While getting to North East Slovakia by car is not exactly an ideal field trip, the destinations that await are worth the effort. Furthermore, it is far more convenient to get to this region by air, since Poprad now has direct flights from the UK, and elsewhere in the EU. Thus, clean air, and arguably some of the most dramatic mountains in Central Europe, are more convenient than ever.
A pleasant surprise, during a recent trip to the area North East of Poprad, was an evident increase in the number of Pensions and Inns, suggesting a certain transformation taking place. Alternatives now abound in contrast to the socialist era sport hotels, or neglected old spas and tourist lodges. Visitors may discover that sleepy historic towns such as Spišska Sobota, Levoča, Stara Lubovňa, and Barďejov certainly deserve a second look. The fact that these towns now have lodging and restaurants that far exceed previous offers is great news.
Money does appear to be flowing into this sector of Slovak tourism. Yet, as expensive and tasteful as the reconstruction of historic objects on quiet historic squares has been, it cannot be left at that. A keen understanding of courtesy and service are needed to make this picture complete. Already much progress has been made in this area, but there is still plenty of room for improvement. Just as a late gothic or renaissance chamber should not be appointed by Ikea furnishing, the comfort and care of guests must also not be taken for granted.
It is necessary to make the point here that not all the Inns and Restaurants are what one might expect, and certainly some caution must be used in selection.
Here are some tips:
- Even with a written confirmation of a reservation, it is necessary to confirm 1 or 2 days ahead.
- In the event of any irregularity in the services rendered, it is always helpful to write a follow up letter or e-mail to explain any dissatisfaction.
- As some of the Pensions and Inns are owner operated by newly rich playboys (hockey players), who are more accustomed to being the center of attention than looking after the needs of others, you should exercise caution in your selection.
- Do not rely only on good looking web sites. Ask on line if anyone else has used the services of a particular place, or at the very least consult with the nearest information center.
Thomas R. Zahn
PATHWAYS sro12 Feb