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Wellness holidays. Yoga retreats. Meditation breaks. They’re all well and good until you get there and realize you’re sharing a poky little room with a smug yoga freak, and the bathroom’s for the use of the entire corridor.
That's if you're doing it on the cheap, of course. Normally, for a five star wellness retreat, you’d have to go to Thailand (if you didn’t want to see half your annual salary disappear in a puff of incense-filled smoke). So we’re quite excited by the new Hotel Bellevue in Čikat, on Croatia’s Lošinj island, which opens Saturday.
Tucked away in Čikat’s pine forest, right on the Adriatic Sea, the Bellevue describes itself as “an oasis of hedonism…for all lovers of healthy holidays.”
There’s a spa, of course – or rather, a Spa Clinic offering things like immune system-protecting treatments as well as your standard massages and facials (and even your standard massages and facials use local sea salt and oils from indigenous plants). There are two pools – one indoor, one outdoor, both filled with seawater. There’s a “Fit Zone” with separate rooms for aerobic and anaerobic workouts (a separate weights room?). And there are special programs for health (Lošinj’s climate is said to be good for the lungs), vitality (including anti-gravity stretching) and wellness (basically just spa days). Approved!
Hotel Beaches / Hotel Beach Clubs / Hotel Bars / Rovinj Hotels / Croatia Hotels / Adriatic Hotels / Beach Hotels / Design Hotels / → All Tags
Nothing says summer like a beach club – at least, that’s what Hotel Lone in Croatia thinks. A trendy hotel (it’s a member of Design Hotels) in Rovinj, the Lone opened its pool area last summer, and has now launched a club, Mulini Beach, to join it.
As you’d expect from the kind of joint that has a concept store selling the work of local artists, it ain’t your bog standard beach club. Instead, there’s almost a lido feel to it, with a white stone and concrete platform arcing out into the water, surrounding a manmade pebble beach – the first in Rovinj, no less (not that Croatia exactly needs manmade beaches, having one of the greatest coastlines in Europe).
Historic Hotels / Romania Hotels / Estonia Hotels / Hungary Hotels / Relais and Chateaux Hotels / Poland Hotels / Croatia Hotels / → All Tags
If Paris, Rome and London have begun to lose their luster and you're looking for a novel way to explore Europe's vast terrain, don't fret. Way over on the other end of the continent, countries like Romania, Hungary, Poland, Estonia and Croatia beckon with 17th century castles, lush countryside, and unspoiled coastal cities. Here's a look at some of the most stunning old-world hotels to be found in the region.
Three Sisters Hotel, Estonia
This Relais & Chateaux-branded property is actually made up of three former merchant houses, built in the fourteenth century, and located within the walls of Tallinn's Old Town. Guest rooms (all renovated in 2003) convey the building's intimate, medieval vibe, but it's the suites that get the most play: four-poster beds, claw foot tubs, and spacious living rooms with the original ceiling beams.
Downstairs, guests can cozy up next to the fireplace, sip on vodka in the dungeon-like Beluga Bar, or head to the award-winning Bordoo restaurant for a five-course degustation menu (65 EUR pp) featuring Estonian specialties like onion consomme, steamed whitefish, elk "cocotte," beef fillet and apple with salted caramel.
Rates from $500/night.
Six more after the jump!
Dragons. Décolletage (translation: BOOBS). Intrigue, incest, bloodshed and bonking!
Yes, Game of Thrones is back on HBO for the March 31 Season 3 premiere. We now turn to Dubrovnik, Croatia, location for Season 3’s King’s Landing scenes and--if staff rumors are to be believed--the real-life setting for some truly awesome cast parties.
While those parties are over for now (though we can’t speak for Season 4), Hotel Bellevue, where many of the cast are said to have bunked up during filming, is offering a Game of Thrones package sure to get your geek-roleplay mojo in maximum throttle.
Reality TV Hotels / Travel Channel / Samantha Brown / Adam Richman / Bert Kreischer / Anthony Melchiorri / Croatia Hotels / → All Tags
Melchiorri filming 'Hotel Impossible'
Well, it's time for Croatia hotels to have their moment in the sun. Ohthey're already having that moment now, you say? Doesn't the Travel Channel know it, as they've just announced a huge one-hour special on the region to air in January, 2013. Called "Trip of a Lifetime," the show will take its big budget and big Travel Channel stars (including Bert Kreischer, Anthony Melchiorri and Adam Richman) to both Italy and Croatia to "...reveal the most incredible and undiscovered food, fun and hotels throughout this over-the-top vacation."
The show will be hosted by Samantha Brown, so we can definitely expect a healthy focus on those hotels most dripping with amenities. And now we know what these Travel Channel faces have planned for their late autumn: a romp around the Adriatic. Why the Adriatic? As the press release puts it, it's "up and coming":
Things just don’t seem to be working out for Tom Cruise, these days. He can’t even get a whole restaurant to himself and dine in peace! That’s apparently the latest woe of the newly-divorced actor who recently flew to Croatia from London, where he was based while filming the new movie "All You Need Is Kill".
On what looks to be Cruise’s “Croatia: Love Recovery Tour 2”(he’s said to have traveled there after the Penelope Cruz split), The Sun reports that he stopped by the Forza Mare Hotel in Dobrota, near Montenegro's coastline. There was a request to the management—could they clear their in-house restaurant so he could eat without a crowd?
We are suckers for a room with a killer view. We find that we are even more likely to forgive some minor hotel inconveniences if we can stare out the window at something pretty--yeah we are that shallow. Let's help out our fellow hotel mavens by uploading rooms with killer views to the HotelChatter/Flickr photo pool, or by sending the photo along to us. We will feature our favorites in this space from time to time. Remember to tell us the name of the hotel and the room number of the hot view.
The hotel promises on its web site "magnificent panoramic sea views" and this room delivers on that promise. Most of the hotel's 93 rooms have balconies and all have sea views. Plus if you book a suite, you get a jacuzzi in the bathroom! Rates start at 165 Euros for a classic double room. Suites start at 750 Euros.
You know how they charge a bit more for the rooms with a good view? There's one way to solve this dilemma and get no complaints about it, although it's a pretty hi-tech solution: build a rotating hotel. That's exactly what they're planning in Croatia where some spinning accommodation will be built on Šolta Island, near the city of Split.
But don't worry, it's not turning at a rate likely to make you dizzy. The design has it rotating 1.3 times per day, barely fast enough to notice at all, and at the right pace so that if you stay a few days, you'll get a different view at all times of day. It will be just a three-storey hotel and there will be a central hub including the reception, stairs and elevator that won't rotate, so you won't have to look for the front door in a different place each time.
We've long admired the view from the Regent Esplanade Zagreb in Croatia, and now we think they're offering a package to fit: the Castle Tour package. It's a combination of private tours and anything involving castles sure makes us feel that bit regal.
The deal includes two nights' accommodation in a Superior double room, with breakfast included as well as internet access. (They say it's high speed, but we have a different experience of Croatian internet access so we're not making any promises).
For a good few years, now, everyone’s been banging on about Croatia being the hot new Med destination. And now it’s got the Kempinksi seal of approval too – they’ve just opened the Kempinksi Hotel Adriatic on the Istrian peninsula in the north of the country as their latest pin on the board of world domination.
We approve of the choice of location – Istria (the closest bit to Italy) isn’t the most obviously touristy bit of Croatia, so presumably that will make for a nice feeling of isolation in your luxury. We also approve of the price – rooms start at €200 ($293 or Ł175), which isn’t bad compared to some of their properties – especially considering it’s a seaside resort.
The “seaside” bit sounds pretty fly, too – on a clear day, they reckon you can see Venice (only minus the hordes and the smell) across the water. Plus, you’ve got your free wifi, Bang & Olufsen TVs and three restaurants to choose from.
There you go – Croatia’s all blinged up. Definitely no excuse for not going now.
The Radisson Blu is getting bigger: they've just opened the Radisson Blu Resort & Spa Dubrovnik on this amazing part of the Croatian coast.
If you've forgotten that Radisson Blu used to be Radisson SAS, just check out our poem which explains it all and reminds you that Radisson Blu is meant to stand for cool. This place seems to fit that bill with 201 rooms with balconies overlooking the Adriatic Sea, plus 207 apartments of various sizes including kitchenettes. Plus there's a huge spa which includes a juice bar overlooking the sea, too.
As well as some 13 bars and restaurants on site, the Radisson Blu Dubrovnik even has a gourmet fresh market where you can pick up some groceries supplied by local bakers and fishermen – if you're the kind who misses home cooking, you can even get tips from these locals on how to prepare some Croatian meals and cook up a storm in your kitchenette. If you're lazy like us, though, you'll stick to all those restaurants.
Opening rates are starting from €150 ($205) a night, which includes breakfast and free internet access. Dubrovnik is really an ideal summer destination but it stays warm longer than much of Europe so a late summer or fall vacation will still work out here.
Croatian resort Villa Vilina has a neat way to give even lazy vacationers the best of both worlds: you can get your cultural, arty fix without even leaving the hotel. The month of June is peak season for their art affairs by the sounds of things, with three separate exhibitions parading through the hotel corridors.
Starting on June 5, paintings by Petra Ševeljević will form the "Parco" exhibition. Apparently her pictures are all about parks and black pine trees which seems a little quirky to us, but intriguing. Two weeks later the "Venus" exhibition opens with Petar Hranuelli's stone sculptures of "different female forms".
To finish off the big art month, Villa Vilina will host a photographic exhibition opening on June 26. Srđan Babić photographs are supposed to be pretty inspiring, but if they're not as much as you'd hoped for, the views from the pool deck will be a good substitute.
Villa Vilina is located on the small island of Lopud off the coast of Dubrovnik. Most of June falls into their shoulder season (until June 7 it's off-peak) and rates are reasonable, ranging from € 146 ($205) to € 255 ($360) depending on the suite size and the view. But the art's there for everybody.