The hotel was built in 1925 with the aim of offering luxury accommodation to passengers of the legendary Orient Express, which travelled from Paris to Istanbul and back. From its very first beginning the hotel has had an important social function, as dance evenings for the elite, receptions and events reflective of the Croatian capital all took place there. Built in the then popular Art deco style, the hotel was renovated in 2004, maintaining its brilliant and elegant style.
The list of celebrities who have visited Esplanade includes many persons who had a great impact on the 20th century: Josephine Baker, Charles Lindbergh, Orson Wells, Liv Ullman, Louis Armstrong, Woody Allen, Richard Burton, Elisabeth Taylor, Sofia Loren, Mick Jagger and the Rolling Stones, the politicians Nikita Hruščov and Leonid Brežnjev are just some of the many guests who have signed into the hotel guestbook.
In 1964 the hotel was one of the first hotels of socialist countries in the Inter-Continental chain. In 1988 it took its place in the association of “The Leading Hotels of the World”. It is now a member of The Regent hotel chain, as the only regional hotel of this prestigious hotel chain. In the hotel the first Croatian Casino and the first Bistro was opened. This year it received the award for the best luxury city hotel and best historic luxury hotel at the World Luxury Hotel Awards ceremony.
An important event in the history of Zagreb was the arrival of the railway in 1862. A few years later, in 1892, the main railway station was built. Hotel Esplanade was also built because of the guests on the famous Orient Express from Paris to Zagreb, such as Agatha Christie in 1928, which sometimes stopped in Zagreb. The train, which oozed luxury and titillated the imagination of writers, last rolled along its tracks in 1977.