WELCOME TO THE CHARM OF HISTORY, WELCOME TO THE CENTENARY GRAND HOTEL RIMINI!
The Grand Hotel Rimini has become internationally famous thanks to the genius of Federico Fellini who represented the Grand Hotel Rimini - in his own dream-like vision - in the famous film “Amarcord” dating back to 1973. Titta Benzi – his the nearly 90 years old good old friend – tells today that when they were both very young and still wearing short trousers, they used to spend hours on end peeping through the trees surrounding the Grand Hotel in order to catch a glance of the fantastic world of rich people: elegant women whose dresses would show their naked back, men in tuxedo smoking cigars and wonderful cars with sensual curves… It is not difficult to imagine the excitement and fantasies such visions would generate inside the two youngsters, then without any money and apparently with no bright future.
One day, thanks to an uncle who used to work in the kitchens, Fellini managed to enter the “cathedral”, under the inquisitive look of the concierge, and sit in the hall where he would draw sketches and caricatures for the hotel’s guests. It was then that he decided that one day, he would become one of them. Later, once he had become famous, any time he was not travelling abroad or working in Rome he would stay at the beloved Grand Hotel, even if not far away his parent’s home was located. He preferred living at the hotel with his wife Giulietta Masina and receive there his friends and family. He particularly liked to sit in the lobby where - armed with paper and pencil – he would draw his famous sketches of guests who, for a detail in their voice or an unusual gait, would catch his eyes. Some sketches became later characters in his films. Those amongst the Grand Hotel’s employees who have known him well describe him as a gentleman, very kind and understanding towards all the staff of which – he used to say – he was a member!
Since its inauguration in 1908, the Grand Hotel Rimini has lived at the rhythm of Italy’s history. Called “Italy’s Ostenda”, Rimini became rapidly known for the quality of its spa waters which attracted a lot of aristocrats from central Europe. The Kursaal, build in 1873 and destroyed in 1948, was then the actual spa centre which became soon the meeting point of several tourists because of the great music parties and important appointments that used to be organized there. Because of the increasing interest in spa treatments, and especially in the Kursaal, the South American architect Paolo Somazzi, who designed the Grand Hotel Rimini, decided it would face the Kursaal and not the sea, so as to form with it a prestigious tourist complex. Since the beginning of last century then monarchs, princes, actors, musicians, politicians and scientists have stayed in the rooms of the Grand Hotel Rimini. They have walked through the exotic gardens, danced on the large, magnificent terrace facing the sea. Like a huge film setting, dominated by the Liberty façade, where thousands of music parties and dinner dances have taken place and become the backdrop to the most disparate stories. By the window of her suite, Claretta Petacci, the 20-year-old mistress to the Italian Duce, used to sigh at the sight of Mussolini on his hydroplane, flying to Riccione to join up with his wife Donna Rachele; King Farouk of Egypt stayed at the hotel following the advice of the beautiful diva of the mute cinema Lydia Borrelli of whom he was a fervent admirer; the famous tenor Enrico Caruso had chosen a suite with view on the sea to remind him of the beautiful gulf of Naples, his home town; Federico Fellini was only 14 when, for the first time, he entered “the fabulous world of luxury and wealth”; the surgeon Christian Barnard, the pioneer of the heart transplant, during a gala dinner sat right next to Lady Diana who used to spend her nights talking to Dodi over the phone. And then, the Dalai Lama, Sharon Stone, the fascinating Claudia Cardinale, Tony Blair and many others who have particularly appreciated the hotel’s charm and enliven its sumptuous reception rooms. The Grand Hotel Rimini, a national monument since 1994, celebrated his 100th year in July 2008 with a huge party and a lot of celebrities. Amogst them, the Maestro's niece, the poet Tonino Guerra, the actress Valentina Cortese and the show-girl Valeria Marini.
Since December 2007, the Grand Hotel Rimini is part of the prestigious Select Hotels Collection Group, belonging to the Batani family, together with the Palace Hotel, the luxury five star hotel in Milano Marittima and a few other hotels. Referring to the historical hotel, Mr Antonio Batani says: “After having been engaged with this beautiful lady for years, I finally managed to marry her!” And it is with great love that Mr Batani has immediately started major renovation works. Today the hotel has regained its ancient splendour. Works will be completed with the installation of the magnificent domes replacing those who were destroyed by the terrible fire of July 1920.
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