< ITALY | RIMINI: Grand Hotel Rimini
Built by the Societa Milanese Alberghi, Ristoranti e Affini (Milan Hotel and Restaurant Company), The Grand Hotel Rimini was inaugurated on July 3rd 1908. It was designed by the celebrated South American architect Paolo Somazzi. With its 200 bedrooms, elegant Art Nouveau facade, spacious terraces, exotic gardens, sumptuously decorated halls and lounges, the hotel soon became the most important attraction of the whole Mediterranean, and was the preferred holiday residence of the most celebrated personalities of high society, including royalty, nobility and leading figures of the world of the arts from Italy and the rest of Europe.
The Societa Milanese changed the face of tourism in Rimini. It renovated the buildings of the Bathing Establishment, extended the terraces of the Kursaal - the elegant centre of society life,
and renewed the facilities offered on the pier and the beach. Much work was done on the promenades, avenues, parks and gardens of the seafront, and Rimini was proclaimed “the beach of the moment”,
“the Ostende of Italy” and “the Adriatic’s most beautiful beach”. The construction of the Grand Hotel Rimini was the highlight of the season.
In 1910, the Grand Hotel Rimini passed into the ownership of the “Societa Anonima Bagni di Rimini” (Rimini Bathing Company), The new proprietors had built a new luxurious dining room with more than 350 square yards of floor space, and a sea view terrace. the hotel was reorganized yet again in 1919, and was managed by Mr. Damesin, called by a local newspaper the “King of Hoteliers”. It was in these years that the Grand Hotel became famous for its lavish banquets, sophisticated candle-light dinners and above all, for its grandiose and exciting charity dances, organized by the leading associations and clubs of the city. The world of fashion was also particularly attracted to the Grand Hotel. On many occasions, after the serving of luxurious and extravagant refreshments, elegant models would present the latest collections of the most illustrious designers of Italy.
On July 14th 1920, a serious fire broke out in the upper floors of the hotel, and destroyed the two decorative domes which adorned the roof. Repairs were made, and the hotel was reopened to the public, however, the domes were never replaced. In 1931, the hotel was sold for 1.200 lire to the Rimini Tourist Board, who managed the establishment until the outbreak of war.
The hotel was badly damaged during the war, and in 1953 the City Council sold it for a nominal fee to Mr. Duranti, who commenced the work for reconstruction. Mr Duranti sold the hotel to the Arpesella family in 1963 for the fabulous sum of a million dollars, and the work of reconstruction was continued, transforming the Grand Hotel into a top-quality establishment open for the whole year, instead of only during summer season.
Hotel changed hands several times until in 2007 the Grand Hotel Rimini finally entered the Select Hotels Group belonging to Antonio Batani and his family. Besides the Grand Hotel Rimini, the Batani Family owns 9 other hotels.
Since 1908, Royalty, Politicians and internationally famous artists have created that legendary magical atmosphere that still pervades the Grand Hotel today. Amongst the important people who visited the Grand Hotel in the old days were: Queen of Saxony, the Duke of Abruzzi, the Princess Luisa Laetitia of Aosta Napoleone, the Duke of Udine, the Princes of Colonna of Stigliano, the First Minister of Italy Mr.Salandra, the Turkish Ambassador Harry Pasha that became Gran Visir, King Faruk, Elena Bianchi Cappelli, Lydia Borrelli, Geraldine Farrar, Enrico Caruso, Guglielmo Marconi, Pietro Mascagni.
Today, the Grand Hotel di Rimini is still the preferred destination for many celebrities: Politics: Michail and Raissa Gorbacev, Helmuth Kohl, George Bush, Henry Kissinger, Sandro Pertini, Giulio Andreotti, Silvio Berlusconi, the Dalai Lama.
Aristocracy: the Prince of Saudi Arabia Al Saud; the Japanese Prince Hirohito’s son, Mr. Gheddafi’s Son, Diana, Princess of Wales and Rania, Queen of Jordan; Sports: Max Biaggi, Alberto Tomba, Yury Chechi, Harada, Marco Pantani, Ciro Ferrara, Antonio Conte.
Entertainment: Sergio Zavoli, Pedro Almodovar, John Landis, Michael Redford, Bruce Willis, Demi Moore, Ornella Muti, Maria Grazia Cucinotta, Carol Alt, Monica Vitti, Alberto Sordi, Paolo Villaggio, Roberto Benigni, Stefania Sandrelli, Valeria Marini, Claudia Kohl, Pamela Prati, John Turturro, Pippo Baudo, Katia Ricciarelli, Sting, Claudio Baglioni, Adriano Celentano, Vasco Rossi, Antonello Venditti, Franco Battiato, Joe Cocker, Martha Graham, Sarah Vaughan; Gloria Gaynor, Claudia Cardinale and Sharon Stone.
Federico Fellini used to come to the Grand anytime he was in Rimini, treating it like home. Fellini loved the Grand Hotel so much that he decided to immortalize it in some of his most famous films that gave the hotel a worldwide fame: particularly “Amarcord” (I remember) where the inimitable and fascinating atmosphere of the Grand Hotel are the background to some of the most memorable scenes.
Culture: Umberto Eco, Dario Fo, Franca Rame, Enzo Biagi, Oliviero Toscani, Luciano De Crescenzo, Willy Pasini, Alberto Bevilacqua, Bruno Vespa, Carmen La Sorella, Lilly Gruber, Vittorio Sgarbi, Furio Colombo, Herman Daly.
Science: Christian Barnard, Prof. Umberto Veronesi, Frederick Leboyer, Deepack Chopra, Rita Levi Montalcini.
Additional literature: n/a