Numerous events and unusual characters sketch the history of Grand Hotel Krakow, spanning more than a hundred years. This is the place where the world of aristocracy, finance, the political elite, celebrities in art and science all come together. It would be futile to mention all of those whose fate was connected with the legend of this magical place...
The long list of Grand Hotel Guests contains the greatest names, often repeated over and over again, of Polish culture: Henryk Sienkiewicz, Joseph Conradd, Jan Kiepura head the list. The great tenor''s stay is remembered through many intriguing anecdotes. One of them talks of a unique concert that the singer gave from the window of the Marble Suite in 1936. This spontaneous performance, dedicated to his followers waiting outside the hotel, was later immortalized in the Cracow Crib (Szopka) by the following humorous verse:
"Oh Jan what a sight When in the Grand all night
You bawled at us
With all your might."
The great celebrities that came to The Grand in the golden years of the early 20th century include Stanisław Wyspiański, Lucjan Rydel and Kazimierz Przerwa-Tetmajer. The political elite often sought the hospitality of the city''s most elegant hotel. The legendary leader Marshall Józef Piłsudski stayed here, as well as the Minister Józef Beck and the General Bolesław Wieniawa Długoszowski. Foreign government officials included Marshall Ferdynand Foch, the French Prime Minister Jean Louis Barthou and the Italian foreign minister Count Galeazzo Ciano. The Hotel''s most celebrated Guests include the world famous composer and pianist, politician and Prime Minister of Poland, Ignacy Jan Paderewski, as well as the heir to the Dutch throne, Princess Juliana and her husband, Prince Bernhard.
Equally important Guests have stayed at the Hotel in more modern times.
Between 1990 and 2005 The Grand had the honour of receiving the British Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, Prince Phillip, the husband of Queen Elizabeth II, Princess Birgitta von Hohenzollernof Sweden, the President of the Republic of Slovakia Rudolf Schuster, the American Secretary of State Colin Powell and the Chancellor of Germany Gerhard Schröder. An organizational centre was set up at The Grand Hotel during the visit to Cracow of the Japanese Imperial couple - Emperor Akihito and his wife Empress Michiko. Of the Polish politicians who stayed at the Hotel the following may be mentioned: Nobel Peace Prize Winner, President Lech Wałęsa, the Prime Minister Marek Belka, the former Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Włodzimierz Cimoszewicz, the Foreign Minister Władysław Bartoszewski, the Speaker of the Polish Parliament Józef Zych, Prime Minister Jerzy Buzek, Minister of Finance and President of the National Bank of Poland Leszek Balcerowicz, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Grzegorz Kołodko and the former President of Poland in exile Ryszard Kaczorowski. Another Hotel Guest was the legendary courierJan Nowak-Jeziorański, Director of the Polish language service of Radio Free Europe. Apart from politicians the Hotel has also welcomed numerous actors, painters and writers. Only recently The Grand Hotel was visited by the now deceased Nobel Prize Winner Czesław Miłosz. The Grand has also received Sławomir Mrożek and William Wharton. The world of cinema has also taken a liking to the noble palace interior. The following have stayed at The Grand on many occasions: Roman Polański, Agnieszka Holland, Juliusz Machulski, as well as well-known foreign actors such as Holly Hunter, Kenneth Branagh and Oscar winning Adrien Brody. Many famous Polish actors have also stayed including Joanna Żółkowska, Danuta Stenka, Krzysztof Globisz, Michał Żebrowski and Piotr Adamczyk, famed for playing the part of John Paul II in "Karol - A Man Who Became Pope". In 2003 Robert Gliński filmed "Long Weekend" at The Grand. In the following year Juliusz Machulski filmed "Vinci". Guests also include many a stage performer: Anna Maria Jopek, Marek Grechuta, Ewa Bemand Richie Blackmoore, the founder of Deep Purple. World famous opera soloists and eminent musicians who participate in the Beethoven Easter Festival also come to stay. The presence of numerous domestic and foreign journalists, following important events in culture, art and politics adds to the specific atmosphere of the Hotel. A truly fascinating phenomenon is the elitist "Cinderella Club". Its members are Cracow scholars, who meet every day at ten o'clock in the morning in the Hotel café at the now traditional "professor" table. This noble group comprises Cracow professors, but not only, as it is also frequented by doctors, journalists and performers. It is hardly surprising that Café Vienna is now regarded as the "café of intellectual inspiration"... Please visit us and have a look at the Golden Book of Guests, which may be viewed at Hotel Reception. We would be happy to have you as part of the extraordinary and captivating legend of The Grand Hotel.