Tried & Tested

Hotel check: The Regent Esplanade

1 Sep 2005 by business traveller

What's it like? An appealing mixture of Art Nouveau treasures and modern comforts. The hotel was built in 1925 and flourished as a luxury stopover for passengers on the Orient Express and visitors from Europe and the Austro-Hungarian Empire. It was a social landmark of the city and has welcomed presidents, film and music stars and politicians through its doors. More recently, the hotel became the first property in Europe for Regent, the luxury brand owned by Rezidor SAS, which, after an extensive but sympathetic refurbishment, staged a grand reopening of the hotel in November 2004.

Where is it? In the city centre with views over Fountain Park. A five-minute walk takes you to Zagreb's main business and shopping areas.

Room facilities The 209 rooms all have satellite TV, voice mail, CD player, large beds with goose down dressings, marble bathrooms stocked with Trussardi toiletries and a nightly turn down service complete with the obligatory chocolates on the pillow. My Regent deluxe suite had a luxury bathroom with walk-in shower, large tub and separate WC. Glass doors opened out from the bathroom onto a sitting room furnished with comfy sofas and a good size desk. Laptop users can plug into a broadband connection or enjoy wireless connectivity throughout the hotel. Regent Club floors have a dedicated guest area offering complimentary breakfast, drinks and snacks throughout the day, a choice of films to enjoy in your room and a free pressing service.

Business centre Yes, on the first floor and equipped with computers, high-speed internet access, telephones and fax machines. For meetings and events, the breathtaking domed Emerald Ballroom (below) is the largest, accommodating up to 300 people theatre-style, and is regularly used for celebrity and society weddings. The hotel has seven other conference rooms, all with natural light and audiovisual equipment. The Istanbul Suite can accommodate conferences for up to 170 people and can be divided into three rooms.

Restaurants Dress up for imaginative Mediterranean and Californian cuisine at Zinfandel's, overlooking the Fountain Park. You can also head to the Art Deco-style lounge and cocktail bar, Esplanade 1925, which serves drinks and snacks in the morning, afternoon tea and cocktails and snacks in the evening and uses destinations along the Orient Express route – including Paris, Vienna and Venice – as its culinary inspiration. For informal dining, reserve a table on the terrace at the quirky Art Nouveau and Art Deco-inspired Le Bistro in the corner of the hotel. The hotel has a casino for those who enjoy riskier chips.

Fitness centre Use of the Health Club is complimentary for guests and includes a gym, sauna and a range of skin and body treatments and massages (which cost extra).

Verdict A grand, ambitious addition to a city with a burgeoning business and leisure market.

Prices Published rates from £102 for a superior room, £117 for a deluxe room and £206 for a Regent deluxe suite.

Contact The Regent Esplanade Zagreb Mihanoviceva 1, 1000 Zagreb, Croatia, tel +385 1 45 66 666; www.regenthotels.com

Lauren Custance

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