Sad as it may sound, these days only concrete rubble and vegetation quarrel over Finyód’s once glamorous Sirály Hotel.
The construction of Fonyód’s Sirály Hotel was commissioned in 1905 by Béla Zichy with the aim of creating a local venue for the balls of the upper middle class. After the hotel’s completion, all Anna Balls in Fonyód were held at this exclusive location. The building (or rather its remnants) can still be accessed quite easily in Fonyód-Bélatelep. Count Zichy played a significant role in the life of the Bélatelep community – so significant in fact that the district eventually adopted the first name of its benefactor. For example, he donated 250,000 HUF to help fund the construction of the nearby Fonyód-Kaposvár railway line.
Between the two world wars, the development of Fonyód continued with the leadership of a new group of people. During this time, several of the highest dignitaries visited Bélatelep, among them Prime Minister István Bethlen and Minister of the Interior Iván Rakovszky. According to local history, the car of József Vass, the labor minister of the Bethlen government, once got stuck between Balatonboglár and Fonyód, and had to be towed to Fonyód with a couple of buffalos.
After WWII, Sirály was left intact for a very long time. The hotel was majorly revamped in 1963, with the structure of the building remaining unaltered: the ballroom was used as a discotheque, for example. Until the mid-90s, the venue functioned as restaurant by day and a club by night.
Back in 2006, the restoration of the hotel was included in the local community’s development plans, but the necessary funds had not yet been raised, nor had the specifics of the project been worked out by then. In 2012, the local government told news portal Index.hu that the building was privately owned.
We Love Balaton photographer Blanka Sebestyén visited the one-time party venue to take a look at the current state of the building.