FUNCTIONING OF A HOTEL IN A HISTORIC BUILDING
– THE CASE STUDY OF „STARY MŁYN” IN BOLESŁAWIEC
The development of hotel services within historical buildings is claimed to be one
of main tendendencies in global hotel industry (Milewska, Włodarczyk, 2005). This
paper, based on author’s master work, describes a case study that illustrates this global
tendency in local scale. Problems concerning adaptation of a historic building for hotel
services and its re-use as a hotel are analysed on the chosen example.
The main aim of this study is to present the specific character of hotel which
functions within a historical building. In particular, this studu aims at:
∼ presenting existing restrictions on development of hotel services within a
historic building (which is a listed monument), according to legislation in force;
∼ reconstructing the process of adaptation of a historic building for the purpose
of hotel services (on the chosen example);
∼ describing the product (hotel services) which is offered by the chosen hotel;
∼ defining the influence of the contemporary function of the historic building
(regarded as an element of local cultural heritage) on local community members’ lives.
The subject of this study is “Hotel Stary Młyn” (“The Old Mill Hotel”) in
Bolesławiec upon Prosna (province of Łódź). The hotel functions in a wooden water mill,
which dates back to 16th century and is the oldest monument of this kind in the province
of Łódź. Its adaptation for the purpose of hotel and gastronomic services was part of an
ambitious project which was carried out in late 70-ties. The project aimed at creating in
Bolesławiec a complex of historic buildings and recreational facilities. The mill was then
thoroughly restored and adapted for cheap accommodation of low standard. In the 90-
ties it became the property of its present owner, and since then its services have been
adjusted to the needs of institutional clients interested in organising seminars,
conferences and integration events for their employees.
The services available in “Stary Młyn” are described in detail in the paper herein.
The study finds that there is a bidirectional relation between historic building within
which the hotel functions and the product of the hotel. The adaptation and re-use of the
historic building as a hotel have great influence on its appearance and state of
preservation. The fact of functioning within a historic building noticeably determines
features of the hotel’s product (services). Peculiar and unique character of the historic
building enables to create the product that can be easily distinguished from the products
of other hotels. On the other hand, however, some features of the historic building, e. g.
constructional barriers, may cause considerable difficulties in the process of hotel
functioning and, as a result, may lead to a deterioration of the quality of its services.
Nevertheless, the case of “Stary Młyn” proves that adaptation of a historic building for
the purpose of hotel services may be its only chance to regain its glory.
This paper also reports on results of a survey with 162 local inhabitants that
author carried out for the purposes of her master work. The survey aimed at finding out
what the importance of the “Stary Młyn” hotel is for the members of local community
(how good do they know basic facts about the hotel?, what kind of changes – if any –
does the contemporary function of the historic building bring into their lives?, what is
their attitude towards commercial re-use of the element of their cultural heritage? do
they willingly visit the hotel and what kind of services do they usually buy?).
The survey reveals that owing to the adaptation to the purpose of hotel, the
historic building is again of great importance for the local community. Most of the
people who were questioned gave correct answers to the questions about the name of
the hotel, date of adaptation and the building’s original function. 119 out of 162 people
who took part in the survey visited the hotel at least once. 70% of those guestioned
approved of the idea of re-using the historic building for the purpose of hotel. The most
common reason they gave to motivate their positive attitude was that this is the only
chance to rescue the monument from falling into ruin.
Members of the local community who were questioned noticed numberous
changes in their lives which resulted from the adaptation of the mill for the hotel. They
mentioned both positive and negative changes, however, the positive ones were
mentioned much more often. According to those questioned, the most noticeable
change concerns the increase of their pride of living in Bolesławiec. Moreover, not only
does the function of a hotel improve the sense of village’s prestige, but also it heightens
its inhabitants’ awareness of the value of local heritage.
The influence of the hotel on local economy is rather insignificant, but some
inhabitants mentioned its positive role in lowering the level of unemployment.
Among negative changes, the most noticeable was the increase of the noise and
other environment pollution. Inhabitants who took part in the survey also suggested
different possible ways of re-using this part of their heritage. They claimed, it should be
used for social, rather than commercial purpose.
PIŃKOWSKA Paulina, mgr
91-752 Łódź, ul. Głowackiego 5 m. 27