Grand Hotel in literature
„ZAKLĘTE REWIRY” ("The Enchanted Territories")
In 1936, Krakow’s Grand Hotel entered Polish literature for good thanks to the book titled “Zaklęte Rewiry” (The Enchanted Territories), which was received by the literary circles as an excellent debut by Tadeusz Kurtyka – a former waiter at the Grand Hotel, publishing under the pseudonym Henryk Worcell. He worked between 1928 and 1936 as a waiter, first in the café and then in the hotel restaurant. In 1933 he began writing his memoirs, which with time turned into a kind of autobiographical novel full of invaluable information and anecdotes concerning hotel life “behind the scenes ” to “the café table”. Undoubtedly, it was the Grand Hotel café that was the place where the waiter Kurtyka transformed into the writer Worcell, who, according to Zygmunt Nowakowski’s review, “rode into Polish literature on a hundred horses”. The most valuable features of Worcell’s novel were the vivid depictions of café and restaurant life from behind the scenes: “from the perspectives of kitchen, buffet, pantry and sideboard”. In the novel, the author called the Grand Hotel the “Pacific” (thus the English name of the feature film is “The Pacific Hotel”), and hid himself under the figure of the main character Roman Boryczko, who started his way to becoming a waiter from a position of dish washer in the kitchen. In real life, waiter Tadeusz Kurtyka, having the opportunity to observe the behaviour of café guests and participating in the daily operations of the Grand Hotel’s catering facilities, was able to convey the unusual atmosphere of the place and, in an interesting literary record, record the history of this legendary hotel. The book was reprinted many times and in 1975 Janusz Majewski made a film based on the book under the same title.
Grand Hotel in literature
The Grand Hotel in Krakow turned out to be such an interesting subject that it has been the subject of a comprehensive monograph written by Professor Irena Homoli-Skąpska. The author describes the history of this place in an extremely interesting way, bringing closer the history of the historic tenement houses, which were later incorporated into the Grand Hotel complex, as well as the people who owned it and those who met for many years at the hotel’s café and restaurant. We can thus trace the process of conversion of the Renaissance townhouses into the ducal palace of Marcelina and Alexander Czartoryski and setting up the most famous artistic and literary salon of Krakow, and after the sale of the palace to Eustachy Jax Chronowski, the transformation of this place into the most luxurious hotel of Krakow. The author recalls many amusing stories and anecdotes connected with famous café regulars and hotel guests – often eminent figures of the time. She also quotes humorous poems that famous guests often left on café napkins. One of them concerns the author herself:
Write about the Hotel
Without offending too many”
GRAND HOTEL IN FILM
“Zaklęte Rewiry” (The Pacific Hotel) directed by Janusz Majewski is a faithful screen adaptation of Henryk Worcell’s novel of the same title. The director cast a young Marek Konrad in the lead of Roman Boryczko, and an excellent Roman Wilhelmi as the brutal waiter Fornalski who persecuted him. Both were awarded for their outstanding acting performances. For the purpose of the film, the Krakow’s Grand Hotel is renamed into Hotel “Pacific”. The director invites us to visit this hotel and take a look at its quarters, usually inaccessible to guests. The film is set in the early 1930s and tells the story of a teenage boy from the countryside who is hired to work in the restaurant of the city’s most luxurious hotel and climbs the hotel career ladder at the cost of constant humiliation. In an excellent way it presents a picture of the life of the Grand Hotel in Krakow, seen through the eyes of its waiter and based on his own experiences. It is an excellent study of the attitudes and behaviour of the hotel’s staff and regulars in the Grand Hotel’s cafés and restaurants. British film critic David Shipman expressed the opinion that “there is no better film about hotel life than this one”.
GRAND HOTEL IN FILM
GRAND HOTEL INTERIORS SHOWN IN FILMS
If you want to see the Grand Hotel in a different setting, we recommend watching several films shot in its interiors, which are a charming scenery desired by directors to shoot their productions there. Over the years, several feature films and many hotel episodes have been shot here, enhancing the recognition of this place on the map of Krakow and making the legendary Grand Hotel a contemporary “media celebrity “. The best-known film production for which hotel scenes were shot in the Grand Hotel in Kraków is the excellent 2004 comedy “Vinci” directed by Juliusz Machulski and starring Borys Szyc, Robert Więckiewicz, Kamila Baar and Jan Machulski. Another comedy, directed by Robert Gliński, premiered the same year – “Długi weekend” / “Long weekend”, this time filmed almost entirely inside the Grand Hotel. “Women Without Shame” shot in 2016 is a contemporary Polish comedy directed by Witold Orzechowski and starring, among others, Joanna Liszowska and Anna Dereszowska. Many of the film’s scenes were shot precisely in the Krakow’s Grand Hotel. The Polish Television 2018 flagship series, kept by Maciej Migas in a “Belle époque” style, also contains some scenes shot at the Grand Hotel. There are many more film productions to come, as film crews have developed special liking to our hotel and keep coming back.
Grand Hotel in journalism
JOURNALISTIC PROGRAMMES ABOUT THE HOTEL
When the BBC presenter and host of the acclaimed programme “Great Continental Journey” arrived in Krakow, he could not fail to stop at the legendary Grand Hotel and add it to his script. The programme crew moved with the camera through the historic interiors of the Krakow’s Grand Hotel, trying to move their viewers back to the year 1914, when Joseph Conrad, his wife Jessie and sons: Boris and John stayed here and to revive the ambience of the place and the bygone era. It would be difficult to list all the programmes that were filmed inside the Grand Hotel, because the place has become so important in the history of our country and so many prominent representatives of the world of politics, culture and art have been connected with it over the years that it is difficult for the makers of these programmes to skip the Grand Hotel in their scripts.
The History Channel of the Polish Television visited our hotel many times with a camera, filming scenes related to various historical figures. One of the most interesting programmes shot by this station was a film attempt to recreate Jan Kiepura’s stay at the Grand Hotel in 1936 and his spontaneous concert in a bathrobe in the window of the Palace Suite for the crowd of admirers gathered in front of the hotel.