The hill town of Banská Štiavnica is off the main tourist path in the mountains of central Slovakia. Despite being remote, the town has played a transformative role in history of the world. No other town has contributed more to development of the mining industry. Perched on the corner just below the Mining Academy on Banska Stiavnica’s main street is the dignified Penzion Cosmopolitan II inn. The Cosmopolitan II is the preferred address for visiting royalty who come to the region.
Like visiting royalty, we chose the Penzion Cosmopolitan II for our stay in Banska Stiavnica. And like royalty, we also stayed in the grand Royal Suite – a massive three room suite that occupies the entire second floor of the hotel. And like royalty, we drank delicious Slovakian wine while we relaxed in our room. This is the kind of life we could get used to!
The Cosmopolitan actually has three distinct inns in Banska Stiavnica. On our first night, we walked down the hill to the Penzion Cosmopolitan I for dinner in their restaurant. We were expecting to dine on traditional Slovak cuisine. We were completely unprepared for an explosive six-course tasting menu of dishes rooted in Slovak heritage, but leaping into world cuisine. At times, the chef was playful in the use of the ingredients. We started with a “steak” of veal tartar that had a light citrus flavor before enjoying roasted plums with bacon and brandy (a duo of the sweet and the savory). Since we were in season, the soup was frothy pumpkin cream with “croutons” of seared tuna. The fish course was a Barramundi with sage, fava beans and grapefruit sauce, followed by a meat course of veal and venison in a tarragon butter sauce with traditional Slovak potatoes. A dark chocolate tart with strawberry mousse completed the evening. The meal was deliciously decadent and everything a visiting royal could want. After dinner, we thought about making use of the bowling alley downstairs, but were too tired. Yes, the Cosmopolitan I has a bowling alley in it!
But perhaps the most unique aspect of the Cosmopolitan II is the mine. All of the hills around Banska Stiavnica are riddled with mines. Access to the mines was through horizontal tunnels that connect to the vertical shafts. These access tunnels were essentially built into the basements of buildings in the town – including the Penzion Cosmopolitan II. Just behind the reception desk, the hotel has created a wine vault in what was once one of the mine access tunnels. Continuing through the wine vault, visitors can enter a small section of the actual mine tunnel, which has been turned into an art gallery. This is probably one of the world’s most unique art galleries anywhere.
The Penzion Cosmpolitan II makes the perfect base to explore the region. We spent one day visiting the Slovak Mining Museum and learning about this town’s contributions to that industry and why it is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We also visited the nearby Kupele Sklene Teplica spa – a Communist-era wellness center that has a hot springs cave. This is easily the most unique hot springs we’ve ever visited in the world.
The Restaurant: There is not an on-site restaurant at Penzion Cosmpolitan II, however, the restaurant Cosmopolitan in the sister hotel (Penzion Cosmopolitan I) is a short walk down the hill. We dined there on our first night and it was excellent.
The Concierge: The hotel has helpful staff that all speak English. They were willing to jump in and help, even when we had a minor accident (Laura sprained her ankle on the stone sidewalks).
The Rooms: The Royal Suite at the Penzion Cosmopolitan is a large grand room. Located just off the breakfast room, it occupies nearly the entire second floor. Entering the Royal Suite, there is a private dining room (which has a mini-fridge), dining table and a crib for a baby. To the right is the bathroom. To the left is the large Grand Bedroom. The bedroom has a small sitting table, three different couches and an alcove with 270 degree views of Banska Stiavnica. The room is decorated in red with wood paneling and oil paintings – fit for a king!
The WiFi: The room had wifi service.
The Television: There was a large TV in the main bedroom opposite the bed. There was also a DVD player and supply of DVDs to watch, but they were all in Slovak.
The Bathroom: The Royal Suite had a large bathroom with a vaulted ceiling, sitting chair, dual sinks and a large soaker bathtub with a hand-held shower head. The hotel provides plush robes and slippers for guests.
The Cost: Rooms at the Penzion Cosmopolitan II start at €50. We stayed in The Royal Suite, which is €196 per night. (Check current prices here.)
The Location: The Penzion Cosmopolitan II is located right in the center of Banska Stiavnica on the corner of Andreja Kmeta (the main road) and Akademicka. This puts the hotel in close proximity to restaurants, shops and the cultural sites in town.
The Transportation: The hotel can arrange transportation for guests. The hotel is best reached via private car and there is parking in a small, private parking lot just 100 feet up the hill on Akademicka Road. If arriving by public transportation, the town is serviced by buses from Zvolen, where train connections are available.
The Airport Transfer: The town of Banska Stiavnica is exactly equal distance from the Budapest, Hungary International Airport (BUD) and the Bratislava, Slovakia Airport (BTS). These airports are 102 miles from Banska Stiavnica.
In the small town of Banska Stiavnica, the grand address for visiting royalty is the Penzion Cosmopolitan II. We loved our time relaxing like aristocrats in this charming medieval village.
We were the grateful guests of the Slovak Tourist Board and the Penzion Cosmopolitan. As always, all opinions and photography are our own. Note: Some links may be affiliate links, which means Travel Addicts may earn a few pennies if you buy something, which helps offset our costs of web hosting – all at no additional cost to you.