Friday, August 31, 2012

HOTEL CHECK CROATIA, part 4, Split hotels

If heading out over the warm turquoise seas of Dalmatia to the fascinating cities on the islands of Hvar and Korcula, you are most likely to fly first to Split. We recommend 1 to 2 nights here before hopping on a boat to explore the islands.

Split on the eastern shores of the Adriatic Sea is centered on the fourth century Palace of the Roman Emperor Diocletian and its bay and port. The Diocletian Palace and its ruins are still in use with markets, homes, restaurants and shops within its walls. The medieval town has tiny alleyways and in them you can find designer shops.
The Promenade is very pleasant along the harbor and has a choice of cafés and restaurants.

Hotels we visited in Split on our recent Select trip round Croatia:

Vestibul Palace

Small Leading Hotel of the World with only 7 rooms in total. This hotel is a combination between the modern and the antique; the modern designs are interwoven with the original Roman walls. We all felt this hotel had a personalized feel and very charming.

This small boutique hotel is discretely located in the historical walls of the Palace with only a 5 minute walk from the promenade and harbor. Be aware that one of the deluxe rooms at the top of the hotel has a lowered roof therefore this would be a problem for tall people.

Vestibul Palace is definitely the best choice in Split for luxury clients.

View in front of Vestibul Palace:

And a few steps from Vestibul Palace:


Four star, Small Leading Hotel of the World. The main entrance of the Marmont Hotel is situated on the side of the building towards a lovely alley. The hotel has 21 deluxe rooms (all the same) and 1 presidential suite. Also situated in the old town, an excellent second choice for luxury clients. Approximately 10 min walk to the promenade and harbor.

How to get to Vestibul Palace & Marmont hotels

By car 30 min from Split International Airport
Split harbour is 1 hr by catamaran from Hvar, and 3 hours by ferry from Korcula.

Note: The images were taken by our Select team on their recent trip around Croatia

Thursday, August 30, 2012

HOTEL CHECK CROATIA, part 3, Hvar hotels

Hvar is prettier than a picture. A pastel city shaped by the Venetians, with castle high on the hill. The atmosphere is alive and happy, especially in the evenings when the smell of grilling fish floats into squares and alleyways, and people sit along the harbour sipping Croatian wine and beer. Sunburnt glitterati step off luxury yachts in D&G shades and slip into the crowd.

Daytime invites excursions to nearby islands and beaches. One popular excursion is to Brac and the famous Goldhorn beach - one of the loveliest beaches in Dalmatia, delightfully fringed with a pine forest.

On their recent trip, our Select team looked over three Hvar hotels: Adriana, Riva and Amfora.

Best bedtime ambience - Riva

Best views - Adriana


Best view of the old town and harbour is from Adriana Hotel. This hotel is perched on the quieter end of the promenade.  Designed in contemporary style, the hotel has a great Top Bar overlooking the bay and the white sails of boats. Stunning! Perfect place to chill out with your laptop, and some Croatian beer - as we did.

Visiting Adriana - Erland (Norway), Marita (Finland), Jennifer (UK)
and Pernilla (Stockholm behind the camera) enjoying Hvar's best
view and WIFI lounging in the hotel's top bar

And Croatian beer

Waterside restaurant at Adriana, with view
over the bay to the old city

The top floor also has a Jacuzzi and indoor swimming pool. Breakfast is served on the outdoor terrace a few steps from yachts, with a wide variety including champagne. The SPA is very nice with a natural sea water pool (no outdoor pool),  also small gym and movement studio available for guests.

There are 3 different room categories; we stayed in the deluxe sea view which accommodates maximum 2 adults. This room was pleasant though small, uplifted by excellent views over the bay (be sure to book a room with sea view at the front of the hotel; some city view rooms have no view). We also viewed the spa suite which was lovely and had a lot more space and large bathroom.

Ravishing views from a deluxe seaview room


Indoor pool at Adriana - but you can also
use the outdoor Amfora pool


Situated right on the harbor promenade, this boutique hotel is a place to "see and be seen”. We personally really enjoyed this small hotel; it had fun chic décor with 50/60’s movie star theme and vibrant colour. This is a small hotel with two room categories. Rather small rooms were livened up by the bright decor, and in some cases by the splendid harbour view. We were all really impressed with the Riva suite, which had a private balcony with an open style bathroom.

A fashionable retro scowl at bedtime

Vibrant colour everywhere and so contemporary

Be aware this hotel overlooks lively bars so can be noisy in high season. This hotel would suit young guests or young at heart! This hotel has no swimming pool or spa however guests are welcome to use Adriana facilities. Adriana Hotel is situated at the opposite side of the harbor (approx 5 to 10 min pleasant walk away).

A nice feature is the extensive al fresco lounging area on the promenade in front of Riva. Great place to watch the Hvar visitors drift by along the promenade as you enjoy a sundowner. Or if you are a sociable yachtie - try the Yacht Club bar.

Extensive al fresco lounging, see and be
seen, at Adriana
Most sociable bar - great for yachties - Riva


Best  gardens - Amfora
Best pool - Amfora
Located 15 min walk from the catamaran drop off point. The main attraction of this hotel is the beautiful outdoor pool area and gardens. Great for families, it is popular with charter, and we would consider it to be 4 star minus. We felt that the North Wing section rooms are a little dated.

Room at Amfora

Pool, gardens and nearby beach club, also open to
guests at Riva & Adriana
You do not have to stay here to use the pool area. Guests staying at Adriana and Riva can also enjoy this lovely facililty. Amfora resort is located right by the public beach (pebbled), and there is a beach club called Bonj Les Bains situated next to the resort. This costs 25 Euro per person for anyone to use. It includes a restaurant and a couple of cabanas for private use. At this “beach club” there is no direct beach, just a small area of decking with steps into the sea!

Medieval Hvar, once shaped by Venetian rule,
watched over by a castle on the hill

Adriana - Erland (Norway), Marita (Finland), Jennifer (UK) and
Pernilla (Stockholm behind the camera) enjoying Hvar's best view
and WIFI lounging in the hotel's top bar at Adriana

How to get to Hvar

From Split harbour, Hvar is 1 hour by catamaran (the harbour is 30 min by car from Split International Airport)

From Korcula: Hvar is 1,5 hours by catamaran (Korcula is 10 mins by car ferry from mainland)

Monday, August 27, 2012

HOTEL CHECK CROATIA, part 2, Lesic Dimitri Palace


Lesic Dimitri Palace occupies an 18th century bishop’s palace in the heart of the old town of Korcula, next to the place where Marco Polo is reputed to have lived. The hotel feels hidden within the walls of the medieval town yet only a few moments away from the turquoise sea.

Steps down to the sea near Lesic Dimitri Palace

This hotel is very unique and discreet; and definitely 5 star. It does not have a hotel feel as the rooms are separated within the narrow streets.

Korcula town is rather small and a very historic place. There is no proof that Marco Polo was born here, but his name is on everything and that adds to the romance.

Its all about Marco Polo

The island was ruled by Venice from the 10th to 14th centuries and many buildings are still standing, adding Venetian grace, with stone churches, squares and alleyways.

Narrow streets on a leaf grid

From Korcula you can do lovely boat excursions to coves and beaches over turquoise seas - warm through September into early October.


Each of the 6 residences at Lešić Dimitri Palace has been beautifully restored and the each interior is subtly influenced by one of the regions along Marco Polo's Silk Road travels.
On a trip visiting our Select Collection properites in Croatia, we stayed in the 3-bedroom residence "Venice" which included an open kitchen and living area. It was very spacious and uniquely designed. Each of the rooms has an individual design and feels very classy. This residence accommodates 6 persons.

Bubbly on our long white table
in the suite/residence Venice

Jennifer (UK) on a tall backed chair in our Venice residence
Number of bedrooms in each:  Korcula (4 ), Venice (3), China (2), India (2), Ceylon (1) and Arabia (1).


Lešić Dimitri Palace has an indoor and outdoor restaurant, also a spa. We experienced excellent service at this hotel and have nothing negative to say. Just wonderful!

Our Select team dining at the hotel's waterfront restaurant:
Marita (Finland) left, Erland (Norway)
right back, Jennifer (UK) right front

How to get to Lesic Dimitri

This island is only 1 hour 30 mins from Hvar or 2 hours car drive from Dubrovnik plus a 15 minute ferry ride. By ferry all the way from Dubrovnik it is 3 to 4 hours. You can walk to Lesic Dimitri Palace from the harbor; takes only 5 minutes.

The whole town is like a sculpture in limestone

Tiny squares and narrow alleys

China suite bathtub

China suite - great relaxing balcony with view

Who to stay
Couples or families.

Note the images are all informal snapshots by Select (the last four images above were snapped on a prevous trip prior to inclusion of Lesic Dimitri Palace in our Select Collection).

The gentle signs of time

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

HOTEL CHECK CROATIA, part 1, Villa Dubrovnik


Dubrovnik - Pearl of the Adriatic.  In an unsurpassed location overlooking the fabulous baroque city is the stylish luxury hotel Villa Dubrovnik. The location of the newly renovated hotel is truly stunning and the entrance to the hotel amazing. From the top of the hotel, you take an elevator down to reception as it is built into the mountains.

Everything is brand new as the hotel has recently reopened after a 4-year renovation and much thought and consideration has gone into the design and hotel facilities.

The way to reception


This is a contemporary style hotel (56 Residential units) plus 6 suites and a 3-bedroom villa in the gardens. All sea view residences have a private balcony or terrace separated from the bedroom by a glass wall.


The in-out pool and spa facilities are very well done and a lovely place to relax, providing excellent spa programs including detox and so on. There is also a gym with private trainers. Our favorite area was the private blue and white deck chairs down on the rock platforms by the Adriatic, and the Rooftop SkyBar lounge with the most beautiful vistas in Dubrovnik.

A favourite spot: striped deck chairs below the chalky cliff

Another favourite spot: terrace with view of the walled city

We found the complimentary boat shuttle service to the Old Town to be excellent. The Venetian wooden boat is certainly a lovely way to arrive at the Old Town. Or if you would prefer to walk it only takes 15 minutes.

A lovely boat transfer to the city

Who to stay

Discerning customers looking for a relaxed stay a few minute's from one of the world's wonders.


This is a very upmarket hotel and a very popular combination with Aman Sveti Stefan in Montenegro. It is common for guests to stay at Villa Dubrovnik for 3-4 nights then Sveti Stefan for 3-4 nights.

You need to stay at least 3 days to see all the fantastic sights in Dubrovnik, leaving time over to chill at the rooftop bar, enjoy the spa or sun yourself by the sparkling turquoise Adriatic sea.

One minute by boat or a short swim will get you to this secluded cove:

A "private" cove

How to get to Villa Dubrovnik

Dubrovnik Interational Airport is located about 20 km to the south of the city - about 25 minutes by car.

You should know

This  hotel is closed during winter season.

Stylish details Villa Dubrovnik
Among the labyrinth of stone alleyways
in Dubrovnik