The Dark Side of Croatia’s Tourism Boom

Hotel Grand

After WWI, the Czechs began investing in Kupari. Their most important project was probably putting up the capital to build the first hotel in the Parish of Dubrovnik, the Hotel Grand. Built in 1920, it had 139 beds, elegant restaurants, cafes, lounges, and a beer hall (to satisfy Czech tastes). In 1923, more than 80 percent of all foreign tourists who visited the Dubrovnik region were Czech. The hotel grounds were filled with well-manicured Habsburg gardens, and the road leading to the hotel was lined with palm trees.

Over the years, guests included Elizabeth Taylor, Tito, Richard Burton, Yasser Arafat, and Mikhail Gorbachev. The Hotel Grand was renovated in 1979, but was badly damaged during the JNA offensive in 1991. Many of its most beautiful features, like the broad staircase at its entrance, became rubble.

Next Page: Hotel Miramare

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Lily Lynch

Lily is co-founder and editor-in-chief of Balkanist Magazine. She lives in Belgrade, Serbia.