Our hotel in Merano/Meran, primarily the building itself, has centuries of tradition. It was built in Art Nouveau style in 1899 and from then on it was an institution in the spa town as the Café Imperial, a delicatessen and confectionery shop.
In 1923 Josef Schlechtleitner, back then the head porter at the Grand Hotel Emma in Merano/Meran, reopened the café: as the Café Westminster in Viennese style, which established itself as a meeting place for those interested in art and creative minds. An illustrious guest, the cognac loving Duchess of Pistoia, campaigned for the coffee house to receive an alcohol licence, with success.
The Westminster survived the Second World War undamaged and remained a meeting place for cultured citizens. It was just the name that had to go as it appeared too English to the fascists. Schlechtleitner then renamed it Café Imperial, after the coffee house of the same name in Vienna. The fascists misunderstood the name as a homage to Italy's imperialistic aspirations and were happy.
In 1971 Josef Schlechtleitner's son Klaus took over the café with his wife Erna and redesigned it. Resulting in a modern establishment in 1970s style with white tulip chairs and orange and red wallpaper typical of this era managed by Herbert Kinkeling.
In 2009 Alfred Strohmer purchased the building plus café and the rooms above it and soon conceived the plan to create a very special hotel in Merano/Meran. Our 4-star hotel in Merano/Meran - the ImperialArt was created in cooperation with Herta Wolf Torggler, Director of Merano Arte/Kunst Meran, the artists Elisabeth Hölzl, Ulrich Egger and Marcello Jori and the architect Harald Stuppner.