Ultonia & Girona
From 1962 to 2019
The Ultonia building is a valuable piece of architecture in Girona; with monumental aesthetics, it is included in the Inventory of the Architectural Heritage of Catalonia. It is located in one of the corner of two streets of the city’s modern Eixample neighbourhood and was built over the Santa Creu rampart, a small remnant of the old city walls. The building was opened to the public in 1945, first as modern cinema and theatre, and a few years later as a café. It would become the first art deco establishment in Girona to host dances and live music events.
During the summer of 1962 and after major reforms, the three-star Hotel Ultonia was opened to the public in this same location. In 2009, on the same space occupied by the old cinema, the new four-star Hotel Gran Ultonia was built, also incorporating a new space, the Room 118 café-restaurant.
1890Girona, densely fortified, underwent various sieges and wars and approached of the 20th Century bustling with life and longing for change. The people of Girona realised that, in order to continue growing, they would need to burst out from the walls that enclosed their city.
1941The plot where the hotels are currently located was purchased. The Santa Creu rampart, a fragment of the old city walls of Girona stood on this area up until 1908, which dates back to the end of the 1600s in the records.
1944The Ultonia building was built, following monumental architectural aesthetic and registered in the Inventory of the Architectural Heritage of Catalonia. It was the work of the renowned architect Ignacio Bosch Reitg and its name is in honour of the regiment that defended the city during the third siege of Girona in 1809.
1945The works for the current structure finished in 1945. The emblematic building opened its doors to the public on the Feast of Saint Narcissus in the same year, becoming the most modern cinema and theatre in the city. An emblem and symbol of Girona, it quickly consolidated itself as a reference and meeting point for the social life of Girona.
1953The Ultonia Café, the first such establishment in the city, opened on the first floor of the Gran Via building. The elegant tea room stood out for its art deco style and for the dances and live music events it hosted. It became a unique meeting place for the social life of the city where the locals enjoyed culture and leisure.
1962On the Saint John’s Day in 1962, and after major renovations, the three-star Hotel Ultonia was inaugurated with 45 rooms, becoming one of the most cutting-edge and prestigious hotels in the Province of Girona. Numerous business executives and holiday makers were among the first guests to take advantage of the strategic location of the hotel in one of the most transited areas in Catalonia.
1976The new management of Hotel Ultonia made the first major renovation works on the building and its spaces, which came at the same time as boom in tourism across the country. The decoration we updated and new facilities such as air conditioning were added.
2000After a long life, the Ultonia Cinema-Theatre decided to close its doors for the last time, showing Titanic as its last screening. Later, construction works began for Hotel Gran Ultonia where the cinema once stood.
2009The four-star Hotel Gran Ultonia opened, and represented the completion of the most important hotel project in Girona. Two new spaces were added: the Room 118 restaurant-cafeteria and the terrace overlooking Parc de la Devesa, The Secret.
2012Hotels Ultonia Girona celebrated the 50th anniversary, maintaining its role as a meeting spot and reference point for the city of Girona, in keeping with its historical spirit.
Girona, since its foundation in Roman times, was fortified over the centuries to prevent external attacks. From the walls built in the first century BC, between the 70's and 80's, to the remodelling carried out on the occasion of the War of Independence, the Walls of Girona have witnessed centuries of history.
At Hotels Ultonia Girona, specifically in our parking lot, we have a small archaeological treasure, the remains of the old Baluart de la Santa Creu, a fragment that was part of the wall that strengthened Girona during the French War, documented since the late 1600s. Of course our customers can visit it on the -1 floor of our building.
The Ultonia Line was one of the three units of the Hispanic army formed by Irish emigrants at the service of the Crown throughout the 18th and 19th centuries. A contingent of the Ultonia Regiment formed by about 300 troops (most of them non-Irish) participated in the defense of the sites of Girona during the French War, particularly the siege of 1809, during which the city was defended beyond any rational limit and coast of many military and civilian casualties.
Heavily decimated after the war, it formed for a time the Distinguished Battalion of Ultonia and was finally dissolved in 1818. From ancient times, this singular unit gave its name to a street, a hotel and a cinema.
The fairs of Girona
The Fairs of San Narcís are celebrated coinciding with the festivity of the patron saint of the city, San Narcís, on 29 October. At the end of 1800, the celebrations began on the eve of San Narcís, with the distribution of the places of the Fairs of Girona in the present Rambla de la Libertad. The traders, each with a reed in his hand, lined up, waiting for the first bell at two o'clock in the afternoon.
Everyone had to throw the cane on the ground in order to have the right to set a table. In 1900 it was decided that the stops would be located in the Plaza de San Agustín. Later they would expand along Jaume I's Gran Vía, until they were moved to the Devesa Park.