The Art of Creating a Village
Let's start with a little of mathematics. How do you build a village? Well, it takes a special equation to build it. There has to be one house first, then another one and more to follow. And it's not only about the buildings, it's about the people as well. There has to be a reason why these people form a village together. The reason might be nature, infra-structure, interesting places around or just a very good accessibility of big towns, airports, train stations and harbors. All of that is true for Hotel Village Balatura. But the reason why one little hotel grew into a whole hotel village is a bit more complicated. And it has a lot to do with the people in it.
So first, there are Anne-Kathrin and Gordan Godec. They are both builders. But they are building in completely different realms. Whereas Gordan - who is a journalist, too - rebuilt and created throughout the years a lot of houses in this valley and turned into an expert of architecture and rural design, Anne-Kathrin built imaginative worlds in books and projects and connected to the literature domains and community of the region. That's how the property of Hotel Balatura became a real place AND a metaphor, a holiday home for literature (in the first place), music, art in general and a virtual and physical place for all kinds of events.
In 14 years of Hotel Balatura's existence there were many, many regular hotel guests and lots of artists passing by. There were reading events, festivals, concerts, public conversations and a lot more. The hotel's program is nowadays focused on workshops, seminars, yoga retreats and summer schools while still offering space for individual tourists.
And then the magic started to happen: there were some few, very special hotel guests who decided to add some buildings to the hotel. All of them love the place, the architecture and the content, all of them are - deeply in their souls - artists or at least art lovers. And all of them have there special visions for a place like this.
They individually bought abandoned houses or ruins in the neighborhood of the hotel, and re-constructed them together with Gordan to make sure that the structure would fit into the spirit of Hotel Balatura. Each house brings a benefit for the whole, that's how Balatura got a pool, a wonderful workshop space for cooking schools and a seminar house.
Daniel Bindernagel is the oldest friend of Hotel Balatura and gave us now what the hotel needed most as a place for retreats, yoga and workshops: a seminar house. At home in Switzerland Daniel is a child and adolescent psychiatrist For many years he is engaged in the subject of idiolectics, a method for conducting conversations (check it out, it's fascinating!), organising conferences and publishing books around that subject together with other practitioners.
The seminar house, better known as "Dom kultura", has a small and a big hall for any kind of group activity, and a fantastic roof terrace with a view. It will be great for all workshops, but yoga and dance will profit the most - there's a lot of space in the sun-flooded halls.
Ricarda Martens and Gerhard May joined us many years ago for a music workshop and came back (to us and Marko's music) over and over again. In her other reality far away from Croatia Ricarda is a pharmacist and Gerhard is a publisher. But when they come here they seem to switch realities. While Ricarda is always engaged in some kind of sewing-knitting-drawing artwork, Gerhard's guitar play, his harmonica sound and especial his sonorous voice float in the corners of our hotel.
Together with the house and the 6 new rooms they gifted Balatura with a long-awaited benefit: a swimming pool. Furthermore the construction of their house will soon offer a great exhibition hall for artwork. Another new attribute which will enable the hotel to seriously enter in the world of visual arts.
Elisabeth de Ahna and Jörg Weimann are based in Berlin. Elisabeth is an architect with a passion for vegan food. But she is not only cooking with her vegan ingredients, she turns them into art and makes stunning photographs. Jörg is chief physician of the anesthesia department and intensive care station in a Berlin hospital. He is a very experienced and grounded person and one of the best conversation partners for deep philosophical questions we know. Their house has an apartment and two rooms and the former carpentry workshop is turned into a spacious place for cooking seminars. And there is still room for a large gallery to hang out, read and smell what the group is cooking down below. (And be the first to taste it!)
Our son Matija Godec is the "chef de salle" at Hotel Balatura. He takes care of all our guests during the dinner and lunch time. But he is an entertainer, too. And probably the person best dressed in our hotel... Attentive, funny and the number one eye candy!
Nada Vidović has the title "Lordess of Balatura". She controls everything, does everything, knows everything... She is in every detail of our house! She'll find the thing you've lost, she'll bake the chocolate cake you desperately need. Be nice, she's important!
Tanja Ratković is our chef de cuisine. She creates stunning, yummy meals with a lot of love. And that's the difference to any other cook you could go to. There is nothing better than the taste of love!
Konstantin Haag is a famous actor now. For many years he worked at Hotel Balatura. And he comes back to act as a waiter, too... Because, the world is his stage wherever he goes anyways...
Ivanka Juričić grows all the plants we eat at Hotel Balatura. She has a fantastic garden, only a few kilometres from us, which fulfills all our needs. Her goats give us milk and cheese, her chicken eggs. And Ivanka shows us that working with nature makes a human being beautiful, relaxed and positive. In bad times we just wish to be one of her carrots or plants...
While you are sitting, sleeping and dining in our hotel, there has to be one good soul that keeps the software going. Our youngest son Maksim Godec takes care of the computer tasks, the billing system and, yes, sometimes he welcomes guests as well.
The most important thing, the hardware of the house so to say, the walls, and rooms, and bath tubs, and everything that needs to be cared of or repaired - that's Ratko Baretić's realm. Without him- seriously - this house would be a complete mess. Having someone like Ratko is simply a gift from heaven.
Matija Šašić is the friendliest, quietest and most heartwarming mindful waiter you can imagine. His energy during dinner time makes Balatura a really peaceful place. Just wonderful!
Marko Jovanović is the music director of Hotel Balatura. He fills our house with his pupils and thrills our audience with his music. His incredible harp sound fills every corner of Balatura. That's one of the reasons everyone feels so great here...
Our son Luka Godec is our photographer and video director. He is the chronicler of our hotel and, yes, sometimes our waiter, barkeeper and cleaning man. In fact, he is our shooting star (in every sense of the word).
Kristina and and our oldest son Nikolas Haag: Many years these two had a great impact on Hotel Balatura. They met at Balatura's, they worked at Balatura's and they are now married because of Balatura's! ;) They moved away, but they are always in our hearts.