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A few days at Mövenpick BalaLand and you’ll feel like you have been on a trip around the world!

  • Francisck Réka Alíz
We talked to Gergely Blaske, Deputy Hotel Manager of the Mövenpick BalaLand Resort Lake Balaton, built as a result of the investment of the Dreamland Holding tourism real estate development group and operated by the Accor international hotel industry group.
We talked to Gergely Blaske, Deputy Hotel Manager of the Mövenpick BalaLand Resort Lake Balaton, built as a result of the investment of the Dreamland Holding tourism real estate development group and operated by the Accor international hotel industry group.

BalaLand, BalaLand. My child chanted this word for minutes, humming and cooing, singing it. And when she saw photos of what the melodious name meant, she said: “We must go there!” For my four-year-old daughter, it is no coincidence that the “house” was so successful, since it was opened with the aim of capturing the hearts of children and families. According to Gergely Blaske, hotel manager of Mövenpick BalaLand Resort Lake Balaton, it is a paradise for kindergarten and school children, but at the same time, it can impress both couples looking for romance and adults looking for relaxation with its extremely diverse services.

Spacious hotel rooms with a Caribbean atmosphere, fabulous panoramic view of Lake Balaton, FamilyPark with a miniature railway, a play house, a private beach, a huge playground inviting you to play exciting games, BalaLand all year round – we can read on the hotel’s website. What has been your experience of the first six months or so, has the complex found its audience?

Absolutely. The hotel is the first property of the premium Accor brand Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts in Hungary and the first international five-star resort at Lake Balaton. Located just 100 metres away, the 10,000 square metre family park is unique in Europe and is open all year round – with the aim of making Lake Balaton a place to visit not just in the summer months. It is no coincidence that we think opening it is a milestone in local hospitality and tourism. It is also no coincidence that we offer our guests not only the active, cultural and gastronomic programmes of Szántód, but also the wider region: in addition to the numerous water sports, the fully developed cycle path around the lake, the well-equipped bike centres and BB365 ports, as well as the e-bike rental service are very popular with families. Since we are close to the ferry port connecting the two shores of Lake Balaton, it is easy to plan a wine-tasting excursion to Badacsony, but we also offer hiking tours, horse riding, golf and even hot air ballooning in the area.

Speaking of hot air balloons: why was this theme of 80 Days Around the World chosen?

Well, it’s a common misconception that in Jules Verne’s novel, the protagonist Willy Fogg also travelled in a hot air balloon – perhaps it was one of the countless film versions in which this happened. He did, however, travel by steamship and transcontinental train, a groundbreaking innovation at the time. This was the era after the Age of Discovery, when it became possible for a wider range of people to actually travel around the world, and was in fact the first step towards global tourism. We can see this as a metaphor: in addition to boosting domestic tourism, we also need to boost international tourism. What’s more, 80 Days Around the World is a really rewarding theme, because it can be expressed from the aspect of both gastronomy and design. By the way, most of Dreamland’s hotels have a special theme – just think of the Fabulous Shiraz in Egerszalók and the Bambara in Felsőtárkány.

Where and how exactly do the elements of the novel come back?

The FamilyPark is built entirely along these lines, but we have also spiced up the Caribbean-colonial design of our rooms. The bar of the hotel evokes the London Reform Club of the novel – where Willy Fogg and his French valet Passepartout set off on their journey and returned.

The F&B concept is also clearly built around this theme, following Fogg’s stops in history from France to Suez, Beijing, San Francisco, Yokohama and London, and thus featuring Arabic, American, Asian and French cuisine. We also take into account allergies and the eating habits of those with a healthy lifestyle, and have a permanent repertoire for the little ones in the children’s snack bar, which is centrally located. With our foreign guests in mind, we have also created a Hungarian corner, where they can try a goulash soup or even a veal paprikash. If you visit our shop, you will find the novel in several languages by Verne, who, by the way, according to UNESCO’s records, has been one of the most translated authors for decades, with his works published in 148 languages. I assume that being here inspires many people to read as well, because our stock is dwindling very nicely.

Is it worth adding more programmes to this very wide range of topics?

There’s always a new dish, a new programme for the holidays – it is almost expected in this industry. Currently there will be special Halloween decorations, a costume party, arts and crafts and ghost-shaped chocolate hunts. The animators often hold sessions, and their work is often complemented by multilingual troupes and performers – something that will certainly happen during the autumn break and the festive season.

The family park is not just for hotel guests, is it?

Yes, the FamilyPark also welcomes outside visitors. The family wellness area with its water slide empire and outdoor water playground, indoor and outdoor adventure pools, Jacuzzi, spectacular panoramic sauna, steam bath and salt room have all proved very popular. Already in the month after the opening, in May, we had to put out the “FULL” board from time to time. We have limited the maximum capacity to 550 people, which ensures a liveable and enjoyable environment.