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Lwigród pension which later became a destination spa was built in Krynica in the 1920’s. The idea and decision to build Lwigród was taken by the Private Officers’ Retirement and Insurance Fund having its seat in Lwów (now Lviv in Ukraine). The name of our centre comes from the name of the city (literally: ‘the city of lions’). The fund was first a mutual assistance and later an insurance association. There was a contest for the design of the pension. Among the number of proposals two were selected and awarded prises: one design by Eugeniusz Czerwiński and one by Witold Minkiewicz, both of whom were eminent architects and academics from Lwów Technical University. The construction was completed by 1928 with an impressive effect. Krynica got enriched with a grandiose, beautiful building in the Neo-Renaissance/Classicist style. The monumental structure permanently dominated the new spa district of Krynica of the 1930s. The pension was treated as an investment and it was planned to be highly prestigious in order to draw many distinguished guests from Poland and abroad. Lwigród could host 200 guests in comfortable rooms. The atmosphere of the place was guaranteed by the interior decor whose chief element was paintings. The work was commissioned to two outstanding painters of that time: Kazimierz Sichulski and Filip Michał Wygrzywalski. Lwigród was embellished with a number of their works, including a series of 14 pictures portraying the history of dance which hang in the grand ballroom. In the interwar period, after a few years’ conversion works, in 1934 Lwigród was opened as a destination spa of the Social Insurance Institution (ZUS). At that time the building was perceived as having very high spa and treatment standards. It housed the only operating theatre in Krynica, and provided permanent care by doctors, including a cardiologist and a gynaecologist. During World War II Lwigród was overexploited which led to its gradual degradation. Only in 1947 after extensive renovation works it was opened as a destination spa of the Social Insurance Institution. Then it came under the management of the Krynica-Żegiestów Spa and became its hospital. It had specialist wards caring for diabetics and patients with urological, gastrological and gynaecological problems. Unfortunately, years of exploitation without proper maintenance and renovations caused the building to be closed in 1980. Renovation works were dragging on for over 20 years without coming to an end as the building was gradually becoming a ruin. Only in 2005 it was acquired by a new owner who completed its refurbishment while keeping with its historical character and atmosphere. Lwigród once again provides health and good memories to its guests. It history continues to be written now, by all of us together.



Lwigród was described in mass media for the first time in the Światowid magazine (No. 4 of 1929, special edition dedicated to Krynica-Zdrój). The article reads as follows:


Krynica was recently given an especially grand-world nature by the enormous Lwigród Hotel-Pension erected by the Lesser Poland Clerical Workers’ Insurance Institution.

This multi-storey building has over 200 rooms with balconies, furnished with great comfort, electric lighting, central heating, light signalling system, water supply and sewers, hot and cold running water, a radio in every room, own phone station, spa bath rooms, mechanical lifts, own mechanical laundry, automobiles, a grand piano for exercise, splendid dining and dancing rooms with wonderful paintings by Professor Wygrzywalski, a reading room, an enormous hall embellished with paintings by K. Sichulski, salons for social meetings, etc.

The hotel has been built last year following a design by a Professor of the Lwów Technical University, Eugeniusz Czerwiński. 

An interesting account of the building is also given by Przewodnik zdrojowo-turystyczny (Spa and Tourism Guide) of 1934. It reads as follows under the heading of ‘PENSIONS AND VILLAS IN KRYNICA’:

Lwigród Hotel-Pension

In the first place among the many pensions charmingly located in the Spa City of Krynica also called the pearl of Polish waters is undoubtedly Lwigród Hotel-Pension, the biggest in all Poland, open throughout the year.

Lwigród Hotel-Pension is located near the new baths, furnished with full comfort according to the newest rules of hygiene and the latest technical inventions, it has numerous social rooms, luxury apartments and sunny rooms, it is comfortable and elegantly furnished, with central heating, in each room there is running hot and cold water, a telephone and a radio.

Lwigród has its own permanent orchestra, a beautifully embellished and spacious dancing room, a stylishly furnished dining room, a library, a reading room, electrical lifts, automobiles and garages. In the building there are a restaurant and a café and a hairdresser’s for gentlemen and for ladies.

It has ca. 200 rooms to fit nearly 300 people, the maintenance is exquisite and the service is first-class and diligent.


History lovers may also read a beautiful article by Mr Rafał Żebrowski [Lwigród – the lost decorum] which was published by Almanach Muszyny. Unfortunately, we do not have the article translated into English.



All our guests in Lwigród were, are and will be important. Among those who were best known we can mention the eminent Polish actor and theatre director Krzysztof Kolberger who came to Lwigród many times for treatment. Another famed person who liked to visit our building was priest Karol Wojtyła who later became known as Pope John Paul II. According official records, he stayed at Lwigród twice, in 1957 and 1958 – as witnessed by the certified copy of the parish records shown below. However, there were a number of unofficial visits, as described in a letter sent to us by Mr Andrzej Heydel. The translation of the letter is also given below. 

Poznań, 16 VIII 2013


Madam Director

Maria Golba

Lwigród Spa

in Krynica


Distinguished Madam Director,

I have kind memories of the hospitality I received from you and others while I visited shortly in July. I was satisfied that the management commemorated the stay of priest Karol Wojtyła under Lwigród’s roof. I attach materials, memories confirming that fact.

Priest Karol Wojtyła was not a spa patient, he stayed ‘plainclothes’ as a tourist, in summer and winter, for 1 to 3 nights.

My mother Wanda Heydel, with the permission of the manager of rooms at the spa, the head nurse madam Helena Wójtowicz, located Him in a spare room on the 5th floor. Only the two persons knew that a priest was staying there. Of course, after nearly 60 years we are unable to indicate the number of that room.

My mother as an employee had a service room (no. 401 on the 4th floor, which is now after the building had been refurbished room no. 501 on the 5th floor). She used to invite priest Karol Wojtyła to that room for breakfasts and suppers.

He regularly visited the church whose parish priest was Antoni Wojewoda – hence his presence was recorded in the parish register, the copy of which is now being shown in the destination spa’s hall.

I would be most happy if this information broadens the knowledge about the presence of the then future pope, and soon hopefully a saint, in Lwigród which is so close to my heart.

Please accept, madam, expressions of my highest respect,

Andrzej Heydel


We would be grateful for any information you might have about the history of Lwigród. Should you know similar stories or have old photos of our building, please contact us. We continue to create and witness our history, now. The history which has already been should be described for ourselves and for those who will yet come to read about it.

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