András Polgár, CEO, Thermal Hotel Visegrád
- 1 Sep 2020 3:37 PM
In his new role at the Thermál Hotel Visegrád, he is set to continue the high-quality professional work done so far, while developing and implementing a large-scale development program in order for the hotel to maintain its strong market position over any competitors appearing in the area in the near future.
He began his career in the United States and then worked at Hilton and Marriott chains at home in various management positions, both in operations and sales. As a director, he participated in the construction and operation of the MLSZ Telki Sports Center and Hotel, after which he worked in Austria as a hotel manager.
From 2014, he managed the Hotel Azúr and Azúr premium hotels as directors for 6 years. After that, he gained experience at the Hungarian Tourism Agency, as the director responsible for accommodation and hospitality, then he came to Visegrád.
In 2010, he was awarded the "Young Hotellier of the Year Award" by the Hungarian Hotel Association. He also received several other professional awards for his work, including the first official 5-star Hotelstars rating on Lake Balaton with the Hotel Azúr premium.
In addition to his professional core business, he has worked as a consultant in hotel opening, development and operation, and has significant hotel investment experience. Also, András is the founder of the Tourism Regatta, which has been a major sailing competition and summer closing event in Hungarian tourism for 10 years in Balatonfüred.
1. Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Baja, in Southern Hungary, a place famous for its fish soup. Those from the area are great fans of Fish Soup, but only eat our own one with its special recipe, it is like a religion over there! Actually it’s pretty easy to make it, they say the most important ingredient is a person born in Baja should make it, with carp, onions, paprika, water and a little bit of red wine.
2. If you could be an expat anywhere in the world, where would you choose?
I really loved living in the U.S. so I think that would be the place. I had the opportunity to discover pretty much the whole of the U.S. while there. I particularly loved Colorado, the Rocky Mountains, the rivers and forests are beautiful. I also like New York, it a beautiful city, but Colorado is very different of course, that part of the country is amazing, wherever went hiking we saw something different and beautiful.
3. What would you miss most if you moved away from Hungary?
Certainly people, friends, family. I love my country and places like Balaton, Budapest, Visegrád. I like the food and fröccs. These things I would really miss. For example, I tried to make Baja style fish soup while in U.S. but it wasn’t the same with Hungarian carp.
4. Friends are in Hungary for a weekend - what must they absolutely see and do?
Budapest, it is such a beautiful city, and a great city to explore. It is great we have such good restaurants these days, really good catering and culinary offerings all around. So Budapest is a must, to see the landmark sites and the usual cultural things.
Visegrád is a new part of my life, I knew the Danube Bend before of course, but I really think that this area is truly beautiful. Not that I know too much about all the places around Visegrád, but I would bring guests here as well to explore together.
5. What is your favourite food?
In Baja, whatever the occasion, you have fish soup from Baja 😊
6. What is your favourite sport / form of exercise?
I like all types of sports actually. I did trail running earlier, long distances in the mountains, like 103 kms in 18 hours, with 5000 m elevation, but I don’t do that anymore because of my knees. These days I like to play tennis and football for fun, earlier I used to play football professionally in the Baja Team.
7. What is your favourite place in Hungary?
Visegrád, of course! I really do like the Danube Bend here, such a lovely place, and did so before I came to this hotel. We used to travel a lot to Zebegény, it has a special energy there. If you go into the village you find everybody says Hi, it is a small community and you can instantly feel a part of it. There is a small cottage in the forest near there, where we used to go and stay with my family some years ago. It is amazing, very quiet and safe, if you just go there for two or three days you come back full of energy. The Danube is also beautiful over there, and you can also see the Visegrád Castle from the other side, it looks really beautiful.
8. What career other than yours would you love to pursue?
When I was younger, I wanted to be a doctor, and I have huge respect for them, especially nowadays with this sad Covid-19 situation, so I think I would love to do that as a career.
9. What’s a job you would definitely never want?
Politics – it is not my ‘thing’!
10. Where did you spend your last vacation?
Because of Covid-19 we spent it in Hungary, at Alsópáhok, where there is a great hotel for families, so we went there with our three children for a week in July.
11. Where do you hope to spend your next one?
Since we – myself, my wife and all of our children - like animals, we promised our children a Safari in Africa, so that is where we would hope to go…
12. What was your favourite band, film, or hobby as a teen?
Movie: Star Wars. Music: I liked rock music at that age - Nirvana, Metallica – and still do.
Hobby: I was mostly playing football then, and I still like playing it these days too.
13. Apart of temptation what can't you resist?
Salted caramel ice-cream.
14. Red wine or white?
Rosé – for example Dúzsi is good, he is the King of Rosé makers in Hungary.
15. Book or movie?
Book - recently I read Homo Sapiens, and Homo Deus by Yuval Noah Harari.
16. Morning person or night person?
17. Which social issue do you feel most strongly about?
There are a lot of social issues in Hungary, unfortunately. Csodalámpa Foundation follows the type of mission that is close to me, related to helping children in need.
18. Visegrád or Nagymaros?
19. Which achievement in your life are you most pleased about?
My children, Vince, Panni, and Sára.
20. What would you say is your personal motto?
As with the Roger Federer book, I can say the ‘Quest for Perfection’ resonates with me.