Hotel Of The Week: Grand Hotel Union Executive, Slovenia

Don't be fooled by the boring name. The Grand Hotel Union Executive is a romantic Art Nouveau concoction. In fact, there's no better place to rest your head in Slovenia's capital

Often billed as the "new Prague", Slovenia's capital is a wonderful city in which to kick back and relax for a weekend. Devoid of Prague's chav- tastic stag and hen parties, Ljubljana is one of the prettiest capital's in Europe, with a historic centre, a towering castle and a vast array of bars and restaurants in which to just hang out. And once you've settled on a weekend here, there's only one hotel to book into. The Grand Hotel Union Executive may possess a somewhat boring, functional name but don't be fooled. It's a romantic luxury hotel, head and shoulders above the rest of the city's offerings.

The location

Right in the the city centre, the Grand Hotel is just a few yards from Presernov Trg, the central square that's the starting point for exploration of the old town. The hotel, built in 1905, is a startlingly attractive Art Nouveau concoction - from the outside at least. Be wary of booking into its sister hotel - the even more snappily titled - Grand Hotel Union Business next door. It's a modern annexe definitely not for romantics.

The comfort factor

The bedrooms are huge with enormous beds to match. A television sits at the end of the bed, beaming in cable channels from around Europe. Rooms are quiet and well insulated, having undergone a recent modernisation. Some of the character has sadly been lost in the refurbishment. A swimming pool and sauna on the eighth floor of the adjoining business hotel offers spectacular views over the city.

The bathroom

Again on the large side, there's a proper bath - which are not always available in Slovenia - and big fluffy towels, bathrobes and an array of soaps, shampoos and body washes.

The food and drink

The hotel has two restaurants. For a really posh night out go for the Smrekarjev Hram, one of the best restaurants in the city. Even then it won't cost the earth. Slovenia remains ridiculously cheap and the food - a mix of Italian, Austrian and Hungarian influences - is superb. For a less flashy night out, head for the Unionska Klet, a pure Slovenian eating experience - that is, lots of meat - in the hotel's cellar. In summer the Klet moves to the Unionski Vrt (or Union Garden). Breakfast is a vast hot and cold buffet. Fruit may be preferred after all the meat of the night before.

The people

A mix of romantic couples, stern businessmen and (inevitably) lots of Germans. The world's leaders, from Bill Clinton to the Dalai Lama, have all passed through the hotel's doors. Where else are they going to stay in Ljubljana?

The area

The heart of the old town is about a hundred yards away. Everywhere of interest can be reached on foot and takes no more than a day to see - longer if you stop at the numerous bars and cafes along the way. The castle, perched on a hill above the city, is a strenuous but relatively short 15-minute hike. The river meanders through the city with a series of bridges linking the two halves of the city.

The access

Lifts service every floor - the hotel says that it's one of the first in Ljubljana to have such an innovation. Slovenia is extremely child-friendly. The hotel also has apartments with kitchens - good for famlies.

The damage

One night in a double costs from €148 (£99), room only.

The address

Grand Hotel Union, d.d. Miklosiceva 1, 1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia (00 386 1 308 12 70; gh-union.si).

For more information about Slovenia contact the UK Slovenia Tourist Office (0870 2255 305; slovenia-tourism@virgin.net)

LIKED THAT? TRY THESE

* Built in 1899, Warsaw's Le Royal Meridien Bristol (00 48 225 511 000; starwoodhotels.com) is one the city's finest examples of Art Nouveau.

* Estonia's coastal resort of Parnu is home to the impressive Ammende Villa (00 372 447 3888; ammende.ee), an Art Nouveau house set in rolling parkland.

The Independent travel offers: Discover a world of inspiring destinations

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    C++ Software Engineer - Hounslow, West London - C++ - to £60K +

    £40000 - £60000 per annum + Pension, Healthcare : Deerfoot IT Resources Limite...

    VB.NET and C# developer (VB.NET,C#,ASP.NET)

    £30000 - £45000 per annum + Bonus+Benefits+Package: Harrington Starr: VB.NET a...

    Visitor Experience volunteer

    Unpaid voluntary role: Old Royal Naval College: To assist the Visitor Experien...

    Telesales Manager. Paddington, London

    £45-£55k OTE £75k : Charter Selection: Major London International Fashion and ...

    Day In a Page

    A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

    A new Russian revolution

    Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
    Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

    Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

    The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
    Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

    Standing my ground

    If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
    Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

    Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

    Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
    Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

    Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

    The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
    The man who dared to go on holiday

    The man who dared to go on holiday

    New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
    Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

    Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

    For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
    The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

    The Guest List 2014

    Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
    Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

    Jokes on Hollywood

    With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on
    It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

    It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

    Voted for by the British public, the artworks on Art Everywhere posters may be the only place where they can be seen
    Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

    Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

    Blanche Marvin reveals how Tennessee Williams used her name and an off-the-cuff remark to create an iconic character
    Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

    Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

    Websites offering your ebooks for nothing is only the latest disrespect the modern writer is subjected to, says DJ Taylor
    Edinburgh Fringe 2014: The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee

    Edinburgh Fringe 2014

    The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee
    Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

    Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

    The woman stepping down as chair of the Heritage Lottery Fund is worried