Extensive renovation of the interior of the Clarion Grandhotel Zlatý Lev in Liberec, which is part of the portfolio of the biggest Czech hotel group CPI Hotels, has been completed. The hotel restaurant, reception, lobby and 20 rooms on the 3rd floor got a new look. The design and implementation of the transformation of the Art Nouveau hotel was done at a cost of about CZK 17 million. The current stage continues the overhaul from 2014, which renovated the historical façade, terrace, expanded the conference capacity of the hotel and improved the gastronomic facilities. The completed building modifications have thus brought the look of the hotel as close as possible to its appearance at the time of its opening in 1906, which was also attended by Emperor Franz Joseph I. The new thematic design decoration of the interiors is also focused on the 110th anniversary of the hotel’s opening and its famous guests.
The renovation of the reception, lobby and restaurant was done under full hotel operation conditions. “Due to the fact that these premises rank among the most frequented and most of the guests pass through them, the renovation was quite demanding in terms of organisation and co-ordination of the individual artisan works. We have restored the initial spatial appearance of our foyer, and have thus restored the airiness and grandiose character of the space, which is dominated by 2 central pillars with the stairway and spacious reception. We have, among other things, also added the missing part of the white marble floor and removed the residual electrical installations from the 1950s and 1980s. The unique atmosphere that “welcomes” our guests, in the same manner as it once welcomed the emperor himself, is back. The renovation was challenging for our entire team, but was worth it. We believe that our guests will feel as exceptional as the many exceptional, famous and renowned personalities we had the honour of hosting in the past,” says hotel general manager, Miroslav Souček.
The pure white design with bold burgundy and gold colours is harmoniously completed by the heavy brocade curtains and elegant crystal chandeliers. These were custom-made for the Liberec hotel many years ago by Preciosa Jablonec, which continues to collaborate in their supplementation and renovation. The visitors can thus also admire the relief of the Lion, the symbol of the hotel, which is on the wall of the reception. “We collaborated with the heritage authorities on the renovation, which has been continuously in progress for several years already; the search for materials and information about the precise appearance of the interiors was an especially difficult task. But the beautiful memorial books with the signatures of the members of royal families, presidents, famous actors and athletes as well as other important guests have survived,” said Miroslav Souček. The designers used them as a component of the decorations. The framed portraits are reminders of the personalities who have passed through the history of Zlatý Lev, including Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand d'Este, composer Johann Strauss, polar explorer Roald Amundsen, Olympian Emil Zátopek, President Edvard Beneš and others. The modern famous people who have stayed here include, for instance, Václav Klaus, Miloš Zeman and Ivana Trump.
Grandhotel Zlatý Lev at Gutenbergova ulice was ceremoniously opened personally on 22 June 1906 by Emperor Franz Joseph I, who visited Liberec on the occasion of the Czech-German construction. The hotel was one of the most modern and luxurious hotels in the country. Apart from the precious architecture, which is to date a master show piece of the purest floral art nouveau work by renowned architect Anton Worf, was equipped with many amenities and innovations. Besides the guest rooms and several luxuriously equipped suites, the hotel ground floor beside the hall also had a study, dining room, restaurant, dressing rooms, lounges and a restaurant terrace. Electric lighting, hot water and carpets were installed in all rooms. The hotel’s technical and hygienic facilities were also of a high standard. An unprecedented progressive feature was the central vacuum cleaning system within which all the 100 rooms were connected to a central system, which collected the dirt from vacuum cleaning in a central reservoir. The kitchen had an electric dish washing machine and a refrigerator. The hotel also boasted an electric lift and also had a darkroom, a barber’s shop and telephone box for its guests.
In the next few decades, Grandhotel Zlatý Lev was a member of the, so-called, Interhotel network, and although Zlatý Lev has always served as a hotel, it was afflicted mainly by insensitive building modifications in the 1950s. In 2007, the CPI Hotels Group took over the hotel. The hotel was classified under the four-star hotels brand of the Clarion network of Choice Hotels International. In 2008, the first extensive renovation was done, which by connection of the neighbouring buildings from 1896 increased the accommodation capacity to the current 117 rooms including the luxurious presidential suite in Art Nouveau style.
Optically the most significant renovation was done in March 2014.
Firstly, the extension that covered the initial summer terrace in the 50s was removed. The hotel got a new main entrance with a decorative canopy, whose appearance was based on historical photographs. Apart from the new façade and removal of the neon hotel sign, all the windows were replaced and the separate entrance to the restaurant from Gutenbergova ulice was renewed. The renovation also affected the gastronomy facilities of the Benada Restaurant; the adjoining library that is separated from the restaurant by the initially sliding arched top doors was renovated. The last stage was expansion of the conference space.
Salon Anton Worf, which carries the name of the chief architect of the hotel, has undergone striking renovation; the cabaret podium that was removed in 1957 was renewed as well as other initial elements including the glass skylights with art nouveau décor or the fabric lining of the walls. The Anton Worf Hall with the newly expanded capacity of up to 400 people, was ceremonially opened in March 2015.