Review: Esplanade Hotel, Zagreb, Croatia

This review details a stay at the Esplanade, a grand five-star hotel in Art Deco style in the city centre of Zagreb in Croatia.

Esplanade Hotel Zagreb

After a beautiful ride on the Split to Zagreb train I found myself back in Croatia’s capital.

This time I had splurged a bit when it came to my accommodation, as I would stay a night at Zagreb’s famous Esplanade Hotel.

As the Esplanade is located on the same square as Zagreb Glavni Kolodvor – the city’s main railway station – I was already at the hotel just five minutes after I disembarked my train.

Zagreb Glavni Kolodvor
Zagreb Glavni Kolodvor – which simply means ‘main station’ in Croatian. ©Paliparan
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The Esplanade Hotel is located on your left-hand side when you exit the station. ©Paliparan
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The main entrance to the hotel is however located on the street at the northern side of the hotel. ©Paliparan

Lobby

Once you set foot in the hotel lobby the Art Deco splendour of the Esplanade immediately becomes clear.

The lobby oozes class, elegance and luxury in a timeless matter.

From the chairs to the chandeliers and from the reception desks to the gilded mirrors, the lobby of Zagreb’s Esplanade Hotel is truly marvellous.

The Esplanade was built in 1925 and used to accommodate passengers travelling on the Orient Express between Paris and Istanbul, hence the hotel’s location right next to Zagreb’s train station.

Unsurprisingly, many famous politicians, celebrities and royals have stayed at the Esplanade over the years, including Queen Elizabeth II, Alfred Hitchcock, Mick Jagger, Vivien Leigh, Ella Fitzgerald, Nikita Khrushchev and Richard Nixon.

There was fortunately no queue of celebrities at the reception desks and a friendly receptionist explained some of the hotel facilities while checking me in.

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The lobby of the Esplanade Hotel. ©Paliparan
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Wonderful Art Deco interior of the hotel lobby at the Zagreb Esplanade. ©Paliparan
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Art Deco interior of the lobby. ©Paliparan

Art Deco details

On the way up to my third floor room some other fabulous Art Deco details caught my eye.

I especially loved the glitzy Art Deco lifts – which looked absolutely fabulous from both the outside as well as the inside.

art deco elevator lift zagreb esplanade hotel
Also the elevators of the Esplanade Hotel in Zagreb were in Art Deco style. ©Paliparan
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The Art Deco design of the elevator. ©Paliparan
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Hotel staircase. ©Paliparan
hotel corridor
Hotel corridor. ©Paliparan

Price

For my one-night stay at the hotel, I had booked the cheapest available room.

This “Superior Room” cost me the grand total of 127 euro, a rate which excluded breakfast.

As I had a train departure just minutes after the breakfast buffet would open in the morning, I decided it was not worth to pay extra for this.

Superior room

I was generally pleased with my Superior Room at the Esplanade.

The room featured a comfortable king bed, was spacious and perfectly clean.

The Esplanade Hotel Zagreb provides premium quality bedding, a pillow menu and proper turn-down service.

Inside the air-conditioned room there was also a flat-screen TV, desk, seating corner and a minibar.

There is plenty of storage space in the closets, in which you will also find some bathrobes, slippers and a safe.

My only minor complaint was that the room design was perhaps a bit dated as it somehow paled a bit compared to the Art Deco splendour in the public areas of the hotel.

superior room esplanade hotel zagreb
Superior room at the Esplanade Hotel in Zagreb. ©Paliparan
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King bed in my superior room. ©Paliparan
superior room
Superior room. ©Paliparan
desk
The room featured a desk and flat-screen TV. ©Paliparan
sitting corner
Sitting corner in the room. ©Paliparan
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Inside the large closet there was a safe, bathrobes and slippers. ©Paliparan

View

My room (306) overlooked the main entrance at Ulica Antuna Mihanovića (Antun Mihanović street) on the northern side of the hotel.

From the window I had a lovely view over this street and the stately building in which the Croatian Railways (Hrvatske Željeznice or HŽ) headquarters are located.

For the best views, you may want to book a room at the Esplanade facing east as these would overlook Zagreb’s magnificent King Tomislav Square and the railway station, although I presume this would come at a premium.

Ulica Antuna Mihanovića
View from my hotel room over Ulica Antuna Mihanovića (Antun Mihanović street). ©Paliparan
croatian railways headquarters
My room had a nice view over the headquarters of the Croatian Railways. ©Paliparan
room view
View from my room. ©Paliparan

Bathroom

The en-suite bathroom of my Superior Room was similarly spacious and spotlessly clean.

The bathroom featured both a shower and bath as well as L’Occitane toiletries.

bathroom esplanade hotel zagreb
En-suite bathroom of my superior room. ©Paliparan
hotel bathroom
Bathroom. ©Paliparan
l'occitane toiletries
L’Occitane toiletries in the bathroom. ©Paliparan

Hotel welcome gift

I had booked my stay at the Esplanade through Hotels.com – which I find a useful booking website thanks to their loyalty programme in which you get 1 free reward night for every 10 you book through their portal.

Moreover, booking the Esplanade Hotel through this website earned me the extra benefit of getting a free bottle of wine as welcome gift as a Hotels.com silver member.

The bottle of red (a Merlot from Krauthaker in Croatia’s eastern Slavonia region) was surprisingly good and made for a delightful refreshment while taking a bath in my room.

croatian red wine esplanade hotel zagreb
Complimentary bottle of (excellent!) wine at the Esplanade Hotel Zagreb. ©Paliparan
bathtub wine
Enjoying a glass of wine in the bathtub. ©Paliparan

Esplanade hotel facilities

The Esplanade is Zagreb’s most premium hotel and unsurprisingly has all the facilities to back up their claim.

Although it was closed when I visited, the grand ballroom is a magnificent space which evokes the architectural glory of the early 1900s.

The Esplanade also has several conference rooms, a health club, fitness centre, sauna, massage and beauty salon.

There are three on-site bars and restaurants at the Esplanade: The Lounge & Cocktail Bar, Zinfandel’s Restaurant and Le Bistro.

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Esplanade Lounge and Cocktail Bar. ©Paliparan

Esplanade Hotel location

The Esplanade Hotel has an absolutely perfect location in the city centre of Zagreb as all the major sights are just a short walk away.

The hotel is located on King Tomislav Square, which has to be one of the world’s finest city centre parks.

Zagreb’s railway station is located right across this wonderful park, while the main city centre square (Trg bana Josipa Jelačića), the Upper Town and Cathedral are all within a 15-minute walk.

Needless to say, there are lots of appealing cafés, pubs and restaurants to be found around the hotel.

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The Esplanade Hotel at night. ©Paliparan
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Zagreb’s main train station is located right opposite the Esplanade Hotel. ©Paliparan
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The Esplanade Hotel is located at the western side of lovely King Tomislav Square, which feels more like city park. ©Paliparan

Conclusion

The Esplanade is Zagreb’s historic luxury hotel and it certainly doesn’t disappoint if you are looking for an unique place to stay in Croatia’s capital.

There is just so much old grandeur to the Esplanade, which was originally built to accommodate passengers arriving on the Orient Express train in Zagreb, that the hotel will instantly please any history buff or Art Deco architecture lover.

The Art Deco interior of the Esplanade Hotel is simply stunning and this alone makes it a must-stay hotel in Zagreb in my opinion.

Although my room was certainly comfortable and had all the amenities and service levels you expect at this price, it did however feel a tiny bit dated compared to the magnificently appointed public spaces.

If you can get a good rate at the Esplanade, I would however certainly recommend it!

Trip report index

This article is part of the ‘Across Europe by Train: Interrail in the Age of Corona‘ trip report, which consists of the following chapters:

1. Review: LOT Polish Airlines Economy Class Bucharest to Warsaw (Embraer ERJ-175)
2. Walking Through an Empty Warsaw in Corona Lockdown
3. Review: Four Points by Sheraton Warsaw Mokotow
4. Review: LOT Polish Airlines Economy Class Warsaw to Zurich (Boeing 737 MAX)
5. A Stopover Walk Through the Old Town of Zurich
6. Review: Railjet Train Zurich to Feldkirch
7. An Evening in Friendly Little Feldkirch
8. Review: Nightjet Train Feldkirch to Graz
9. A Short Walk Along the Sights of Graz
10. Review: Emona EuroCity Train Vienna – Ljubljana – Trieste
11. Zidani Most: Europe’s Most Picturesque Train Station
12. Review: Ljubljana to Zagreb by EuroCity Train EC 1211 ‘Sava’
13. Flying With Trade Air on a Let L-410 Turbolet Across Croatia
14. Review: Palace Derossi, Trogir, Croatia
15. A Visit to the Tranquil Island City of Trogir, Croatia
16. Cycling on Ciovo: A Trogir Day Trip by Bike
17. Split: Croatia’s Bustling Seaside City Full of History
18. Review: Croatian Railways ICN Train Split to Zagreb
19. Review: Esplanade Hotel, Zagreb, Croatia (current chapter)

** rest of the chapters to follow soon **

koen paliparan rhodes rodos

Koen

Koen works as a freelance journalist covering south-eastern Europe and is the founding father and editor-in-chief of Paliparan. As a contributor to some major Fleet Street newspapers and some lesser known publications in the Balkans, he travels thousands of miles each year for work as well as on his personal holidays. Whether it is horse riding in Kyrgyzstan’s Tian Shan mountains, exploring the backstreets of Bogotá, or sipping a glass of moschofilero in a Greek beachside taverna, Koen loves to immerse himself into the local culture, explore new places and eat and drink himself around the world.

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