Renovated pools at Karlovy Vary's Hotel Thermal to reopen for film festival

Amid 600 million crowns in renovations, pools at the state-owned landmark will open to the public in time for next weekend's Karlovy Vary film fest.

ČTK

Written by ČTK Published on 15.08.2021 14:30 (updated on 15.08.2021) Reading time: 2 minutes

Reconstructed swimming pools at the landmark state-owned Hotel Thermal will open to the public this Thursday, on the eve of the prestigious Karlovy Vary International Film Festival, Prime Minister Andrej Babiš told journalists during his visit to the city on Saturday.

Babiš said he spoke to the hotel's owner, who promised that they would meet the deadline. The pools were originally supposed to reopen this weekend, on the occasion of the Prime Minister's arrival, carried out within his campaign before the October general election.

During the visit, Babiš signed copies of his new book, titled Share before they ban it! Opponents pointed out the the government had promised on social networks that the swimming pools would open by this weekend.

"That is correct, but the situation on the building market is such that some material did not arrive. Therefore it should instead be opened on Thursday. Much ado even though it is no tragedy," Babiš said.

Hotel Thermal in Karlovy Vary. Photo: iStock / letty17
Hotel Thermal in Karlovy Vary. Photo: iStock / letty17

The Prime Minister added that the state has invested 600 million crowns into Hotel Thermal, as it considers it an iconic monument of Karlovy Vary. The government decided that the hotel will not be privatized and the state will retain ownership, Babiš said, noting that it should eventually become profitable.

The whole reconstruction is guided by very strict conditions and under time pressure, Babiš added, saying that it is good news that the hotel will be reconstructed after so many years.

"Nobody took care of it for decades," said Karlovy Vary Mayor Andrea Pfeffer Ferklová, who is also a member of the hotel's board. She added that the reconstruction also covers rooms from the 10th to 15th floors, and the hotel will be able to provide a higher standard with conference and meeting rooms as well as wellness spaces.

"The reconstruction will run through the end of 2022," Pfeffer Ferklová said, stressing the importance of state ownership.

The Prime Minister's visit to Karlovy Vary outraged Jan Kuchař, mayor of the nearby town of Františkovy Lázně, who called for protests on social networks. Local supporters of the Million Moments for Democracy movement backed him.

"When I see some 200 police members around us and I imagine his campaign is financed in the same way as his business, I truly do not like it," Kuchař told CTK.

He added that people should remember of the stance Babiš adopted towards the region during the coronavirus pandemic.

"We were the worst off, he isolated us there with the military and the police," Kuchař  said, adding that Babiš allegedly banned mayors in the area from negotiating for help with German hospitals.

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