The Grand Hotel is one of Sopot’s defining architectural features. Sitting majestically overlooking the beach just to the north of the pier, the Grand, or Kasino Hotel as it was originally called, opened in 1927. Its construction marked a new era in the history of the city and its opulent design and adjacent casino attracted the great and the good from all over Europe. This inter-war period marked a golden age for town, and the hotel was where the millionaire playboys of the age would party and bed down for the night following an evening of gambling their fortunes at the roulette and blackjack tables in the casino. According to local myth, the side street by the hotel was something of a suicide alley, where those who had lost the coat on their backs would finish their lives with a bang.
One of the many who reputedly lost their fortune here was the former mayor of Sopot, Erich Laue. Dr. Laue had been the driving force behind the rapid development of the city in the years following WWI and had overseen the construction of, among others, the Forest Opera, the athletics stadium and the modernisation and extension of the Resort House and pier. The casino was part of a plan to beat the post-war collapse in Sopot by transforming it into the ‘Monaco of the Baltic’. In the early days the city was the major shareholder in the company which owned and ran the casino in fact and the development of the prestigious Kasino Hotel was the next step in realising the city’s ambitions. Dr.