Luxury palace hotel wins Historic Hotels of Europe award for its ‘enchanting parkland, gorgeously-furnished rooms and fascinating history’
Located within 50 kilometres of Bydgoszcz, a spectacular palace has been named a winner in the latest edition of the Historic Hotels of Europe Awards after being recognised as the best new entrant to the competition.
Renovated just four-years ago, Komierowo Palace finished in the top spot ahead of Ireland’s Blue Haven Hotel, and the Hotel Chesa Grischuna in Klosters, Switzerland.
Described as “charming” by the panel, the justification continued by adding that the palace “now offers a five-star standard combined with the atmosphere of a traditional gentry’s residence.”
The organisation added: “With enchanting parkland and gorgeously-furnished rooms festooned with Art Deco elements, it has a fascinating history featuring knights, royalty and noble families. It’s quite the all-rounder.”
Framed by 16 hectares of greenery, and set close to one of the country’s largest pine forest, the Komierowski family were first gifted the land by the Czech Princess Doubravka, the wife of the 10th century Prince Mieszko I, due to the devoted service of Sobiesław Bossuta in the royal entourage.
As the years went by, the Bossuta clan assumed the name of Komierowski after the land they lived on. Residing in the area for nearly 1,000 years, according to historian Maciej Rydel no other Polish dynasty held its land for longer.
Largely, that continuity has been credited to an unusual family rule that saw the estate inherited not by the oldest son, but by the youngest – others would have to seek their income from other outside sources, and this prevented the fragmentation of the estate.
Moreover, it led to the family increasing the land in their ownership due to the need to marry neighbours and forge wider links.
Prominent through history, the family partook in the royal elections that led to the coronations of Augustus II, Stanislaus Leszczyński and Stanislaus Augustus Poniatowski.
Yet this was not their only contribution – because of the family rules requiring older males to seek their own fortune, the Komierowski line bristles with stories. Jan and Julian Komierowski, for example, were granted Poland’s highest military decoration for their role in the 1830-1831 November Uprising.
Jan Wacław Komierowski (a.k.a. Wacław Pomian), was a prolific poet and literary translator, whilst Ludomir Komierowski served as a diplomat in the Vatican, Milan, Rome and Monaco. Joining the French resistance, he was later imprisoned in Berlin for his wartime heroics.
It is little surprise, therefore, that the palace itself reflects the colourful nature of the family.
First constructed in 1680, it originally took the form of a Baroque mansion. Modifications though were to be fast and furious and at the turn of the 19th and 20th century it was lent a Neo Gothic style.
This was not the end. Between 1924 and 1929 it was to gain its final look thanks to the endeavours of architect Adam Ciborowski.
Commissioned by Tomasz Komierowski, it was then that the palace took on its current Classicist and Neo Baroque appearance.
Judged by history as the last Komierowski to own the palace, Tomasz was shot by the Nazis in the first month of the war.
Thereafter, the palace’s outbuildings were reputedly used an internment camp for Poles. Thoroughly looted by the Germans, the palace’s rich collections were decimated, with books and artwork dating from the 15th century stolen.
Neither did the end of the war bring much respite. Nationalised, it served as a work centre for prisoners, and later as a state farm and horse riding school.
By the time the Iron Curtain was swept back, it was a pale shadow of its former self – a sad, decrepit shell of what it once was.
The last heir to the property, Andrzej Komierowski, died in 1994 having been unable to reacquire his rightful land, and he was buried in the local cemetery.
However, a few years later the palace was purchased from the Treasury by other descendants hailing from the family’s Mazovian line.
Wrecked by vandals and looking more like a ruin, the family was denied public funds for its renovation and, instead, duly launched their own tender restoration.
Now returned to its best, this award is a validation of their efforts.