Blog: Hotel Bohinj

Opulent dessert of the Bohinj king with a larch mantle

In the beginning, when God was handing out land to people, he noticed that a small group, which was standing at the side, was left empty-handed. Because they were humble and shy, he felt sorry for them and gave them the piece of land he had kept for himself. They thus got the best that God intended for humankind: soil, rich with fruits and natural beauty, which is still cherished as a priceless gift of the Creator. The place was called Bohinj because the locals call God “Boh” (Slovenian: Bog).

This is but one of the numerous legends about the origin of Bohinj, a place of exceptional natural beauty lying under the highest Slovenian mountain in the natural kingdom of Mt Triglav. At the site, from which a marvellous view of this snow-capped peak can be seen on a clear day from Ribčev Laz above Bohinj, we stepped into the Hotel Bohinj on a sunny day at the beginning of February. But before we unpack our suitcases, we indulge in what we’ve been looking forward to during the entire journey here. In the corner of the hotel restaurant, we enjoy their renowned cake, the sweet symbol of this hotel. We take on a challenge to listen to the hotel story in a different way.

A SWEET BITE INTO CULTURAL HERITAGE

Bohinj cake is not only a dessert, it’s a living heritage of the place. Its story begins in the second half of the 19th century, during the time of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, when the first serious steps in the field of tourism were being made right here in Bohinj. With the help of the Slovenian ethnologist Prof Dr Janez Bogataj, an old recipe by an unknown author was revived, modernised and the cake was given new life. That’s why every bite feels like a step back in time. It represents a precious part of history that connects the culture and soul of Bohinj.

When we explore in greater depth the history of the environment, we connect with the energy and spirit of those who walked the same ground before us. Every piece of heritage carries a snippet of the story that inspires us by reminding us of our roots. A walk through the Hotel Bohinj raises the awareness of this connection and reveals the invisible threads forged with ancestors and the community. Many years ago, Muhr Villa was situated at the location of the Hotel Bohinj. This was succeeded by the Karađorđević Villa and the renowned Hotel Kompas in the 1980s. A major renovation of the place was done with exceptional care and taste several years ago and with such detail that it’s difficult to tell that it’s not a new construction. Only certain rare traces of time can be detected by a sharp eye. The architects even accentuated these and gave them a new meaning. The strong presence of a rich cultural heritage can also be found in the new corporate identity of the hotel, which depicts the silhouette of the four brave Bohinj men who were the first to conquer Mt Triglav. Their story is the common thread of the image the hotel uses to enhance awareness through cultural heritage preservation, reminding us that we are a part of something greater. This tradition enriches our lives and enables a deeper understanding of ourselves and the world around us. It invites us to discover more and deeper. Just like the famous cake, the Bohinj tradition also harbours many layers.

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WOODWEGO_Hotel_Bohinj_

AN INNOVATIVE JOURNEY TO AUGMENTED TRADITION

We are in awe of how tradition and innovation are masterfully intertwined in this dessert. New ingredients such as walnuts supplement the flavour and contribute to its freshness without encroaching upon the authenticity of the recipe. The hotel pastry chef, Katarina Hribar, passionately explains the modern interpretation of the old recipe, which resulted in a completely new gastronomic experience in which every morsel combines the present and the past. The cake represents a harmonious legacy and a fresh modern approach.

Innovations combined with tradition have always been an exceptionally strong source of creative energy. When combining old wisdom with modern technology and fresh ideas, something truly amazing can be created. During the renovation of the Hotel Bohinj, it was proven that innovation can enhance tradition and brings it to life in new ways. One of the major design peculiarities of the hotel are long common corridors, which give the impression of walking through a Bohinj toplar double hayrack. These hayracks are traditional monuments of Slovenian, and particularly Bohinj, craftsmanship, and can still be found in the surrounding villages. They are typical of this Slovenian region. Their recognised geometry recreated on the hotel carpet, ceiling and wall coverings is a superb example of adapting high-quality solutions from the past to create something completely new, albeit preserving the spirit of tradition. It’s no surprise that the corridors are one of the most Instagram-able sights of the hotel. They feature truly enchanting 3D pieces of art that boast the rich tradition of local building. This is as stylish and subtle as it gets. But the cake tells us that we haven’t tried everything yet …

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WOODWEGO_Hotel_Bohinj_

LOCAL, DELICIOUS AND PASSIONATE

A cake must always be tried at least. It’s said to be the only food that goes straight to the heart. Indeed, the sweet buttery aroma of the Bohinj cake takes us right into the heart of Bohinj. The Bohinj top-quality butter combines knowledge and more than 100 years of experience. Bohinj has always been known for supreme dairy products that are synonymous with Slovenian quality. Why this is the case, we find out a day later when we visit Lucija Gartner at the Odolnek Tourist Farm, where home-milked milk is processed into cheese, exquisite Mohant cheese, butter and albumen curd in the small Gartner Cheese Dairy. Lucija fascinates us with a demonstration of traditional procedures and, even more so, with the story about how, every summer for three months, in accordance with the old herdsmen dairy tradition, they move with their cows to the Alpine dairy farm on the Planina v Lazu mountain plateau at an altitude of 1,600 metres. When we taste their products, it becomes crystal clear why the Hotel Bohinj is also one of their customers. We’ve never before noticed such a difference between a homemade cheese and an industrial product, nor have we known why this difference occurs.

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WOODWEGO_Hotel_Bohinj_

The hotel is proud of its close relationship with the small local farmers from whom they obtain first-class homemade products and produce to be made into supreme dishes and desserts in the hotel kitchen. The Bohinjsko/From Bohinj certificate, which testifies to the authenticity of local ingredients and products, also embellishes a cheesecake made with Mohant cheese, the Bohinj semifreddo, the Bohinj corn bread and dried fruit compote. “Local” is not only reflected in the cuisine, but also in the design and equipment of this architecturally inspiring hotel. The chairs, benches, curtains, upholstery and lights are unique products of Slovenian companies. They were intentionally interpreted in original ways for this hotel. So, the cake is not their only pride and joy and symbol of their connection with the local community, but it’s certainly the sweetest evidence of local identity awareness. Why not experience this identity in greater depth?

THE WARM HOMELINESS OF BOHINJ HOSPITALITY

Only a small piece of cake remains on my plate, and I cannot deny the sheer pleasure of the hospitality and homeliness we are enjoying at this moment. The cake, served in the pleasant natural ambience of the hotel restaurant, is more than just food. It’s a comprehensive experience that, with its intimacy, brings us closer to the spirit of Bohinj. In the world of hotel destinations, hospitality and a feeling of homeliness are the key elements of wellbeing that affect the guest experience. When we feel welcome and accepted, our energy increases, we open up to positive experiences and embrace joy, and … isn’t that why we go on holiday in the first place?

Hospitality is not provided solely by physical comfort, but also the feeling of acceptance and belonging. Homeliness always fills us with the sense of security that we look for subconsciously. Both result in a positive hotel experience we appreciate and remember. The Hotel Bohinj achieves this with architecture, design, content and its people. We’ve never before met such a young, open and chatty staff. They are around 30 years old on average and they share a sincere desire to make their guests feel at home or even better during their stay. Another factor that places this hotel among the best in the country undoubtedly contributes greatly to this …

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ENERGY REVELATION OF SECRET INGREDIENTS

The aroma of the Bohinj cake – and the view from the restaurant of the snow-capped peaks of the highest Slovenian mountains, situated in the middle of the only national park in Slovenia – will take you on a magical journey into surrounding nature. Nature’s touch can also be found in every morsel of this divine cake. The crispy texture evokes the mysterious forest paths intertwined with roots, and the potent chocolate essence is reminiscent of the richness of the local soil. When these flavours come together in the mouth, you feel at the centre of a natural miracle. And you actually are. Bohinj is considered one of the most important energy points in Slovenia. This place activates the energy that aids emotional balance and the acquisition of ideas to resolve challenges. To recharge your personal batteries, walk around the lake in a clockwise direction as we did. How would we describe this experience? To put it simply: we now understand why the people of Bohinj think that they received from God what he had been keeping for himself.

The hotel is situated in the middle of pristine nature and has been planned, built and equipped accordingly. A giant tree trunk is used as the reception desk and from the ceiling hang wooden stalactites reminiscent of those found in the caves above Bohinj. A giant fireplace dividing the reception area and the restaurant is used every evening and no one passes it without being enchanted by the crackling fire. Natural materials were used in the hotel’s interior design and the coverings of the outside walls are made of silvered larch wood, giving it the appearance of a natural patina, while the triangular shape of the roof corresponds with the mountain peaks in the background. The hotel, sited on the natural platform above Lake Bohinj, looks glorious in its noble larch mantle, as though it is sitting on a throne and keeping watch over its Bohinj kingdom, generously awarding its visitors with the energy of this fascinating location.

The cake is now gone. As I collect the crumbs with my finger, broad smiles come over our faces, adding to our expressions of satisfaction. Under the delicious chocolate smeared on the little plate, a sign is revealed that summarises in four words the essence of the philosophy with which the hotel spoils their guests,
“You dessert the best”.

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Why is the Hotel Bohinj one of the TOP 9 Slovenian boutique destinations

One-minute videos of our adventures at the Hotel Bohinj

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