How would one describe Rhodes? The island of the knights, the emerald island, or the island of the sun? A fascinating blend of stunning nature with awe-inspiring buildings and landmarks? Perhaps it could all be summed up in one simple word: magic. This mysterious enchantment can be felt in the island’s luscious forests, on its golden beaches with their crystal-clear waters, on every street corner, and in every “medieval” alley.
A crossroads of nations and civilisations, Rhodes has cast its spell on all: Phoenicians, Dorians, Persians, Venetians, Knights of St. John, and Turks, to name only a few. They all left their indelible mark on a location destined to become one of the world’s most important historical sites.
The final battle for this corner of paradise took place in 1912 between the Turks and the Italians, heralding a new period of occupation that lasted until 1947, the historical moment that Rhodes was incorporated into “Mother Greece”.
Mario Lago, governor of the Dodecanese at the time, realised the need for a thorough service renaissance, and set out to revitalise the touristic standards of the island.
In 1924, he commissioned the design of a deluxe hotel to the Venetian construction company SAGAR, probably the most famous company of its kind at the time. The architectural trend of that period was a combination of Byzantine, Arabian, Ottoman and Venetian lines, and the fusion was applied to this structure during a construction project undertaken by the company G. SPAINI – M. URBAN.
Construction began on the 26th of March 1925, and a little over 2 years later, on the 24th of May 1927, the hotel opened its gates. A spectacular inauguration ceremony in the presence of local authorities and prominent personalities from Italy and Egypt attracted extensive public attention.
A legend was born.
This chef – d’ oeuvre was named Grande Albergo delle Rose, Italian for “Grand Hotel of Roses”, after the colourful rose garden that surrounds it. Rhodes had acquired one of its most historic and emblematic landmarks,a masterpiece of unique architectural value.
The hotel featured the best that technology had to offer at the time, the finest and most elegant furniture from famous houses such as PUCROT, ZANIOL and PALEARI, and the most sought-after comforts and amenities. Above all, it housed a casino that officially opened in 1929, attracting the crème de la crème of wealthy gamblers from across the world.
Seven years later, on the 22nd of November 1936, a new governor of the Dodecanese was appointed, Cesare Maria de Vecchi Conte di Val Gismon. He was not fond of the architectural design that his predecessor had applied across the town, and demanded that all buildings immediately be renovated.
Inevitably, this also applied to the Grande Albergo delle Rose, which underwent minor refurbishment. A more modest and simple line known as “rurale” was applied, and the building took a form similar to that of the present day.
In 1937, the hotel’s administration was taken over by the Italian hotel company SAVIA, and the casino was taken over by SAN REMO and CAMPIONE, companies still in existence today.
After incorporation of the Dodecanese into “Mother Greece”, the Grande Albergo delle Rose was used for the requirements ofthe Greek State. In September 1955, its administration was handed over to the company Astir S.A., and was eventually conceded to the Municipality of Rhodes.
A glorious and enviable era came to an end when the hotel’s doors were closed in the mid-1970s.
Less than three decades later, in early 1999, the hotel’s management was undertaken by Casino Rodos S.A., which promised to revive the glamour, outstanding beauty and fine distinction that the hotel had once epitomised, to breathe new life into its glorious past, and to mark a new era in hospitality with revolutionary standards and unmatched quality of service.
This promise was fulfilled, and in 2002 the legend of the Grande Albergo delle Rose was reborn …