History of Le Meridien Lav: Luxury Split Hotel Celebrates 50 Years

Daniela Rogulj

Updated on:

Ivo Cagalj / PIXSELL
Ivo Cagalj / PIXSELL

On August 8, 1971, today’s luxury resort Le Meridien Lav opened its doors under the then (temporary) name Kairos in Podstrana near Split, reports HRTurizam.

Two hundred guests from Italy, France, and the United States were greeted by only one of the three hotel buildings planned within the hotel complex. The media reported that “the hotel could not resist the onslaught of tourists and was forced to start work” because the guests themselves “gave up one hundred percent comfort when they saw what kind of environment the hotel is in.” It was then one of the largest hotels on the Adriatic and the most modern in the high B category. It had 373 rooms, a hall for banquets and meetings, lounges, a casino, a nightclub, a snack bar, a barber and hairdresser, an infirmary, various sports fields, a bowling alley, its own beach, a winter pool, and other recreational facilities, built by the Split company Lavčević.

However, Lav celebrates three birthdays on dates that, in a way, marked its beginning. That is why the current Le Meridien Lav resort will mark this great anniversary by connecting all these dates, from autumn 2021 to late spring 2022.

Except for August 8, when part of the hotel complex was “opened under the onslaught of tourists,” important dates at the beginning of work include October 24, 1971, when the entire hotel complex was inaugurated on the 27th anniversary of the liberation of Split, and March 1972, when the then hotel complex “Kairos” was renamed into the now legendary “Lav.”

To mark the 50th anniversary, a series of events and activities will be organized from autumn 2021 to spring 2022. At the very end of the celebration, in the late spring of 2022, a multilingual monograph on this legendary hotel in Split will be published.

Hotel Le Meridien Lav has been owned since 2016 by the private Czech equity fund Odien Group, more precisely its subsidiary, Odien Hotels N.V.

“We have owned the Le Meridien Lav resort for only a few years, but we are looking forward to this anniversary as if we were here from the beginning. Lav has a rich heritage and special importance in the identity and collective memory of residents, so it is important to us, in cooperation with our employees, partners, and associates, and our neighbors from Podstrana, with whom we share the most beautiful memories of our hotel, mark the first 50 years in a quality and interesting way. Furthermore, with our business plans and investments in the last few years, we have shown how important this resort and destination is to us and how we want Le Meridien Lav to continue to be the leading tourist brand on the Adriatic coast,” said Mike Saran on behalf of Odien Group, which owns Le Meridien Lav from 2018.

Arnoud Zaalberg, General Manager of Le Meridien Lav Split, does not hide his joy over this great anniversary: “I have been in Lav for almost a decade, and I am sincerely looking forward to this anniversary because it reminds me of all the interesting and beautiful moments I experienced with employees, guests and partners and the stories I have heard about Lav from past and present employees. Furthermore, we are especially proud of the fact that Lav celebrated its 50th anniversary in a new guise with many new and improved, high-quality content, which we strive to preserve the quality and values we have inherited daily.”

Le Meridien Lav is a 5-star resort with a total of 378 accommodation units and 12 modern conference rooms in an area of 5000 square meters.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated travel section.


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