Bikal and the castle have several hundred years of history.
The first lord of Bikal
Antal Szaniszló Puchner (1779-1852), who came from Selmecbánya, studied law in Bratislava, and then became a soldier. His career began to rise during the Napoleon wars. At the time of the Hungarian war of independence, the general remained loyal to the emperor and fought against the revolutionary government.
In the 1849 winter campaign in Transylvania, he confronted the Hungarian troops in several battles, until eventually general Bem ousted him from Transylvania. He was granted the title of a Baron by the Military Order of Maria Theresa.
The history of the castle
The baron’s wish to obtain an estate intensified in 1839, as he wanted to be sure that his capital was safe. The emperor granted the estate of Bikal (including three villages) to him in 1841. According to the family archives, Baron Antal Puchner first visited his estate in May 1841; at that time, there were no mansions or castles in the village yet.
The baron fell in love with the estate that was hiding at the foot of the Mecsek Hills, among the slopes of Hegyhát, and started to build a castle in the late 1840’s. We have no information about the exact date. Even in the family archives we can find only one piece of information in connection with this: that when the general’s son, Hannibál, visited the estate in September 1849, he reported to his father that the building was ready, and only some minor interior works had to be completed upstairs.
The general’s son Hannibál, took over the estate in 1961. He remodelled the castle and established a park. Hannibál’s elder son Károly, had great plans about extending and renovating the castle but due to his early death, the plans had to be implemented by his young widow. The late beaux-arts design of the castle – which can be seen also today – was created during the renovations which ended in 1898.
The castle hotel from 1993 until today
Hella 91. Kft. purchased the former Puchner estate from the Bikal State Cooperative in 1993, and started the renovation. As the result of works, as from May 1996 a 3-star castle hotel with seventeen rooms, a restaurant, an outdoor pool, a tennis court and a children’s playground awaited guests.
In 1998, the bath house was built, with pools and five rooms with modern furniture. Completed with this service, the hotel became a 4-star one from 1999.
In 2002, three, two-storey guest houses were commissioned, with twenty-four modern rooms altogether. In this same year, the sport centre, designed in the style of the knights’ era, was constructed, with a drink bar, two bowling greens, billiard and three squash courts. The conference centre, having a capacity of four hundred persons and that can be divided into sections, was commissioned also in this year.
In 2004, the interior space of the castle, were renovated. In the next year, the bath house was extended with a new unit in Moroccan style.
In 2007, the manor house, built in 18th century French style and having thirty-one rooms, and the new reception building, were commissioned. By the end of this same year the repeated extension of the bath house, was completed, as the result of which additional four rooms, a bigger changing room, a bigger drink bar, and also a VIP bath (called the Harmony Island) was constructed.
On 1 April 2010, the Theme Park, the first medieval adventure park of Hungary, was opened right next to the castle hotel.
In the spring 2012, the hotel got extended with yet another building and style: the Palace was commissioned, with 28 rooms, a separate bath facility, and new restaurants (the Knights’ Hall and the Hall of Muses).
In January of 2017 we changed all of the rooms in the Castle: we surprise our Guests with new bathrooms, carpets and curtains. On the blue floor we developed a room with a nook for the great joy of the children.
In 2019, with the Grove House, the hotel was once again enriched with new accommodation. The Grove House awaits its guests with two room types: standard rooms and standard suites. Most rooms are accompanied by a spacious terrace. It is an ideal choice for guests arriving with small pets.
Throughout 2020 the hotel was expanded upon with several novelties for families. The medieval playground has finished construction on the Main Square of the Theme Park, which awaits the children with castle-shaped obstacle courses, monkey bars, climbing walls, swings and slides A new wellness section has been established in the Spa’s building. The Children’s Wonderbath conjures up the the world of fairytales with two children’s pools, two waterslides and their accompanying pools, and also guarantees recreation with an interior relexation area.
The three individual two-story guest houses have been completely reborn and from now on operate as part of the Spa. The buildings belonging to the Spa await families and friend groups with a new look, remodeled interiors, private, outdoor terraces, as well as covered corridor that lead into the Spa.