May 5th, 2020, h.20.30 – Dress code: business formal
The Grand Hotel Rimini was designed by the celebrated South American architect Paolo Somazzi.
Work on the new hotel started in 1904, under the guidance of the “Società Milanese Alberghi, Ristoranti e Affini” (Milan Hotel and Restaurant Company), which also took over the Rimini Bathing Establishment from the Corporation in 1906. The company publicized the city and its facilities throughout Italy and the rest of Europe, establishing it as one of Europe’s leading holiday resorts.
The “Società Milanese” changed the face of tourism in Rimini. It renovated the buildings of the Bathing Establishment, extended the terraces of the Kursaal, the elegant centre of society life, and renewed the facilities offered on the pier and the beach. Much work was done on the promenades, avenues, parks and gardens of the seafront, and Rimini was proclaimed “the beach of the moment”, “the Ostende of Italy” and “the Adriatic’s most beautiful beach”.
The construction of the Grand Hotel Rimini consolidated the city’s ambitious new image as the European holiday capital. It was inaugurated on July 3rd 1908, and the event was the highlight of the season. With its two hundred bedrooms, spacious terraces, exotic gardens, sumptuously decorated halls and lounges, and its elegant rose-tinted facade in refinded Art Deco style, the hotel soon became the most important attraction of the whole Mediterranean, and was the preferred holiday residence of the most celebrated personalities of high society, including royalty, nobility and leading figures of the world of the arts from Italy and the rest of Europe.
In 1910 the Grand Hotel Rimini passed into the ownership of the “Società Anonima Bagni di Rimini” (Rimini Bathing Company), The new proprietors had a luxurious new dining room built, with more than 350 square yards of floor space, and over this a sea view terrace was arranged. the hotel was reorganized yet again in 1919, and was managed for a long period by Mr. Damesin, called the “King of Hoteliers” by a local newspaper, the “Corriere Rimini Balneare”. It was in these years that the Grand Hotel became famous for its lavish banquets, its sophisticated candle-light dinners and above all for its grandiose and exciting charity dances, organized by the leading associations and clubs of the city.
The world of fashion was also particularly attracted to the Grand Hotel, and on many occasions, after the serving of luxurious and extravagant refreshments, elegant models would present the latest collections of the most illustrious designers of Italy. Two of the most memorable such events were the fashion parade organized by the “Donna” magazine for women, on Saturday August 25th 1928, entitled “ In the Shade of Pagodas”, and that organized in 1933 by the famous Turin fashion house “La Merveilleuse “.
A serious fire broke out in the upper floors of the hotel on Wednesday July 14th 1920, and destroyed the two decorative domes which adorned the roof. Repairs were made, and the hotel was reopened to the public; the domes, however, were never replaced. In 1931, the hotel was sold for 1.200 lire to the Rimini Tourist Board, who carried out urgently needed restoration work and a number of alternations, and managed the establishment until the outbreak of war.
In 1933 a local magazine (“Rimini”, Septemer-October edition), proclaimed that “the Grand Hotel, … after a radical transformation of services and facilities, … represents the very best that the Adriatic holiday and tourist trade has to offer”. The hotel was badly damaged during the war, and in 1953 the City Council sold it for a nominal fee to Mr. Duranti, who commenced the work for reconstruction.
Mr Duranti sold the hotel to the Arpesella family in 1963 for the fabulous sum of a million dollars, and the work of reconstruction was continued, transforming the Grand Hotel into a top-quality establishment open for the whole year, instead of only during summer season. The Arpesella family managed the hotel till November 1996 and after, Dr. Andera Facchi, a business man from the Republic of San Marino, bought the hotel and continued the management with the same first class style and legendary reputation together with the Grand’s “historical” manager Mr. Sigfrido Stocklow. In July 1999 the Grand obtained the Quality Certification ISO 9002, one of the first hotel to be certified in Italy. On 22nd October 2002 the Advance Hotel Society.
On December 17th 2007, the Grand Hotel Rimini finally entered the Batani Select Hotels Group belonging to Antonio Batani and his family.
Since 1908 royalty, politicians and internationally famous artists have created that legendary magical atmosphere that still pervades the Grand Hotel today. It’s fame was created by the excited voices of the glamorous and often eccentric guests and the gaiety of music from the dancing parties of the years between the two wars, and the legend lives on today. It has not been diminished by the careful restorations carried out in the 1950’s and the Grand Hotel continues to offer its magical and luxurious splendour, the very epitome of luxury and of exclusive tourism, offering premium service and irresistible prestige.
The Grand Hotel Rimini has inspired fantasies and dreams since its inauguration and many “Riminesi” (either by birth or by adoption) have a strong affection for it.
The memories and dreams of Federico Fellini were realized in Amarcord, the film which was released in 1973, consecrating the myth of the Grand Hotel for the rest of the world.