experience. You step inside and you feel like time has stopped. That you could meet your grandmother here, hold her hand, and talk over coffee. The waiter, old school, takes your coat at the entrance and seats you at the table.

Because you are coming back here, he addresses you by name and asks how you are. You get the feeling that many stories have already taken place in this place. You live in the same room as the Dalai Lama, Elizabeth Taylor, or Alexander Dubček. You know that the presidential elections were celebrated here and films were filmed, including the series „Dunaj, at your service“. And the hotel still stands and is still a hotel.