Important Dates in Hotel’s History
Opening of the hotel. The architect was a Croat, Dionis Sunko. The Hotel was constructed for the Orient Express passengers near the railway station. The first guest was a businessman from Osijek, Mr. Glück who was considered to have brought good luck to the Hotel. (Glück in German means luck).1925 – 1940
The Hotel was the center of the social life of Zagreb. It offered unseen luxury to the guests. All personalities coming to Zagreb, stayed at the Esplanade – Josephine Baker, Charles Lindbergh, kings, politicians, artists… The Esplanade was famous for elegant and refined balls of the high society.1940 – 1945
During the war the Hotel was headquarters of Gestapo and Wehrmacht. Curzio Malaparte stayed at the hotel and wrote here his famous novel. Several waiters have been involved in spying on Germans for partizans. When they have been discovered, they have been shot.
1945 – 1960
Years of recovery after the war. The hotel was turned into the public kitchen, the plates and cutlery were aluminium. Poor people have been given to eat in the hotel restaurants. However, the arrival of business and cultural personalities started to change the image of the hotel, and the service started to improve.
The hotel joined Inter-Continental Hotels Corporation, in franchise agreement, as the first one from any socialist country. It proved to be a great success and the business flourished. Movie stars, cultural, political and business personalities started to arrive. Upon Esplanade experience, other Inter-Continental hotels in socialist countries followed. The Hotel introduced hotel standards (soaps, butter, shampoo, etc.) and forced the local producers to start producing quality and size requested by hotel.
The first casino in the country is opened by Miss Italy at the Esplanade.
The first Snack bar is opened at the Esplanade.
8 March 1975
The Esplanade constructed and inaugurated another Inter-Continental hotel in Zagreb. It was one company for several years.
Elena Tessadri, Italian writer writes a book entitled “Esplanade”. The romantic love story is entirely taking place at the Esplanade.
Famous pianist Ivo Pogorelic plays piano at the Emerald Ballroom within the classical music program named “Concerts at the Esplanade”.
A TV documentary is done about the Esplanade on the occasion of its 60th anniversary. The script is written by famous Croatian writer Zvonimir Milcec.
The first Bistro, a French cosy restaurant, in the country is opened at the same place where Snack bar was. Never before any restaurant had glass roof. It was the first time to have silk uniforms for hostesses at the Bistro. Every lady guest got a red rose. For the first time champagne and wine on glasses were served, and it was the first time to serve a small chocolate with the coffee. Bistro was a great success and the concept was largely followed by other restaurants.
The Hotel joined The Leading Hotels of the World, as the first one from the socialist country and the only one in Croatia.
Valentine’s Day was introduced for the first time in the country with great success. Until then it was completely unknown holiday. With years, it started the entire industry dedicated to love. Tiramisu – an Italian dessert – was introduced for the first time at the Bistro. It became a hit, and today is regularly offered in every restaurant.
12 April 1989
The Esplanade is independent and functions as one hotel company. The Inter-Continental Zagreb is a separate company.
First independent and free elections in Yugoslavia bring to power Croatian Democratic Union, headed by President Tudjman.
Croatia proclaimed independence. The war started. The Hotel becomes headquarters for journalists. The Hotel accommodated first group of refugees from Vukovar in December 1991, but most of 70 refugees left within several weeks to other places. One refugee, a nurse from Vukovar is still living in the Hotel. The Hotel faced difficult period of lack of guests. One of the employees was killed in Vukovar and was proclaimed a hero. The shelter for guests was organized in the basement, in the restaurant Taverna Croatica. The only hotel in the country which presented its macrobiotic menu – it was such a rare menu that American newspapers wrote about it.
The Esplanade was the first hotel in Croatia to be privatized.
The Hotel started the major reconstruction. The best wine cellar in the country was opened in the Taverna Croatica with 400 different kinds of wine from all over the world. It was the first time that famous Californian or Australian wines have been offered to Croatian public.August 1995
Croatia won the liberation war.1996
The Esplanade was the first Croatian hotel to have its own web pages.
The Taverna Croatica received important recognition – it is proclaimed one of the ten best restaurants in Croatia, the only hotel restaurant in Zagreb. Pâtissier of the Esplanade win top awards in almost all categories at the Zagreb sweets festival.
The Esplanade was where the Vienna Opera Ball took place.
The Hotel was assigned 5 stars by the Ministry of Tourism of Croatia, according to the new classification. The hotel is winner of many competitions and awards. The difficult economic situation continues, because of the Kosovo crisis and NATO strikes on Yugoslavia.
1 Jan 2000
The Hotel joined the SRS hotel reservation system, in deluxe collection as the first one in Croatia.
The Hotel closed for complete renovation. MKV design is assigned with interior design.
The Hotel joins Regent International Hotels family, thus becoming the first Regent hotel in Europe.
18 May 2004
Soft opening of the hotel after year and a half long renovation under name The Regent Esplanade Zagreb with new restaurant – Zinfandel’s, attached Cocktail and Lounge Bar Esplanade 1925 and renovated Le Bistro.
29 July 2004
The first e-newsletter was sent out.
30 July 2004
President of Republic of Croatia Mr. Stjepan Mesic visits the newly opened hotel.
11 November 2004
Grand Opening of the hotel.
2 February 2006
Gala award ceremony – King; hotel awarded the most loyal agencies, clients, guests and media.
10 November 2006
First edition of luxury Hotel magazine.
Hotel introduces some new exclusive offers: Segway City Tour, Hugo Boss mobile boutique, Bath Menu and VIP offer for dogs.
Hotel profile on social networks like Twitter and Facebook.
8 December 2009
Nice Ice – Ice Rink on the Oleander terrace.
16 September 2011
World Luxury Hotel Awards ceremony held in the hotel.
First woman Chef de cuisine. The young and affable Ana Grgic became the new chef de cuisine of this prestigious hotel.
1 October 2012
Hotel Esplanade operates again as an independent hotel with newly designed logo and web pages.
Hotel created and introduced the first iMenus on iPads in Croatia, available for guests in Le Bistro and Zinfandel’s.
Health Club Esplanade opened the first Kanebo Sensai Salon in Croatia. Hotel created and introduced the first hotel application specially designed for iPhone & iPad available for free download on App Store.
Hotel received Halal Certificate of Quality – that guarantees guests the services of hotel accommodation, gastronomy and wellness according to strict Halal standards.
As the first hotel in Croatia, Esplanade Zagreb introduced PressReader Hot Zone – more than 2500 free domestic and international newspapers available for download to smartphones and tablets.