Hospitality Complex Monte Pacis, operating in Kaunas since 2013, was awarded at the Kaunas Growing Business Awards “K.A.V.A. 2019” as the best in the nomination “Hospitality in Kaunas”.
Located in a unique historical place, Pažaislis Monastery, the hotel and restaurant were awarded for outstanding services, social projects and spreading the name of Kaunas city. According to the CEO of hospitality complex Indra Ramanauskienė, Monte Pacis, founded in the religious object with care and respect for history, reflects global tourism trends by providing original and modern services in an unusual and unique location.
Careful preparation for activity
The creators of Monte Pacis remember the joy and great responsibility that was given to them after winning the operator contest in 2013, setting up 13 hotel rooms, a restaurant, and cleaning up the alley as well as the oval courtyard of the monastery’s guesthouse at their own expense. They also remember a lot of inspectors who came to check: after all, the Hospitality Complex located near perhaps one of the country’s most important historical religious sites is a unique and delicate project that many cares about. Therefore, even before its implementation, everything was discussed with the nuns and the hospitality business creators, finding out what vision they all have.
“We consistently collected information: we consulted (and we still do today) with historians, representatives of the Church, searched for information in various publications, on the Internet, and visited monasteries in Italy, France, Spain, and Germany that operate on a similar basis. And with some of them, we have established not only friendly but also business relationships,” says Ramanauskienė, remembering the careful preparation for activity in the exclusive space.
When they decided to do this, the Sisters called the entrepreneurs “adventurers of the spirit”. Indeed, it was a very bold decision to build a hotel and restaurant in a monastery. However, faith in this vision came from history which showed that the project corresponds to the nature of the object: the founder of the monastery Kristupas Zigmantas Pacas designed the building (where Monte Pacis is located now) to his family and guests, so there was always hospitality service provided here. The buildings, which had decayed for many years, were reborn at the initiative of the nuns and thanks to the efforts of Kaunas City Municipality, having received funding from the European Union.
Far more than a hotel and restaurant
“I think that when we started this business, we felt like an energetic teenager thinking that everything is possible, and today, we’ve matured as a company, but at the same time, we haven’t lost that teenage energy and hunger for innovation,” says the CEO.
Currently, “Monte Pacis” Hospitality Complex is a small, stylish, thematic four-star hotel (which in 2014, received the award for the best implemented Lithuanian tourism project; in 2019, was accepted into the prestigious Heritage Europe Hotels Association being the only ones from Lithuania). According to Ramanauskienė, mornings in this place are always unique: when the monastery is closed to visitors, only the early rising sisters and nature may be seen through the windows, and you can enjoy the absolute peace.
In the Pažaislis Monastery, all four seasons are lively: quiet, buried in white snow, or buzzing with guest laughter on long summer evenings, Monte Pacis changes with the seasons. During the warm season, the event calendar is filled with christenings, weddings, personal celebrations, and during the cold season – corporate events and conferences.
Monte Pacis restaurant is also appreciated by residents and guests of Kaunas : in 2018, it was officially recognized as No. 10 in the Baltic States by the “White Nordic Guide”; it is consistently ranked in the top 30 of the best restaurants in Lithuania, famous for having one of the most solid and largest wine cellars in the country with more than 200 wine names.
Like all areas, the tourism sector has its own standards, ratings, trends, and fashions. According to the creators of Monte Pacis, this Hospitality Complex ranks among the top ten in the world’s latest fashion, providing the highest quality, original and modern services in unusual, unique locations: in this case Pažaislis Monastery built the 17th century and open to this day.
The modern hotel and restaurant are surrounded by Baroque arches, authentic frescoes, original paintings. The services are provided while respecting the neighbourhood of the Sisters of St Casimir, preserving and popularizing history, recreating it in recipes, interiors, and events. This can be felt immediately after stepping through the door or calling on the phone when the staff of the Complex greets you.
The place you want to share
The team of the Complex often says half-serious: Pažaislis comes first. Respect for the object and yearning to increase its popularity not only in Lithuania but also across Europe encourages to revive forgotten traditions and nurture the existing ones. A non-traditional object also requires non-traditional forms of advertising: from the gastronomic audiovisual “Dinner of Senses” and the traditional open-air “Vinalia Rustica” feast to the reading space under linden trees, concerts, exhibitions and initiatives that are open for everyone. Monte Pacis was developed following the heart, vision, and later, the fulfilment and implementation of ideas, often with the help of many team members.
When asked why Monte Pacis contributes or independently carries out public or social projects since the opening of the complex, Ramanauskienė says that it is much more than just a marketing tool: “In general, I need this as the owner of this business. I want to not only do my job but to share it with others: share experience and knowledge (through intensive staff training), work (volunteering) and most importantly I want to share this place.”
Monte Pacis collaborates and organizes social-charity events with the Order of Malta, Vytautas Kernagis Charity Foundation, the Lithuanian Healthy Lifestyle Union, and Beautiful Heart Foundation. In 2014, the long-term project of free events “The cycle of live History in Pažaislis. Hortus Conlusus” was launched together with the Sisters of St Casimir as well as the initiative to restore the Pažaislis Monastery Library and transfer it to the Pažaislis Monastery.
Article by Kaunas IN