The Slovenia Times

Russian energy giant sells Pohorje hotel

Hotel Habakuk in the Maribor area. Photo: Andreja Seršen Dobaj/STA

The Russian energy giant Gazprom has recently sold a hotel at the foot of the Pohorje Massif near Maribor to the Ljubljana-based company Metalka Commerce. A German-owned company has taken over as the new manager.

Hotel Habakuk is the only 4-star superior hotel in the Maribor area. According to the newspaper Večer, its ownership recently passed to Metalka Commerce, which also owns the Vinag wine cellar in Maribor.

After the change of ownership, the German-owned company Artana took over on 1 June as the new manager of the hotel, pledging to maintain the high level of quality the partly renovated facility provides.

Speaking to reporters on 26 June, Audun Lekve, director of Artana and director general of the German group 1912-Hotels, described Hotel Habakuk as "one of the most beautiful facilities I have seen in many years".

Happy that its new owner is a local company, he could not yet speak about specific plans or possible changes since the management is still getting the lay of the land.

"It is important to understand where we are before we plan to make changes if they are necessary," he said. They will be able to say more as they mark the hotel's 50th anniversary later this year.

The German group 1912-Hotels is present in a number of countries, including Germany, the UK, Spain and Denmark. Hotel Habakuk is their first venture into the Slovenian market.

Dejan Podgoršek, director of 1912-Hotels Slovenia, said that they planned to continue developing conference and sports tourism and were open to many other possibilities.

"We want the hotel to become a starting point for exploring Maribor and the region," he said, adding that Slovenia's second largest city was not sufficiently appreciated as a tourist destination.

The former Russian owner partly renovated the hotel, which is why the facility was closed for a while, and the new owner plans to finish the project.

The hotel, which has been in business again for the last two years, has 137 rooms, a swimming pool, a wellness centre and a gym, and employs around 60 staff.

"Our goal is to make sure this hotel stays the best one in Maribor. In my opinion it is one of the best three in Slovenia," said Lekve, who sees opportunities in cooperation with Vinag.

Hotel Habakuk was the last remaining hotel owned by Terme Maribor, a Gazprom-owned company that used to be the largest accommodation provider in the Maribor area.


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