The first modern hotel in Ljubljana
The Grand Hotel Union held its grand opening in 1905. It was the first modern hotel in Ljubljana and at the time the highest building, built in Art Nouveau style. It was designed by a Croatian architect Josip Vancaš and built by Viljem Treo. The hotel was built in unbelievable 18 months and the opening ceremony lasted for 7 days. The hotel is located where the Baroque part of the city ends and the more modern Art Nouveau part begins. Due to its 100 metres long façade and a complex iron roof, it is considered to be a great architectural achievement.
Impressive exterior as well as interior
The Grand Hotel Union was built according to the blueprints of a Czech architect, Josip Vancaš, a connoisseur of the Viennese architectural trends. He emphasized the exterior of the three-floor Secession building with decorative elements and added vivaciousness with the rounded and domed corner tower, which is still the southern entrance to the building – more precisely, the café. As well as the exterior, the architect provided lavish interior decoration, which has mostly been preserved. In 1968 the extension to the hotel was built and in 1979 the nearby Holiday Inn – today grand Hotel Union Business was built. The hotel was last redecorated in 2002. The original Art Nouveau character was preserved in the large Union hall and the main lobby of the hotel which were redecorated in 2002.
One of the first lifts in Ljubljana
The Grand Hotel Union was one of the biggest, finest and most modern hotels in southeast Europe, i.e. south of Prague and Vienna. It had 87 rooms, a modern restaurant, a café, a large concert hall (today’s Union hall), a bowling alley and several salons for ceremonies. The hotel also had a lift, central heating and telephone, which was rare for that time. Since it was built after the great earthquake, it had an extremely good static support. The Grand Hotel Union set standards for all future hotels and still presents a milestone in technology.
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 – actor and director Orson Welles in 1979, the American president Bill Clinton and his wife in 1999, the spiritual leader of Tibet Dalai Lama in 2002 and the British Queen Elizabeth and her husband in 2008.
The renowned Grand Union Café
The renowned Grand union Café, which has always been a popular meeting place of Ljubljana citizens, is the key part of the hotel. It has not only hosted aristocrats but also numerous artists, from renowned painters to writers. In the 80’s it was the centre of the Ljubljana alternative movement. Since its opening the café has been well-known for excellent coffee, a variety of teas and snacks and kind yet professional service. In the evenings you can watch different theatre performances, attend a lecture or even dance. Saturday mornings are intended for the children.