< SLOVENIA | LJUBLJANA: Grand Hotel Union
Built in Art Nouveau style, the Grand Hotel Union opened its doors in 1905. It was the first modern hotel in Ljubljana and at the time, the highest building. According to the contemporary newspapers it was one of the largest, most modern and most sophisticated hotels in the south-eastern part of Europe. With its 87 rooms, a modern restaurant, a café, a large and magnificent concert hall (the present-day Union Hall), a bowling alley, several lounges for festive events and even an elevator and central heating the hotel made an excellent impression on the Slovenian nation.
The hotel was designed by renowned architect Josip Vancaš, who was well familiar with the contemporary architectural developments in Vienna. He chose to highlight the exterior of the
three-story Secession building through ornamental elements and added some more diversity with the rounded and domed corner tower, which is still the southern entrance to the building,
specifically to the Union Café. In addition to the hotel exterior, the architect also focused on adding ornamental elements in the interior, which has likewise been largely preserved
in its original form up until today.
In 1968, an annex was added to Grand Hotel Union, and in 1979 the Holiday Inn Hotel (the present-day Grand Hotel Union Business) was built next door. The most recent hotel renovation was carried out in 2010 and today the hotel evokes the glamour of the era during which it was created.
Even today the greatest pride of Grand Hotel Union remains the Union Hall. In the past it was a place for concerts, dances, celebrations or parties. Meetings were held here, as were rallies and lectures, which have remained a central part of the hotel's congress-related services up to the present day. With this magnificent hall, Grand Hotel Union gradually developed into the main elite cultural and social meeting place in Ljubljana. The Union Hall, which was for 30 years a barometer of politics- and culture-related development, a wave of Ljubljana's brass band music and charms, was in 1934 turned into at the time 'the most modern city centre cinema in Ljubljana'. The hall came to shine again in all of its original grandeur in 2002.
Another key part of the hotel is the renowned Grand Union Café. The elegant Secession or 'Viennese' café was in the past considered to be a 'fancy' place mostly owing to frequent visits by painters like Jakopic, Smrekar, Cargo and writers like Tavcar, Cankar, Župancic, and many others. Once a meeting place for artists and intellectuals, nowadays exists in its much more relaxed version, yet still retains the core of its past through a wide range of cultural-entertainment. Due to its excellent table service and little treats, which are guaranteed to brighten the guests' day, the cafe is popular with guests of any age. Actually, it is a popular choice for anyone who loves special little treats such as Turkish coffee served from cezve pots, the house-made pies and cakes, the Wine Library with over 180 types of wines and a peaceful setting.
In over a century of its existence, the Grand hotel Union was an important co-creator of the political and social life in the capital and in the wider Ljubljana region. In its rich history the hotel witnessed many important events and hosted many famous people. It is a part of the Union Hotels group and with its sisterly Grand Hotel Union Business, it offers 327 guest rooms and suites, and 21 conference halls and salons. What is more it situated at an excellent location, from where guests can enjoy a wonderful view of Ljubljana's main square - the Prešeren Square.
Additional literature: n/a