The Grand Hotel Union Hall is a conference, congress and banquet hall in the Grand Hotel Union, located in Ljubljana’s city centre. Union Hall, which has been organising cultural, social and even political events in its Secession ambience since 1905, was completely renovated in 2002 and restored to its original glamour. The tradition of events remains alive even today and the Union Hall is still considered an exceptional venue, especially for concerts of chamber music. Because of its beauty, the hotel’s management calls it “the gem of the Grand Hotel Union”.
The Grand Hotel Union was opened in 1905. At that time, it was the first modern hotel in Ljubljana, and one of the biggest and finest hotels in the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy. It was designed by architect Josip Vancaš (1859–1932), a connoisseur of the Viennese Secession architectural trends; the hotel itself is an exquisite example of the Secession or Art Nouveau style.
Its Union Hall is a large concert hall, one of the largest conference, congress and banquet venues not only in Ljubljana, but in the region, which still has the original Secession character. From the very beginning, the Union Hall regularly hosted Ljubljana’s elite cultural and congress events, including the famed Black and White Masquerades between the two world wars, concerts of famous orchestras and conductors, including Czech Václav Talich (1883–1961), one of the first conductors of the Slovene Philharmonic, or concerts of the Slovenian music society Glasbena matica. Today, it still retains its cultural mission.
Around 700 events are organised yearly in the Hotel Union, most of them in Union Hall. The main programme consists of concerts of chamber music, mainly in collaboration with Ljubljana Festival. For example, in 2017, they organised a concert of chamber orchestra I Solisti Aquilani, one of the most famous Italian orchestras with special guest American film actor John Malkovich; or the concert of opera arias of tenor Ramon Vargas and soprano Elvira Hasanagić, accompanied by the RTV Slovenia Symphony Orchestra, led by conductor Facundo Agudin.
Union Hall also hosts Ljubljana Festival’s Winter Festival which also presents many world-famous musicians. Among them, the British Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (in 2017) and Nigel Kennedy (in 2018), one of the world’s greatest violinists. Many other events also take place there, for example, concerts in the scope of Slovene Music Days or the International Music Festival Imago Slovenia, and gala events, such as the International Press Institute World Congress in 2002 or the European Festivals Association Summit in 2018.
Today, Union Hall can host up to 850 guests, butextra space can be provided in an additional 20 halls and rooms, in the Grand Foyer, the Garden Hall, the White Hall or the Glass Hall etc. Union Hall covers 504 square metres, together with its additional halls and rooms 3,000 square metres. It is ideal for large cultural or social events, conferences or congresses and large gala receptions or dining events as well as for workshops or smaller seminars.