European Business: Mr. Kuchta, regarding the hotel’s development over the last few years, what were the most important milestones that made the hotel what it is today?
Edward Kuchta: In 1991, a geothermal hole was drilled in the eastern part of the Tatras. Thanks to the social initiative of the inhabitants of nearby Bukowina Tatrzańska, this well was managed. In 2001, the residents of Bukowina Tatrzańska established a company under the name Bukowiańskie Towarzystwo Geotermalne Sp. z o.o. As a legal entity, it aims to use the thermal waters to develop local entrepreneurship and strengthen tourism in the Podhale region in a way that will harmonize with the protection of the natural environment and its wealth, drawing from nature in such a way as not to destroy it.
BUKOVINA thermal springs were created in the buffer zone of the national park in 2008 and immediately became a magnet attracting people wanting to relax and enjoy the beneficial properties of optimally mineralized thermal water in 20 outdoor and indoor pools on several levels, a sauna complex, and a large parking lot, showing the scale of this investment, which has turned out to be a success. It was a matter of course to reinvest income in the hotel infrastructure, allowing tourists to stay for longer, combining the use of the Tatras’ natural surroundings with bathing in the thermal spas. This is how the comfortable family Hotel Bukovina was created. It opened for guests in December 2010, together with the high-class wellness center BUKOVINA. Expanding the hotel offer and at the same time diversifying it, we bought and thoroughly modernized the Hotel HARNAŚ, which opened in December 2016. This modernist-style facility from the 1970s has a very interesting architecture, and is dedicated to guests over 15 years of age.
European Business: We know that your spa and wellness hotel is successful and has very good feedback and ratings on online booking portals. In a nutshell: What are the most decisive factors and strengths of the hotel? What important benefits of your medical treatments and wellness activities attract guests?
Edward Kuchta: Our experience shows that the complexity of the offer and its quality determine the positive experience of guests. After leaving, they share a positive opinion and give us their recommendation. Today, the philosophy of wellness coincides with the areas of well-understood hospitality. Creating a zone of comfort and tranquillity where you take care of the guest, and help him regenerate and relax is the core of wellness. Good cuisine with natural ingredients, relaxation in thermal water, access to specialists and spa facilities, and top-quality cosmetics, combined with relaxing or healing massages and care rituals are our strength. The natural setting of the Tatras is an added bonus.
European Business: What are your USPs, and what distinguishes your offering from that of other wellness hotels in this region? Are there any particular highlights?
Edward Kuchta: There are many advantages of staying with us. The benefits depend on how much the guest lets himself make use of the range and how long he stays with us. He can choose to consult a physiotherapist and make up an individual program of activities and treatments for his current condition. If someone prefers just to rest and regenerate, we will also adjust treatments, after which the guest will feel refreshed. 16 treatment rooms are staffed with wellness and beauty specialists, and are equipped with a hyperbaric chamber, iMoove devices, iCoone and many other features.
European Business: How do you stay at the forefront of your services so that your guests’ needs and requirements are completely fulfilled?
Edward Kuchta: I think that the combination of many factors and actions forms the advantage and uniqueness. We make an effort to build our offer fully using the location of the resort. From the windows of our hotels, there is a view of the Tatra National Park, beautiful at any time of year. We focus on calm away from the hustle and bustle, cuisine that incorporates local traditions and ingredients, while at the same time providing our guests with assistance in planning their stay according to their wishes before they arrive. Our sales department dedicates time to seasonal packages to meet the needs of our regular and future guests. We stand out thanks to our attention to detail and the highest quality of services, so that every guest can find peace and balance. He can focus on himself.
European Business: What are the basic pillars of your ethical, environmental and social commitment?
Edward Kuchta: We offer our guests a comprehensive and diverse service: baths, wellness and spa, family entertainment, and congress and conference facilities. Resort BUKOVINA is a co-organizer of the largest local cultural events. For many years we have been participating in the largest sporting events in Poland as a partner of the Tour de Pologne, a series of mountain cycling events. Additional attractions that we provide include helicopter flights, local trips and many other attractions. This is the combination of many activities oriented towards the various communities from which our guests come. Activities and events need services, and vice versa. They attract guests to us. Each season in the mountains has its own rules and attracts different groups of guests. We observe these trends and draw our own conclusions. Some are looking for peace; others are coming for an international cycling race. We help each group and each individual find something special with us, which makes them come back again and again.
European Business: How do your guest numbers break down? Do you have more guests from Poland or other countries?
Edward Kuchta: As of today, 70% are guests from Poland, and 30% are foreign tourists. It is known that with time these proportions may change because the tourist market in Poland is part of the global trend of exploring the world. Kraków and Wieliczka Salt Mine are experiencing this, noting record numbers of visitors from abroad. The region of the Tatra Mountains and Podhale is the next step for tourists who like Poland and want to see more or come for longer. We try to communicate with these tourists, who can certainly appreciate our potential and level of service.