These articles were published in the Spectacular Slovakia travel guide, published annually by The Slovak Spectator since 1996. The latest editions can be obtained from our online shop.


By James Thomson

Kaštieľ Duchonka is a former village manor house constructed in the 1930s in Duchonka, now a holiday resort area around a man-made lake near Topoľčany (Nitra Region).

It would be hard to describe the interior reconstruction which followed as sympathetic. But the exterior is nice enough, and the grounds have tennis courts, a large barbecue and outdoor-dining area, and a small forest of mature trees.

Its current owner, the Slovak Interior Ministry, seems in recent years to have invested little in the property.

This has its advantages and disadvantages. The décor is - no bones about it - hideous. The principal furnishing materials are velour and medium-density fibreboard. Its friendly and resourceful manager, the redoubtable Mrs Grznárová, who is keen to show potential guests around and is completely honest about the place's drawbacks, says she contributed her own living room carpet to re-cover the reception area floor.

The upside is that accommodation can be had here for an astonishing €10 per night - full board (room only is even cheaper). It will not, needless to say, be the fine-dining experience on offer at Chateau Béla. But at these prices it would also be hard to quibble.

These articles and related information were published in Spectacular Slovakia 2009, which you can obtain from our online shop.

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