150 years ago, the Pupp brothers heralded the golden age of the Pupp Hotel

150 years ago, the Pupp brothers heralded the golden age of the Pupp Hotel

The brothers Anton, Heinrich and Julius Pupp |  Photo repro: Stanislav Burachovič, 'Příběh Grandhotelu Pupp'/ed.  Promenade

On June 20, 1872, the brothers Anton, Julius and Heinrich Pupp officially became the business partners of the Hotel Pupp in Karlovy Vary, thus managing to bring back into the family the property that their ancestors had lost as a result of bad business decisions and of family disputes. It was at the end of the 18th century that the first foundations of the family business had been laid by the confectioner of Count Chotek Jan Jiří Popp, a native of Veltrusy, in central Bohemia (later, he presented himself under the name of Johann Georg Pupp). But it was only under the leadership of Anton and his brothers Heinrich and Julius that the hotel reached its peak of growth and fame.

Grandhotel Pupp |  Photo: Brück & Sohn Kunstverlag Meißen/Wikimedia Commons, public domain

Kings, musicians and cosmonauts

Café of Grandhotel Pupp in 1906 |  Photo: Brück & Sohn Kunstverlag Meißen/Wikimedia Commons, CC0 1.0

Among the famous customers, the Pupp hotel has seen the King of the United Kingdom Edward VII, the Emperor of Austria François-Joseph Iᵉʳ or the psychologist Sigmund Freud. It was before the Second World War that the last major modernization of the establishment took place. Focused mainly on the interior of the building, it notably consisted of installing a bathroom with hot water in each bedroom. The then owners also bought one of the last buildings of the time: the “House of God’s Eye” (“Dům Boží oko”), where Café Pupp is now located.

Karlovy Vary in 1968 with the Granfhotel Moskva in the background |  Photo: Jones, Gwen/FORTEPAN, Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 3.0

After the war, the hotel was nationalized and renamed Grandhotel Moskva. Formerly famous clients such as Empress Maria Theresa of Austria or German Chancellor Otto von Bismarck have been replaced by eminent visitors of another order, such as Soviet Marshal Ivan Koniev, Czechoslovak President Ludvík Svoboda, Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie or cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin.

The Grandhotel Pupp returned to its original name in 1990, when the Joint Stock Company Grandhotel Pupp Karlovy Vary was founded.

Grandhotel Pupp |  Photo: Štěpánka Budková, Radio Prague Int.

Grandhotel Pupp in the movies

'Casino Royale', a scene from Grandhotel Pupp |  Photo: United Artists Films/Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM)

Today, it is not only during the international film festival that this luxury establishment is used by directors: many of them use it for the shooting of their films. It appears for example in the film The Ring of Cassandra (1996) with Nastassja Kinski and Michael York in the main roles. In 2006, Casino Royale was filmed there, an opus in the James Bond film series with Daniel Craig in the lead role. The Grandhotel Pupp also appears in all its glory in the comedy Holidays on Prescription, in which Queen Latifah and Gérard Depardieu appear. In the film La Môme (2007), we see the large hall of the hotel, where the film The Philanthropist was also shot in 2009.

Grandhotel Pupp |  Photo: Štěpánka Budková, Radio Prague Int.

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