Hotel No. 16 was a curious place; in a Swiss chalet style building that is shared with the Liberian Embassy and inside had an intriguing collection of expensive furniture, cheesy bric-a-brac and a ceramic wood-burning stove that was providing far more heat in the reception area than was really necessary.
The rooms were excellent however and had wooden beams and tasteful décor, which probably explained why it was a bit more expensive than I usually like to pay for a room.
Although we didn’t know this in advance it turned out that the owner of the hotel was a man called Braňo Hronec who was a Slovakian jazz musician and pop star in the 1970’s and there were some heavily moustachioed Brotherhood of Man look-alike photographs of him on one wall of the hotel reception.
Apparently he recorded three long play records in quick succession before fading rather quickly into obscurity as a conductor of the Slovak Television Dance Orchestra in the 1980s and finally becoming a hotel proprietor of the Hotel No. 16.
As a pop star he is remembered in Slovakia chiefly because in the mid 1960s he established his own jazz sextet, pioneering the use of the then rare and expensive Hammond organ, and for releasing some cover versions of popular songs like ‘Aquarius/Let The Sunshine In’, but most of all for a version of Christie’s smash pop hit ‘Yellow River’ with Slovak lyrics.