Hotel Maestoso is situated on the edge of Lipica Stud Farm. After precisely fifty years since its construction, the hotel has finally gotten a well-deserved renovation. Amidst this summer, the hotel shone in a new, bold and unique look, thus bestowing the offer of this exceptional tourist gem, a favourite among event organisers. The hotel’s offer is a welcome addition to the already well-developed incentive offer. The tradition of raising Lipizzaner horses, spanning over 440 years, is recognised as one of Slovenia’s most prominent staples of cultural heritage. Marvelling at the breathtaking view of Lipizzaner horses grazing at one of the most iconic Slovenian meeting destinations will be etched into the memory of your event attendees.
The quickest way to reach the estate stretching 300 hectares is by taking the highway to Sežana, from where you only need around five kilometres of picturesque paths to reach the estate. Guests arriving by car will appreciate the well-organised parking lot. Lipica is almost entirely accessible and adapted to the physically disabled. A novelty introduced this year are electric bicycles that will help you explore the estate. You will have to organise transportation for guests arriving at the nearby airports in Trieste and Venice that offer a great alternative to Ljubljana Airport. An intriguing sustainable alternative is to take the train to Divača and then opt for organised transportation to Lipica.
COLD STARTER - Architecture and aesthetics
The bare and exposed structural elements of the building, i.e., the industrial design, is the silver lining of Hotel Maestoso. An alluring facade dominates the exterior, reminiscing Lipica’s legendary white fences. The bare walls, visible ductwork and pipelines add further appeal to the visual look. They are complemented by intriguing details correlating to Lipica’s history, such as the barn-inspired wooden sliding doors. Warm wooden flooring and select design furniture soften the minimalistic and ascetically cold concrete background. Architects from the architectural bureau Enota embedded dramatical additions in the restaurant and the reception by featuring a curious lounge chair that reminisces haystacks. It seems that the form and the function are equally important in Hotel Maestoso. The challenge that occurs with industrial design, nonetheless, is most commonly lack of consistency. A detail here and there appears unfinished at the moment. Nevertheless, I do not doubt the management will take care of such trivialities.
WARM ENTRÉE - The staff and the culinary experience
Similarly to politics, in the hotel industry, one must wait around 100 days for a hotel team to start functioning as a team. On that note, the hotel still needs some time, even though individuals are already standing out. One of them that appears to be a true ambassador of the hotel is the professional and charismatic waiter in the Gratia Restaurant. The gastronomic offer is original and features local elements, accompanied by a superb wine list. Breakfast can be described as classic, with no drawbacks apart from the absence of local Karst products. The entire offer missed some of the typical local dishes that could become the hotel’s signature, worth making a detour for. Gastronomy is where the hotel team still has plenty of room for improvement.
MAIN COURSE – The meetings offering at the hotel
The hotel rooms are a good case practice of using every square metre. By rearranging the room, separating the shower and toilet whilst setting the bathroom into the centre, the architects made efficient use of the space. The room is optically enlarged by the welcoming balcony. Otherwise, the room is, similarly to the lobby, peeled to its core, namely the concrete ceiling, floor and walls. Conceptually, the industrial furniture featuring oak wood and net patterns are in line with the overall image. Together with the vintage lounger and pleasant lighting, the room oozes the image of modernity and minimalism. Lovers of classic hotel glamour, though, will not be amazed. Overall, the rooms boast a modern design that will, hopefully, stand the test of time.
The central congress space is the multifunctional hall dividable into multiple halls, named after Lipizzaner sire lines. Conversano, a fitting name for the congress centre, is a renowned sire line of studs. The hall can capacitate up to 300 participants, whereas we estimate the optimum size is for congress groups for up to 160 participants. The congress centre is adequately equipped, and the industrial design appears warm, modern and urban. Upon our next visit, we will see how comfortable the elegant wooden chairs are. Given the gorgeous nature of this natural monument, one would expect that the architects placed the hall more in contact with nature.
DESSERT – The extras
Experiencing the 440-year-old tradition of the stud farm through various programmes is the hotel’s most noticeable added value. Some of the options include riding in a carriage, horse whispering, equestrian school and whatnot. The teambuilding list of activities is long and so unique that it cannot be found anywhere else in Slovenia and the region.
FLOP – NEGATIVE SURPRISES
The rooms seem to be lacking the space for a nightstand. Lighting cannot be managed centrally, which is rather irritating. Moreover, several lighting elements are placed rather awkwardly. The main drawback, though, is the rather cold atmosphere caused by the cold concrete floor that can be an advantage in the summer or a not-too-pleasant experience in the winter.
TOP – POSITIVE SURPRISES
The estate, spanning 300 hectares, is full of outdoor surprises, where you can invite your attendees to a picnic or simply decide to organise an event in nature.
FINAL IMPRESSION AND CREDIBILITY
Event organisers have welcomed Hotel Maestoso with open arms. Such a hotel has long been missing, and we do not doubt that our colleagues from Italy, just a shot away from the hotel, will be glad of the new hotel. The hotel is function-and-space-wise extremely practical and useful, also for organising events. The inviting and spacious public space is outstanding. I admit I am a fan of industrial design, albeit it might not be every event organiser’s cup of tea. Truth be told, industrial design is trending worldwide, and we have come across similar stories throughout the region. Undoubtedly, though, the hotel’s management has some way to go. For starters, the promised wellness centre should be completed promptly. The culinary offer is on the right path, and we believe event organisers will appreciate this. If the hotel seemed to be an alien before the renovation, a thorough renovation has altered it entirely. Hotel Maestoso fits in with Lipica’s story and image and eagerly awaits to be discovered by international event organisers.
FINAL GRADE: 4.75 SILVER Resort Meeting Hotel
GOLD final score from 4.81 to 5.00
SILVER final score from 4.61 to 4.80
BRONZE final score from 4.41 to 4.60