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Grand Hotel Union has long been considered a preferred destination for distinguished guests and important events in Ljubljana. It is one of the most elegant hotels in the region, boasting an exceptionally rich history.

1199px 1916 postcard of Grand Hotel Union Ljubljana

Beginnings and Construction

In 1904, under the guidance of the esteemed Croatian architect Josip Vancaš, construction began on the first city hotel and the largest post-earthquake urban building in Ljubljana, measuring almost 100 meters in length. Built in the Secessionist style, it was completed very quickly, in 18 months. The opening took place on October 28, 1905, and the opening ceremony lasted for seven days. According to contemporary newspapers, it was one of the largest, most modern, and most complete hotels in this part of Europe.

Despite the grandiose contemporary hotel constructions, Grand Hotel Union remains unique with its history, elegance, quality, and modern gastronomy.

Miklošičeva Street, early 20th century

The idea for the construction of the hotel was the work of Dr. Vinko Gregorič, a physician, cosmopolitan, and traveler. He was joined by representatives of the church, a landowner, and a merchant, who in 1902 established the Union Joint Building Company, later renamed the Union Hotel and Building Joint Stock Company.

The entire building, both the exterior facade and the interior with all its furnishings and a rich collection of etched glass (now replaced by replicas), was designed in a distinct Secessionist style. It is divided into two wings connected by a prominent corner tower with a dome. The facade is adorned with floral motifs, each floor featuring different designs. The building has been renovated twice but has fundamentally retained its Secessionist appearance.

Luxuriously set table at Grand Hotel Union.

Modern Amenities

With 87 rooms, a modern restaurant, café, a large and splendid concert hall (today's Union Hall), a bowling alley, several banquet halls, elevators, and central heating, the hotel garnered great excitement in the region. No hotel built in the Balkans before had experienced such technological advancement. Grand Hotel Union also boasted the largest hall in this part of Europe, considered an excellent technological achievement due to its complex iron roof structure. The hall was the largest concert hall in Ljubljana and the Balkans for a long time, accommodating up to 1400 people.

A room at Grand Hotel Union, early 20th century.

In the late 1920s, the hotel underwent a thorough modernization: each room was equipped with running hot and cold water, a telephone, and bathrooms were renovated alongside the rooms. They also revamped the electrical wiring and expanded and modernized the kitchen, which was staffed by Swiss and Italian chefs.

The hotel has since been renovated twice. Today, it features 111 rooms (including part of the uHotel with 335 rooms) and is classified with four stars. The renovation was overseen by Slovenian architect Dobrin, who considered the original plans by architect Vancaš.

Significance for Ljubljana's Social Life

Since its opening, it has been regarded as one of the pillars of social and cultural life in Ljubljana, a status it maintains to this day. Despite two world wars and numerous owners, Grand Hotel Union has managed to preserve its former character and charm, continuing its mission of providing exceptionally high-quality hospitality.

The Union Café.

It hosted concerts, dances, celebrations, masquerade balls, assemblies, state commemorations, protest meetings, and lectures. In addition to performances by the Slovenian Philharmonic, orchestras from Zagreb, Belgrade, Bratislava, and Prague also performed at the hotel. Social life only ceased during the First World War when the Union Hall was converted into a hospital and during the occupation in the Second World War.


Concerts by renowned orchestras from the region were very common in the Union Hall.

The Famous Union Hall

Throughout the decades, the hotel café and the Union Hall have been the center of cultural, political, and social life in the city. The café was frequented by well-known Slovenian intellectuals, artists, and merchants. Painters such as Rihard Jakopič, Matija Jama, and Maksim Gaspari mingled there, as did writers like Ivan Tavčar, Oton Zupančič, Josip Vidmar, and others.

During the period between the two world wars, the Union Hall regularly hosted elite events in Ljubljana, including the Black-and-White Redoute masquerade ball and the grand elite ball under the patronage of His Majesty King Alexander of Yugoslavia, as well as numerous concerts by renowned orchestras. The tradition of events continues to thrive to this day, with the Grand Hotel Union regularly hosting a selection of prominent cultural and social events.

A particularly special event that has been held at the hotel since 1905 is the Slanik Feast.

Slanik Feast - a Traditional Event

This is a traditional culinary event with a century-long history, held every year on Ash Wednesday. The event is attended by over 1500 guests each year, and the master chefs never fail to impress with imaginative, original, and exquisite cuisine.

Slanik Feast.

The history of the event dates back to 1905 when the first Slanik dishes were presented shortly after the opening of the hotel. However, they were officially counted twenty years later when the event was first enhanced with an exhibition of fish dishes and other seafood delicacies. Over ninety years later, this is the only hotel in Ljubljana that still preserves the unique Slovenian and European culinary tradition of the Slanik Feast.

Chefs reportedly decided to include mainly smoked, dried, and marinated fish in their Slanik Feast recipes because fresh fish used to be expensive. In the past, they mainly prepared trout, pike, zander, mackerel, and other freshwater and marine fish that were available locally, but now the selection is somewhat different. Chefs use a wide variety of less common fish in their recipes and enjoy playing with spices and flavors while also following modern trends.



Slanik Feast.

The event is accompanied by a culinary competition where various chefs compete each year in the preparation of cold displayed fish, crustaceans, shellfish, and mollusks.

In the past, this exhibition was set up in the old restaurant part of the Union Hotel, but since 2006, it has been taking place in the renovated part of the former Union cinema (glass hall + white hall). Chefs who have established themselves in their profession both domestically and internationally have also been involved in preparing the dishes.

Get to know the Grand Hotel Union up close and visit it as soon as you can!

*Photos are owned by the Union Hotels Group.
*The execution of the Slanik Feast event is currently on hold; the last time it took place was in 2017.