Website Far and Wide recently published a list of “Europe’s Grandest and Greatest Historic Hotels“, and one of the best Croatian hotels was included in the list. We all know that Zagreb’s Hotel Esplanade, located very close to Zagreb’s Central Train Station is an amazing hotel, with long (and celebrated) history, but still – it’s nice when those facts get re-affirmed by an American website (sometimes we get a bit carried away and are prone to idolizing the beauty and grandure of Croatia and everything in it).
In addition to Hotel Esplanade, the list includesBrown’s Hotel (London), Le Meurice (Paris), (Athens),
While Esplanade is among the “youngest” of the hotels on the list, as it was originally opened in 1925, it has managed to get quite a number of impressive guests and historical importance in its 95 years of operation. Far and Wide in their article mention Elizabeth Taylor, Louis Armstrong, Orson Welles, Ella Fitzgerald as most notable guests, and mention the hotel’s importance during the Orient Express craze. There were several routes of the famous Orient Express, connecting Paris (London) to Istanbul, and during the 1930s it was at its most popular – and one of the routes, the so-called Simplon Orient Express went through Zagreb and Eastern Croatia, and then through Serbia and Bulgaria to Istanbul.
There are numerous other famous guests who decided to spend the night in Esplanade while in Zagreb, not mentioned by Far and Wide, including Backstreet Boys, Shakira, Paolo Coelho, Prince Albert of Monaco and Hillary Clinton. There are numerous interesting stories from the hotel’s history, and while we may never hear the most interesting ones regarding the celebrities staying at the hotel, we can remember that one of the first beauty contests, Miss Yugoslavia 1926, was held at the hotel. And one thing to know is that the food served at the Hotel Esplanade has always been among the top choices if you’re into fine dining in Zagreb (as confirmed by Queen Elisabeth II, American president Richard Nixon and Leonid Brezhnev). And if they agreed on something, you know it must be true – but still, if you want to check for yourself, restaurant Zinfandel’s, as well as somewhat less formal Le Bistro (where you need to try the best “štrukle” in the world!) at the hotel will welcome you.