Croatia’s dazzling Adriatic coast, Venetian architecture and elegant Habsburg towns are just a hint of what makes this corner of the Mediterranean so enticing.
There’s no shortage of chic island hideaways and regal grande dame resorts gracing its glorious coastline. Here are some of the best places to bask in the Croatian sunshine.
Hotel Excelsior, Dubrovnik
You get the most fabulous views of Dubrovnik’s walled Old Town from Hotel Excelsior, but you’re comfortably away from the crowds. This five-star hotel joins an elegant 1913 villa to a sleek modern addition, with a classy contemporary look throughout its 158 rooms. When you’re not lounging on the bathing platform and swimming in the clear Adriatic, you’re in the enormous wellness centre with its indoor pool and spa. All three restaurants serve heavenly views to go with their top-notch Mediterranean cuisine.
Price: rooms from €260 in low season to €800 in high season, including breakfast; adriaticluxuryhotels.com
LešiÄ Dimitri Palace, KorÄula
Deep within the walls of KorÄula Town is one of the dreamiest hotels in Croatia, certainly living up to its “luxury boutique” tag. Spread across several medieval cottages and an 18th-century bishop’s palace are five exquisite residences with chic décor inspired by Marco Polo’s travels on the Silk Road. They feature one to three bedrooms, and all have kitchens and plenty of lounging areas. After a treatment in the spa, book a table at the waterside LD Restaurant for superlative Michelin-starred dishes blending Mediterranean and Asian flavours.
Price: rooms from €365 in low season to €1,382 in high season, including breakfast; ldpalace.com
Hotel Bellevue, Lošinj
The gleaming Hotel Bellevue takes the prime spot in one of Lošinj’s most beautiful bays, Äikat, whose blue-green waters are sheltered by pine-covered footpaths. Floor-length windows flood 185 contemporary rooms with light. Nab a sun lounger on the private bathing platform, or have a lazy swim in the vast outdoor and indoor seawater pools when you’re not relaxing in the impressive spa. Try the superb Japanese fusion in Matsunoki, and take advantage of the dine-around option in the local restaurants if you go half-board.
Price: rooms from €250 in low season and €380 in July and August, including breakfast; losinj-hotels.com
Radisson Blu, Split
If you want to be close to Split but away from the throng, Radisson Blu gives you room to breathe the salty Adriatic air from its seafront position outside the Old Town. Its 252 stylish, modern rooms have balconies opening up to those glorious sea views, shared by the palm-shaded gardens and outdoor pool. Make time for the massive spa with its sea-facing indoor pool, plunge pools and saunas. Feast on those views at the Fig Leaf restaurant and the freshly grilled dishes at the Caper Grill. Down on the pebbly beach, chill out with a cocktail at the summertime beach club.
Price: from €219 in low season to €412 in high season, including breakfast; radissonhotels.com
This boho hideaway on the car-free island of Sveti Klement takes you into another world: one of tropical gardens, quiet pebbly coves and the most laid-back of atmospheres. Yet it’s only a short boat ride from Hvar Town. Set within the Pakleni archipelago, PalmiÅ¾ana Hotel is a collection of six rustic-chic and art-filled villas, six bungalows and rooms within a house in the garden, with an excellent restaurant serving fresh Croatian seafood.
Price: rooms from €120 in low season to €160 in high season; palmizana.com
Valamar Isabella Miramare, PoreÄ
There’s something romantic about being on an island resort, and Valamar Isabella Miramare is no exception. Set on the tiny island of Sveti Nikola a short hop from PoreÄ on the Istrian peninsula, the complex offers four- and five-star options, with 36-room Miramare and its wonderful sea views being the top pick. You’ll have your own beach to go with the sea-facing infinity pool, and all accommodation offers access to five restaurants and numerous bars.
Price: rooms start at €343 for the Miramare, and €275 for the four-star Isabella Hotel, including breakfast; valamar.com
Maslina Resort, Hvar
Bypassing trendy Hvar Town in favour of lower-key Stari Grad, Relais & Chateaux member Maslina Resort is set in the midst of olive and pine trees gently sloping towards the sea, with 50 serene rooms spread across six connected pavilions and three seaside villas. Its outdoor pools, seafront spa and beach bar add to the overall feeling of relaxation, and its own organic produce ends up on the plate in the acclaimed restaurant.
Price: from €360 in low season to €660 in high season, including breakfast; maslinaresort.com/resort
PineTree Boutique Apartments, Mljet
Facing the sheltered Saplunara Bay and its neighbouring sandy beach, PineTree Boutique Apartments is the most stylish place to stay on the lusciously green island of Mljet. Its 12 apartments have chic modern furnishings, along with balconies or terraces to take in fabulous sea views – which are just as fabulous from the infinity pool. Its restaurant is one of the best on the island, with homemade Dalmatian cuisine served by the friendly couple running the place.
Price: apartments from €178, including breakfast; pinetreemljet.com
Brown Beach House, Trogir
Trogir’s enchanting Unesco-listed Old Town is just a 10-minute walk from this smart hotel set in a converted tobacco warehouse. Brown Beach House is right on the seafront, with views of the town and the mountains across the channel. Its 43 light-filled rooms blend contemporary and traditional décor, and the loft rooms come with private outdoor hot tubs. The black-tiled outdoor pool is a beautiful place for a swim if you want a change from the little pebbly beach out front.
Price: rooms from €122 in low season to €343 in high season; brownhotels.com/
Villa Nai 3.3, Dugi Otok
There’s more than a hint of James Bond in this beautifully designed hotel dug into a hillside overlooking the Adriatic. Surrounded by ancient olive groves, Villa Nai 3.3 has eight luxurious suites and rooms that use local stone to g
o with understated Italian furnishings. It’s hard to tear yourself away from the infinity when you have such mesmerising views of the Adriatic, but the spa, the gourmet restaurant and the courtyard grill should do the trick. Only children 12 and older are allowed.
Price: rooms from €721 in low season to €1,213 in high season; villanai.com/
Mary Novakovich’s new Croatia travelogue/memoir, ‘My Family and Other Enemies – Life and Travels in Croatia’s Hinterland’, is published by Bradt in August and can be pre-ordered now at linktr.ee