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Pannonhalmaʼs Benedictines enter hotel business

Hotels

Mark Borbely

A 300-year-old building complex that is part of the Benedictine Archabbey of Pannonhalma, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in northwest Hungary, is to be expanded into a four-star hotel through an investment of HUF 5 billion. The government will support the project with a HUF 2.95 bln grant.

Aerial view of the Archabbey of Pannonhalma (photo: Mark Borbely).

Archabbot Asztrik Várszegi and Paul Rosenberg, director of European hotel development of the Marriott hotel chain, signed a 20-year agreement on the hotel brand on Wednesday.

The development is due to start in March next year and the hotel is scheduled to open at Easter 2020.

This will be Hungaryʼs first Marriott unit outside of the capital and one of the top hotels in the region, according to state news wire MTI.

Online news portal index.hu cites László Vieland, the archabbeyʼs director of sales and marketing, as telling MTI that under the agreement, the archabbey will pay a fixed annual fee so that the hotel can be listed as a member of the Autograph by Marriott chain.

The aim of the development is to extend the tourist season, which primarily lasts from April to October, welcoming visitors from Austria, Southern Germany and Slovakia, and building on opportunities in conference tourism in particular.

Index.hu recalls that the archabbey decided in 2012 to convert the former abbatial manor complex in the center of the town into a visitor center and exhibition space, and the building received the relevant permit in 2015. Parallel with the investment, the town gained a new main square adjacent to the complex. The visitor center did not take up all the available space, however, so that the remaining part of the complex remained undeveloped.

The expansion of the complex will see the addition of 99 rooms, a wellness section, conference room, restaurant and brasserie. The hotel will use a geothermal heating system, while solar panels will be affixed to the building, according to index.hu.

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