Croatia is a new go-to destination in Europe and our friends at Mr&Mrs Smith have recently added three boutique hotels in the Croatian cities of Dubrovnik, Korcula and Split. Here is a snapshot of their city reviews and new listings to pique your wanderlust.
Dubrovnik is somewhere you’ll love to get lost. Wander though the weaving cobblestone streets that lead you from the city gate to Sponza Palace to the harbour, whose deep blue water is just begging you to dive right in.
Literary types from Byron to Bernard Shaw have lost their hearts to Dubrovnik: the former called it the ‘Pearl of the Adriatic’; for the latter, it was ‘paradise’. Sampling the fresh fish brought in from the Adriatic is a must, especially when it’s accompanied by a view over the old harbour.
Villa Dubrovnik is Croatian through and through: built from grey Brac stone, styled by two local designers, and boasting Adriatic views that a seagull would migrate for. Days here are idled away at the flower-flanked outdoor pool, serene spa and ambitious Mediterranean restaurant that’s worthy of a Michelin star. Visit: http://www.mrandmrssmith.com/au/luxury-hotels/villa-dubrovnik
Just off Croatia’s sunny Dalmatian coast – amid an archipelago of tiny, beachy islets – is Korcula, an island crammed with cobbled streets and classic waterfront seafood restaurants serving up the morning’s catch. The town of Korcula, a mostly mediaeval settlement at the eastern tip of its eponymous island, overlooks the clear waters of the Adriatic and the tiny neighbouring islands beyond; within the city walls, the cobbled streets of pedestrian-only Old Town are well worth a wander. Inland, there’s a wealth of wineries waiting to be explored. July and August are the Dalmatian coast’s busiest months, but May and September are almost as warm.
Make yourself at home at Lesic Dimitri Palace, an ornate jewel of a hotel in a grand 18th-century bishop’s house. The non-traditional hotel – it’s more a collection of serviced residences with a restaurant and spa – is within the historic city walls of Korcula. Hide out in one of the self-contained apartments, dine on the freshest of seafood or take the hotel’s handsome sailing boat out and explore the archipelago just off the Dalmatian coast. Visit: http://www.mrandmrssmith.com/au/luxury-hotels/lesic-dimitri-palace
The sheltered Adriatic port of Split features white marble streets and is a living museum of a city strewn with relics from Roman Emperor Diocletian’s time during the second century.
The green oasis of Marjan, in the west, is a taste of the Croatian countryside, ideal for a long walk, bike ride or a climb along its southern cliff-face for the more adventurous. If you want to blend in with the locals try your hand at the Croatian beach game of picigin on Bacvice beach, Split residents’ beach of choice. Around the bay from Split is the historic town of Trogir, which boasts an impressive blend of Romanesque and Renaissance architecture… it’s a combination fit for any modern-day emperor.
Historic Hotel Vestibul Palace in Split is a regal Roman stay, moulded from three architecturally diverse palaces within a waterfront World Heritage Site. The old walls are still in place, but there’s nothing 4th century about the decor, with contemporary modern furniture, a glass atrium and a masculine colour palette. Visit: http://www.mrandmrssmith.com/au/luxury-hotels/hotel-vestibul-palace
Getting there: Dubrovnik Airport is located half an hour’s drive south of the city with flights to European locations such as London (with British Airways), Birmingham (with Monarch), Manchester, Madrid, Paris, Zagreb and Moscow (www.airport-dubrovnik.hr).
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