Grand Hotel Imperial, the first luxurious hotel to open in Dubrovnik area, turned 120 earlier this year. Last Friday marked another anniversary for this remarkable establishment: on 2 June 1895, the construction of the hotel building started, and the project was finished in an astonishingly short period of a year and a half.
The initiative for building a modern hotel came from Baron Viktor Kalchberg, president of a steamship company in Trieste. After reading about foreign guests in Dubrovnik complaining about the lack of appropriate accommodation, he wrote to Dubrovnik mayor Baron Frano Gondoli-Ghetaldi to express his interest in building a new hotel to get more guests to visit the city.
The opening of Grand Hotel Imperial marked a beginning of a new era in Croatian tourism. It was the first prestigious hotel with modern facilities and features such as electric lighting, elevators, steam central heating, hot running water, rooms with bath, and an all-around outstanding service at the highest level of professional standards.
Here’s what Imperial used to look like in the 1900s:
One from the 1930s:
The building suffered great damage during the Homeland war, but was restored soon thereafter. Here’s a side view from 1999 with the damage still visible on the roof:
Image source: Dubrovnik Travel