“ Address: 032 51 Jasná pod Chopkom / Slovakia / Tel: +421 44 559 1641 „
I have stayed at the Hotel Sverma twice now, irresistibly drawn to its quirky, communist décor, the enormous echoing space inside, and the extraordinarily cheap prices! Hotel Sverma is located in the town of Jasna, Slovakia; it is not easy to find and even less easy to book, and once you get there you will either adore it, or hate it with a vengeance!
Hotel Sverma is owned by the Sorea group - (the largest hotel company in Slovakia) - they do not take bookings directly and unless you speak Slovakian, the whole booking process can be quite traumatic! I eventually found that it is possible to book through the Slovakian travel company, Pilgrim Tours. The Pilgrim Tours website used to advertise the Hotel Sverma as "for the less discerning client", which really made me laugh. Now they have changed the strapline to "budget accommodation for budget prices" - which tells it like it is!
The hotel itself is situated about half a mile from Jasna centre. Both of our visits took place in February and after getting off the bus in the centre, we dragged our cases up the most beautiful snowy lane to get there, surrounded by a forest of snow capped pines, with no sound of cars, roads or civilisation to disturb the peace. It is possible to take a taxi directly from the nearest train station in Liptovsky Mikulas, but we chose the cheaper and more atmospheric local bus.
Walking up to the hotel, it towers over you like a huge pile of concrete building bricks, thrown down in a triangular shape with concrete balconies at the front of every window. Completely isolated except for a small Koliba (traditional restaurant) hidden in the woods nearby, it is imposing and unusual. Walking into the reception takes you back in time; the huge old fashioned reception desk is made of wood, with hundreds of small wooden boxes lining the back wall to contain the room keys. The reception area is covered with beige tiles from floor to ceiling, and has sixties style circular sofas around the pillars. A selection of really old and battered ski equipment can be hired from the reception. A man opens what seems to be a downstairs toilet every morning and takes out his entire range, to display it in a corner of the room. I have yet to see anybody take him up on the offer!
Two tiny lifts take you up to your room. These lifts never fail to excite the children, as they do not have internal doors and you can see and touch the walls and external doors as you whizz upwards. All highly dangerous and outside EU safety regulations, I am sure - but all adding to the charm.
Each of the seven floors are divided into an A and B side, and each of these sides of the hotel has their own central lounge (two on each floor) with long corridors of rooms branching off from each lounge, giving a real maze like feel to this enormous hotel. The rooms themselves are basic but clean - and all identical, with a balcony, 2 single beds, wooden panelling, a small chair, a tv and a large en suite. Although not luxurious, each room is perfectly adequate.
The main lounge and bar are the highlight of the hotel for me. The bar is straight from the 1960s, with a row of naked light bulbs in a sort of chrome cage, running on a plinth above the counter, and high, sixties style black leather bar stools around the bar. The bar counter is made of wood, black leather and chrome, and is surrounded by a range of red sofas, each round a table with their own individual pendant light which can be turned on and off by the seated customers. The bar area is absolutely cavernous, with a billiards table and a darts board.
The dining room is, as you would expect, huge! All of the tables are laid out with crisp white linen in an echoing tiled room with woven wicker lampshades and venetian blinds giving it that classic sixties feel. Breakfast and a three course meal were included in the price, and each morning at breakfast we could chose our evening main courses by completing a tick sheet. The choice usually included fish, pork and chicken; started with a soup which arrived in a huge metal tureen, and ended with a strange Slovakian desert or fruit, all served by very friendly local Slovakian waitresses in traditional black and white uniforms. The food was plain and hearty, and very good value.
Other services in the hotel included a burly Swedish masseur, who was selling his services in the sauna on our first visit, but seemed to have disappeared by our second. We were far too scared to go behind his curtain anyway! Up on the 7th floor we found two table tennis tables, with a huge crowd of very friendly smoking Estonians seated around them, drinking vodka from their very large bottle. We were told that there was a fitness room in the hotel, but never found it, despite many hours of wandering.
This hotel is without doubt the most fun I have ever had on holiday. The size and the décor made the experience really different and all of the staff were extremely friendly despite the language barriers. We also met a selection of really interesting people of all nationalities (only 1 couple were English). The size of the hotel made me think of the hotel in The Shining, and the children could roam around for the whole night without getting bored.
Although the hotel is a short walk from the nearest shop or bar, it is a very pleasant stroll. Walking the 500 metres to the nearest ski lift is also not too much of a problem. On our first visit we paid £700 for a week's half board for 4 people. As this was before the transfer to the Euro, our second visit last year cost a little more - but it was still extraordinarily good value.
(This review also posted on Helium)