Do you have a story from Hotel Royal?
A short story
Everything is new – or carefully restored – in order to keep the special atmosphere that you can still experience at the historic hotel. Since the beginning of 1838, the hotel has housed the working man, royals and cultural personalities. From Johanne Louise Heiberg and H. C. Andersen to Louis Armstrong. With the comprehensive restoration, which is the second restoration in the current owner, Jens Richard Pedersen’s ownership since 1983, Hotel Royal in Aarhus has taken its place in the world-class category. The winter garden restaurant Queen’s Garden and the beautiful international Royal Casino, established in 1991, are also part of Hotel Royal’s appeal.
If these walls could talk…
More than 170 years of hotel history speaks its story. Wonder what has happened between the thick walls at the fine, old Hotel Royal? Which celebrities have walked these halls in former times, and maybe even dined and slept in the same rooms as you? It’s interesting to think about. However, we do know a lot for sure. Parts of the building can be traced back to the 13th century when Aarhus city hall was located where Hotel Royal is today. You can find drawings of Hotel Royal from 1838 of a nice, white building opposite the cathedral. The building is clearly called “Hotel Royal”. This was the first Hotel Royal in Aarhus. It was inn-keeper Niels Larsen who furnished the building that was originally known as “Kongens Gaard” (The King’s Court). The building from 1798 was bought from the furrier Michelsen, and when Niels also bought the neighbouring building in Rosengade, he could join the two in the first of many remodels and renovations of Hotel Royal. In 1988, when the hotel celebrated its 150th anniversary, a book on Hotel Royal was published. Read it below.
Noise from the midden
Today, everything in the hotel is either new or carefully restored, yet you still feel the historic atmosphere in the building. We know that both the working class and prominent personalities – from Denmark and abroad – have roamed these halls for centuries. H. C. Andersen has been here – even though he usually was invited to stay in manors around the area. His contemporary, Johanne Luise Heiberg, also stayed here. We know this for sure because she handed in a written complaint about the noise from the midden in the yard. – “but the food was fine” – she wrote before leaving. Both the midden and the animals are now gone, but the food is still fine at Hotel Royal. Hotel Royal’s guestbook is signed by several other well-known names. Of uninvited guests, we can mention the Prussian officers who visited when the city was occupied in 1864 and again in 1940-45. The authentic environment of the hotel has also acted as settings for movies. One example is the adaption of Aalbæk Jensen’s novel, “Kridtstregen”, which takes place during World War 2. When the hotel celebrated its 100th anniversary in 1938, a Festschrift was published. Read it below.
Eggert Achen and Thorkel Møller
The hotel’s current facade originates from a large rebuild in 1902. Architects Eggert Achen and Thorkel Møller were the minds behind this rebuild, and in 1912-13, they completed the corner on Rosengade as well as the legendary Palm Garden restaurant, that has since provided the setting for many festive occasions.
A curious thing is that the hotel’s fine, old Triton elevator, that loyally carries guests from the vestibule to the top floors, has been in place since the large rebuild in 1902-03.
In the hotel’s more recent history, we will find a short albeit glorious musical period in 1972, where the jazz house Tagskægget, run by Peter Max Hansen, leased the marble hall and tried their luck with the jazz restaurant Royal Birdland. In fact, the jazz house managed to attract some of the big international musicians and orchestras – from Count Basie to Duke Ellington – to Aarhus.
In 1973, the marble hall was transformed into a cinema and a disco. During these years, the ownership of Hotel Royal changed a lot, and the hotel was primarily run as a garnì hotel. This was until 1983, when the current owner, Jens Richard Pedersen, took charge. He closed down the hotel for a brief period and completed a thorough renovation, before reopening in 1984. In 1991, the international gambling casino, Royal Casino, was established.
More than 300 original pieces of art
In the time leading up to the change of ownership, the old hotel was pretty much stripped of furniture and artwork. Unfortunately, a lot of the previously owned gems were sold off on auctions. You can, however, still find a few of the old, cherished pieces of furniture and paintings in the hotel today. Since then, the current owner has steadily built up the inventory of art and decorations.
Today, Hotel Royal presents an art collection of no less than 300 pieces. In addition to this, comes the artistic wall decorations, that artists from near and far have painted on the walls of the hotel and the casino. Starting over like this has presented opportunities for artists in various genres. Especially current artists grace the hotel’s walls everywhere you look – in the rooms as well as in the shared areas. Beautiful ceiling paintings in the Rose suite and other shared areas encourage guests to lean back and get swept away to a museum in Florence or a romantic castle.
The artwork at Hotel Royal is very comprehensive and includes pictures, paintings and lithography from Asger Jorn, Appel Miro, Kadinsky, Nic. Petersen and many more. You will also find older genre paintings by Wennewald, Høyrup, Friis Hansen, Åge Jensen, F. Madsen, Wennermoes, Alex Secher and Adolf Larsen. The newer art is primarily done by artists considered friends of the hotel. These include names like Jørgen Nash, his wife Lis Zwick, Teddy Sørensen, Tine Hind, Margit Enggard Pedersen, Lene Noer, Axel Lind, Bent Holstein, Karl Johan Sennels, Hans Krull and Per Kramer.
You can find interesting pieces by multi-artists who are both talented painters and musicians such as, for example, Johnny Madsen and Peter Viskinde. And you can’t forget the Polish battle scene painter, Andrzej Kowalczyk, and his many battle scene and ceiling paintings. He also recently completed the paintings for the stairway. These include scenes from the inauguration of Aarhus cathedral, the building of the cathedral school (Katedralskolen) in 1520, and it ends with a panorama painting of the city of Aarhus. On the walls of every floor are paintings of Queen Margrethe, her father and grandfather – actually the entire royal family going back to Gorm The Old. 53 monarchs in total, also painted by Kowalczyk. The art has come to stay at Hotel Royal.
The hotel actively supports art by continuously purchasing art and hiring artists for jobs at the hotel.