From a local pub to a bohemian salon
It was Ivan's father Valentin Mrak who bought a local pub, and moved it to the present hotel location. As it was close to the archaeological excavations of the Roman wall, he decided to call it the “Old Roman Guesthouse”.
Well-known for the excellent Slovenian traditional cuisine and a relaxed atmosphere, it soon became a household name in the local art community, attracting writers, painters, architects, professors, and actors alike.
Dance parties, gatherings and various literary meetings were hosted in a room with vaulted ceilings, which led to the magnificent garden known as “salon”. Even the first meeting of the Slovenian National Government in 1918 was held in there. In 1916 “Old Roman Guesthouse” changed its name to “Pri Mraku Guesthouse«, which later became a hotel.
Staff of Hotel Mrak in early 20th century.
The charismatic and free spirited artist
Ivan Mrak was both charismatic and mysterious. He was quiet and reserved yet self-confident, with an extraordinary ability to attract people. In his work he focused on hymnal tragedies with a complex, somewhat patronizing style. He was considered a great individualist, deeply infatuated with the power of his art. He lived and worked also in Paris, Prague, Munich and Zagreb.
Ivan Mrak with his sister Draga.
He resisted established social norms and was recognized as a symbol of freedom and a rebel. He lived in the hotel with his muse, painter Karla Bulovec Mrak, who was 11 years his senior. Their relationship, however, was purely platonic as Mrak was one of the first Slovenians who was openly gay.
Karla Bulovec Mrak (1895-1957).
Since 2016, the property is owned by the Kuharič family. With careful renovation they transformed it into a contemporary hotel, which still respects the building's rich history and cultural heritage.
Ms Nina Kuharič, General Manager, describes her favourite part of the hotel:
The garden today.
»There's a 200 years old grapevine, which still to this day gives shade and a very special lure to the place. In warm and sunny weather we use the garden to serve breakfast and drinks. By prior arrangement, lunch and dinners can also be served outside and private bookings are possible. Each September we organize an event we look forward to the entire year: the traditional harvesting. The garden really calms me down, I'm deepy appreciative of this part of the property!«
Visit www.hotelmrak.si for more!