The intention to create an association of private owners of historic sites used commercially for hotel and restaurant purposes was in my mind for many years when I was repeatedly visiting these exceptional places as a journalist. I was always impressed by their climate, which partly came from the particular approach their owners exhibited toward them, owners for whom renovation and use in this form has been and continues to be a way of life.
In other words, this is a passion they are fully dedicated to, with all the resulting consequences. It is them who, while applying their own stamp to these places, became heirs to a tradition of hospitality and openness that these premises fulfilled during entirely non-commercial functions in the past and under a previous ownership. While it is difficult to fully recreate the climate of bygone years, it is good to succeed to tie in with it in an entirely novel reality and function, even if only partly so. And when we do succeed, it will be worth indeed – I deem so as a journalist – to catalogue this collective accomplishment, to bring together the hosts, to introduce them more broadly and do something together.
So I frequently spoke with many of the owners, devising plans to create a certain group, an association perhaps. Discussions were very enjoyable and, even if they did not result directly in any specific steps, they undoubtedly brought us closer – as I reckon today – to the definition of a certain common idea and a program of mutual support.
A breakthrough in the talks happened early this year during a conversation with Mr. Jerzy Donimirski, the owner of a chain of historic hotels in Kraków and in the Korzkiew Castle, who said to me (I quote from memory): "Krzysztof, sir, enough talk, let’s do something at last". And his words became flesh. And it is Mr. Donimirski himself who was elected Chairman of the Association of Historic Hotels in Poland, during the founding convention in the Palace in Staniszów.
Thus we have a group of historic buildings’ owners to whom this exceptional business activity is the realization of their particular attitude toward these places – their respect for every historic brick, every historic rafter and every – if still preserved – architectural detail or wall painting. Let these words suffice to describe this extraordinary case that was formally integrated in the association’s structure, a structure in which, as it turned out, I was enlisted as a member of the board and on behalf of which I shall, by the will of its members, continue to work.