On my travels to Poland I always make an effort to stay at a historic hotel instead a chain hotel. In fact, many of our countryside stays during cooking vacations in Poland include four nights at a romantic, one-of-a-kind palace, castle or manor. That’s where you can truly experience luxurious accommodations, exceptional regional cuisine and legendary Polish hospitality. I recently interviewed Krzysztof Kaniewski – the Secretary and member of the management team of the Historic Hotels of Poland (HHP) Association based in Warsaw, Poland. He handles daily operations, public relations, new membership drives, meeting arrangements etc. on behalf of this outstanding association. Here’s the interview:
1) How long has Historic Hotel of Poland Association (HHP) been operating?
Historic Hotels of Poland Association (HHP) was founded in April 2008. My wife Barbara and I invited 15 owners of historic hotels from across Poland to Staniszow Palace in the Lower Silesia region for an April 15th, 2008 meeting. It was after that meeting that the association was founded and officially registered in court in June, 2008. Since October, 2008 HHP has been a prestigious member of the Historic Hotels of Europe www.historichotelsofeurope.com of which Historic Hotels of America is also an affiliate.
2) How many hotels are currently part of HHP association?
We started out with 15 hotels, today, after a year in operation, association has 30 facilities and has, despite the economic crisis, been flourishing mainly because of addition of new facilities in palaces and manors where renovations started a year or two ago, and are being finished today.
3) What are the requirements to join HHP?
Requirements include: enrollment in the Register of Historic Monuments, high level of customer service, overall aesthetics etc. To become a member of HHP, a facility also has to receive a recommendation from one existing member; and final decision to grant membership belongs to at least two members of the association’s management team, after touring the facility.
4) Are HHPs mostly privately/family owned?
All of our facilities are privately owned however, in the statute we don’t require that. But, as life has showed us explicitly, what’s private is good, and what’s government owned (luckily, less and less) unfortunately looses class. We also have two instances where inheritance of family estate occurred: Palace Hotel in Kurozweki is being run by Prince Marcin Popiel, and Palace in Palczewo by Michal Dembinski.
5) What do participating hotels offer clients that they normally wouldn’t get while saying at non-HHPs?
Specific atmosphere, often (however, not always) interiors decorated with antiques, fabulous cuisine, facilities surrounded by parks with old interesting trees and shrubs, and as a result offering romantic and quiet places for relaxation, corporate trainings, weddings….
7) What kind of cuisine is offered at participating HHPs?
Of course Polish cuisine with elements of regional cuisine however, often menus don’t lack dishes from international cuisine. Owners of our biggest facilities make a special effort to hire distinguished Polish chefs because they know that excellent cuisine attracts more guests.
8)What kind of activities are offered besides the accommodations at HHPs?
Many of our upper tier facilities offer professional SPA centers (Palace Mierzecin, Castle on the Rock, Wojanow, Klekotki Mill, Castle Ryn…) with swimming pools. Many have their own horse stables (Palace Galiny, Palace Mierzecin, Kurozweki…). Bikes are available as well as boats, tennis courts, soccer fields, archery target shooting, running trails and ski slopes nearby…
Krzysztof Kaniewski can be contacted via email at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Barbara Kaniewska is the author of several historic hotels guide books, for example: “Culinary guide to historic monuments/places” published by “Globalna Wioska”, or “Poland – Nights in historic monuments/places” published by “MUZA” and many articles published in Rzeczpospolita Polish newspaper; also text about Americans: “What and where does President Obama eat?” or about ribs in restaurant Lawrys in Chicago.
When on their website don’t forget to sign up for a 10% rebate card on accommodations & dining at participating hotels.