Goddard Littlefair has completed the restoration of Hilton Imperial Dubrovnik, re-injecting golden age glamour into one of Europe’s most beautiful hotels, to appeal to today’s cosmopolitan, sophisticated traveller.
Hilton Imperial Dubrovnik, situated just above Dubrovnik old town, was originally built in the 1890s and went on to serve the great Mediterranean cruise liners docking in the city in the early 20th century. Then called ‘The Grand Hotel Imperial’, with a French Riviera feel and the glamorous cachet of an international clientele, the hotel was a roaring success for many decades, but, during the Yugoslav war, it was shelled and then used to house refugees. The hotel was subsequently brought back to active life in 2005.
Goddard Littlefair was initially commissioned towards the end of 2016 for a phased set of redesign works, with the first two now completed and including the reception and entrance lobby, The Lobby Lounge, The Imperial Bar, The Executive Lounge, all connecting and guest-room corridors and all the hotel’s 149 standard and executive rooms and 9 suites. A refurbishment of the hotel’s existing restaurant, Porat, on the lower-ground floor, will follow in late 2019.
The brief to the design team was to unlock the true potential of the four-storey hotel’s spectacular location, architecture, reputation and history. ‘Our inspiration’ Goddard Littlefair Director Martin Goddard commented, ‘lay in bringing back the romance of the hotel’s former glories and layering glamour into each individual space by means of a Riviera palette, soft detailing, a 1920s yachting influence and a subtle evocation of the hotel’s original elegance, whilst at the same time balancing that with clean and contemporary lines.’
Interior highlights include the hotel’s stunning, double-height reception and its spectacular central chandelier, made up of eleven, sculptural, globe-shaped, antiqued brass pendant lights, hanging from chains in rows of three on antiqued brass rods. A bespoke, 3-person reception desk sits to the left of entry, with a Carrara marble top and dark-stained timber panelling to the front, matching the wall panelling behind, which houses a triptych of artworks by Croatian artist Antonia Čačić, specially-commissioned for the project by the scheme’s art consultants ARTIQ. The 3m-long abstract triptych incorporates a palette of soft hues inspired by the colours of the Dalmatian coast.
Leading off from the ground floor corridor and instantly visible through a series of galleried archways are the scheme’s stunning new public spaces – The Lobby Lounge and The Imperial Bar – followed by the members-only Executive Lounge.
Two lighting features immediately take the eye, one at the centre of each area. First, a bespoke chandelier in The Lobby Lounge, inspired by 1950s bathing caps and manufactured by Imagin, has cascading white glass petal shapes set on a brass framework. The Imperial Bar features a bespoke, six-armed chandelier in brass with spherical opal glass shades, designed by Goddard Littlefair and manufactured by Dekor in Croatia.
The Executive Lounge, just beyond, is for the exclusive use of guests who have booked executive rooms or suites and offers a quiet space for guests, who can to use the space all day long.
On the upper storeys, the hotel features an Imperial Suite, together with eight other suites and 149 executive and standard rooms. The design feel of all the rooms is light and fresh, with classical clean lines and a refined and elegant colour palette of blues and silvers, together with the sparing use of pale pinks.