Intimate atmosphere, respect for handicraft traditions, gastronomic specialties, sparkling volcanic wine, spa and idyllic environment: the first boutique hotel in Hungary, Káli Art Inn in Köveskál, opened more than twenty years ago. The accommodation not only raises the standard of the area with its sophisticated appearance, but also takes serious steps towards social responsibility, cultural support and sustainable hospitality.
The volcanic slopes surrounding Köveskál used to have significant viticulture and wine trade. The wine-producing nobles built imposing buildings from local rocks in the 19th century, following the Italian example. The main building and luxury suites of the Káli Art Inn are housed in, among other things, these two-hundred-year-old structures. During the careful reconstruction, special attention was paid to the preservation of values: the original beams, the staircase leading to the attic, the cladding of the porch and the artistic wooden gate at the entrance to the building, made by a master from Kővágóörs around 1890, have also been preserved.
The 1.5-hectare estate at their disposal was later expanded with new hotel and spa buildings, so today a total of fifteen rooms are available for rent. Each suite is based on a unique concept, expressing their commitment to craftsmanship. For a harmonious overall picture, the new parts of the building were designed by the same architect who was also responsible for the reconstruction of the old buildings.
However, there are no plans to expand the number of places: “We believe that the large area and the small number of rooms are the guarantee of the peace and tranquility we are accustomed to, which are essential for complete relaxation,” Ildikó Döbröntei, the landlady of Káli Art Inn, shared with us.
Sustainable operation is of paramount importance for Káli Art Inn. “The entire electricity demand of the hotel is provided by solar panels, the garden is irrigated with well water, we compost and garbage is selectively collected. In the kitchen we try to use as many local products as possible: we harvest the spices from our own garden and we make the herb teas with a local herb-woman. Today, however, sustainability goes far beyond the formers. The key to a well-functioning business is a good and reliable permanent workforce, so in 2010 we extended our opening hours to every month of the year to provide local employees with a year-round livelihood,” said Ildikó Döbrentei.
The Káli Art Inn also regularly participates in community responsibility, whether it’s the preparation of street signs and sidewalks along the main road or the reconstruction of the bus stop, where in addition to the original function, a pop-up concert hall and book exchange station are also operated. The founder of the inn is a member of the association of Stylish Country Hotels, the Köveskál-Gasztrofalu project and also participates in the preparation of the Veszprém 2023 European Capital of Culture project. They are also assisting in the renovation of the local government building, where they also plan to build a local history museum, and will open the Káli ArtPark, a temporary outdoor exhibition space for contemporary sculptors, this year in the garden of their hotel.
“The Káli Art Inn for us who live and work here is the perfect workplace, an opportunity, as well as challenge and success. For those who want to create a similar accommodation, it is a defining example, a standard, a workshop and a role model. For guests returning now for the twentieth year, it is safety, tranquility and refuge. And for new visitors, it is surprise, idyll and relaxation,” Ildikó summed up the significance and atmosphere of the place.