Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Slovakia Day 1 - On Top of The World.


Last week I took two days off work and spent those days on the top of a mountain in the High Tatras of Slovakia. I never thought I'd ever get to the top of a mountain, nor did I ever think I would ever ski. In case you hadn't noticed from my previous travel posts, I'm a warm weather kinda gal, I don't usually do 'cold' holidays. 

Top of Lomnický štít in Slovakia


I'd been wanting to visit Slovakia ever since my brother's Slovakian ex-girlfriend told me about the beauty of the countryside and spa towns, and when the opportunity arose for me to spend 3 nights in the Tatry Mountains with the local Tatry Mountain tourism board, I booked the time off work and a few short weeks later I was on my way with my extra winter travel insurance and a large suitcase full of very warm clothing.

One of my closest friends from my old work, Shev, came with me, as she had never skied before either. After all, I didn't want someone to come along and put me to shame! Our flight was from Luton and at a surprisingly decent time - 2:30pm in the afternoon, landing in Poprad-Tatry at 5:30pm local time. Wizz Air are the only carrier to provide a direct service from London to the Tatras Mountains (they actually destroyed my luggage and refused to take responsibility, so I'm not exactly the biggest fan of them - if I were to visit the High Tatras again, I'd personally rather fly to Kosice with a different airline and get the train from there), and it only began a few months ago to tie in with the €200million renovation of the low tatras ski resort, Jasna.

We landed in the evening to find Joseph from the GrandHotel Starý Smokovec waiting for us with the hotel's car and driver. Joseph was absolutely awesome, he looked after us so well for the duration of our stay at the GrandHotel and he used to work in London and Dubai with Gary Rhodes, so has learnt from one of the best. The hotel is the oldest in the area at 110 years old, and you all know by now how much I adore old hotels.



The best thing about this hotel was that it made us feel as though we were in an old James Bond movie. The hotel is very grand, and was obviously the height of luxury in the 1970's. Usually I'd say it's in need of a refurbishment, but actually I think it would be such a shame to change it. It's perfectly comfortable and perfect for going back to after a long day on the slopes, it really did feel as though we were back in time, which I surprisingly found quite endearing. Also the rooms were absolutely huge, and check out the views of the low tatras in the distance...

View from GrandHotel Starý Smokovec Slovakia


The breakfast was excellent and the sauna and wellness centre was so relaxing! So many different sauna and steam rooms, a jacuzzi, huge swimming pool, cold pool, numerous massage treatments, and even a darkened relaxation area with heated stone beds. The Slovaks are known for their wellness centres, and they're quite traditional - everyone goes naked and just wears a sheet to cover themselves. Shev and I were a bit shocked at first, especially when men kept whipping off the sheets in front of us before jumping into the cold pool as we sat fully-clothed in the jacuzzi! 

View from GrandHotel Starý Smokovec Slovakia


The next day after an early night we headed to Tatranská Lomnica for our first ever ski lesson! I wore my epic Retro Mountain ski suit (I matched the hotel with my retro vibes!), and after getting our boots and skis we headed to the nursery slopes. Soon we were speeding down the slope and thankfully I only fell over once! 

Learning to ski at Tatranská Lomnica Slovakia

After our lesson we went up to Lomnický štít, which is the second highest mountain in Slovakia at 8,643 ft. The weather was awful the whole time we were in Slovakia, but it made going up the mountain even more breathtaking as we descended above the clouds in a tiny cable car.

Cable cars at Tatranská Lomnica Slovakia


After three different cable cars we finally reached the summit, and walked out of the small building that you enter into to find this view in front of us...

Lomnický štít in Slovakia

Top of Lomnický štít in Slovakia High Tatras

Top of Lomnický štít in Slovakia High Tatras Mountains

Lomnický štít in Slovakia High Tatras

The wind was intense and the sun bright, and we stood in awe as we looked out over the sea of fluffy white clouds and snow-capped peaks. We felt as though we were quite literally on top of the world, and it was an experience I'll never forget. For so many years I've wanted to stand on top of a mountain, and finally I did it. We were only allowed to stay up there for 50 minutes, so we walked around the walkway and took a look at the view on the other side. 

View at top of Lomnický štít in Slovakia High Tatras Mountains

Visiting Lomnický štít in Slovakia High Tatras Mountains

Lomnický Peak in Slovakia High Tatras Mountains

Lomnický štít in Slovakia

Lomnický štít in Slovakia High Tatry Mountains

Selfie at Lomnický štít in Slovakia High Tatras Mountains
Faux Fur Headband: Jack Wills // Snow Suit: Retro Mountain (c/o) // Camera: Nikon D5200.

After taking countless selfies and doing a bit of vlogging (this will be up on the weekend!), we headed back into the building to warm up. Once my hands had got the feeling back in them (I'd just spent about half an hour outside with no gloves on), we had a glass of Baileys each and then it was time to head back down through the clouds to the real world. Before that though, we saw these two guys climbing up the mountain with no safety equipment!!! 

Climbers at Lomnický štít in Slovakia High Tatras Mountains

Mountain climbers at Lomnický štít in Slovakia High Tatras

Mountain climbers at Lomnický štít in Slovakia High Tatras


We finally got back to the hotel absolutely exhausted, and spent a couple of hours in the pool and wellness centre, before getting ready and heading to the beautiful GrandHotel Praha for dinner. 

GrandHotel Praha Slovakia restaurant review


I had veal pate to start with, sea bream for mains, and mint mousse for dessert. All of it was absolutely delicious! The mint mousse was so refreshing and the perfect end to a really relaxed meal. Just like the staff at the sister restaurant we were staying at, they couldn't do enough for us. As soon as our water got low, they refilled, as soon as our prosecco got low, they refilled. Also, the prices were really reasonable! A glass of prosecco was just €2.90!

We got back to our hotel and fell asleep as soon as our heads touched the pillows. We definitely needed the sleep, as you'll all see tomorrow! Watch my Slovakia vlog below...





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*I was a guest of the Tatry Mountain Resort throughout my stay in Slovakia and I can't recommend the GrandHotel Starý Smokovec enough - just embrace the seventies grandness! Wizz Air provide a direct service between London Luton and Poprad-Tatry, with prices starting from £49.99, however my own personal experiences were not particularly pleasant with them, they broke my new suitcase and were very unhelpful and rude when communicating about the damage. If I were to travel to the High Tatras again I personally would fly to Kosice with a different airline and get the train or a car to the High Tatras from there.
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21 comments

  1. Wow what amazing pictures, normally you'd want a clear day for standing on top of a mountain so you can see the landscape but if you're going to be ABOVE the clouds, that's so much better!! Looks like a great trip xxx
    Lucy @ La Lingua

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    Replies
    1. That's what we said, I was like 'I'm actually quite happy it's cloudy as it looks more impressive!' haha!

      C x

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  2. I've never been skiing either. Good on you for going for it, I'm still to scared!
    Lots of love,
    Angie
    SilverSpoon London

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You should go, it was so much fun, I'm so glad I finally went!

      C x

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  3. OH MY GOSH THOSE CLOUDS ARE MAGICAL!!!
    I'm loving the '70s vibes (and that prosecco is SO CHEAP) and how your snow suit matches the hotel! x

    Jasiminne | Posh, Broke, & Bored

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I KNOW RIGHT!! (to everything you said, haha!)

      C x

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  4. Looks like such an amazing place! In love with the ski suit as well - it's perfect for the slopes!

    Lauren xx
    www.thelifestylediaries.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was so beautiful! Isn't it the coolest ski suit ever!?

      C x

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  5. This looks incredible!! What an amazing experience. I've never been skiing either, though am afraid I'm now too old to learn...

    Rosie xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Nooo, you're never too old! My aunty learnt when she was in her forties!

      C x

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  6. I am insanely jealous! This looks incredible xx

    Abi | abistreetx.blogspot.co.uk

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was such an amazing experience!

      C x

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  7. That is quite simply breathtaking!
    Claire
    www.thegreeneyedgirl.co.uk

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I was in awe, I'd never seen anything like it before!

      C x

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  8. Very cool ski suit and the Tatry Mountains look stunning

    Suze | LuxuryColumnist

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They were beautiful, I'd never even considered going skiing there but it was awesome!

      C x

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  9. What an adventure, standing on top of the mountain with the sun in your face and wind at your back I bet you felt alive. Georgeous pictures and what is it with hotels and a 70's vibe going on? I'm with you brings some character Lucy

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    Replies
    1. Yep, it was definitely an adventure, that's for sure!

      C x

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  10. I'm so glad you managed to keep your balance! Plus you look fab in the retro onsie. I'm slightly - ok, VERY - jealous! The mountain looks breathtaking. I've never had that while skiing!

    Katie <3

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    Replies
    1. Same!! Thankies, how awesome is it!! You and Ben should try skiing there, it's pretty cheap and so so good!

      C x

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  11. These photos look stunning! I had no idea that Slovakia could look so extremely beautiful in winter! And wow you, for going on your first skiing trip ever. I never skied before myself, and I also don't know if I would ever do it haha! x Maaike - www.travellousworld.com

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