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Dalmatian Coast Hotels

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Adriana Hvar Marina Hotel & Spa
Fabrika
Hvar Town , Hvar
Croatia 21450
Tel: 385 21 750 200
reservations@suncanihvar.com
www.suncanihvar.com/adriana

It's no surprise that this 59-room hotel became an instant favorite of the Croatian Riviera crowd when it opened in the summer of 2007. The Adriana's views of the megayachts are unparalleled, and the Top, the hotel's sleek roof bar, is the coolest place to party. On warm nights during the high season, it's the spot to sip a cocktail or a glass of Champagne while overlooking the twinkling lights in the harbor. The rooms are decorated in an Asian-inspired minimalist style, with dark wood floors; Japanese-patterned lamps; and touches of amber, persimmon, and lavender (the island's ubiquitous fragrant herb also pops up in lavender-scented massages at the on-site spa). But be careful when you book: Some rooms and apartments look out onto the city, but the best come with a million-dollar view of the mammoth vessels and humble fishing boats moored in the harbor.

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Dešković Palace
Pučišća , Brač
Croatia 21412
Tel: 385 21 778 240
h.palaca-deskovic@palaca-deskovic.hr
www.palaca-deskovic.hr

Just an hour by ferry from the mainland town of Split, the island of Brač is popular with tourists, but few folks go farther than the bustling seaside town of Bol. A drive through rolling hillsides of olive trees and vineyards leads you to Pučišća, a sleepy seaside village most famous for producing the stone used in the White House. It's also home to the Dešković Palace, a renovated Renaissance palace built in 1467. Run by an heiress and artist named Rožića, who teaches painting in her on-premises studio, the hotel has a cheery and low-key atmosphere and is often filled with return guests who happened onto the property sometime in yesteryear. All of the 15 rooms have high ceilings, wood floors, and one-of-a-kind furniture that one suspects may be hundreds of years old. You'll be drawn to Pučišća for the sleepy feel of a real fishing village, but you just might stay on for the hotel restaurant's tagliatelle with truffle cream sauce. It's nearly as divine as the Saint Jerome church, right next door.

Closed December and January.

$199 or less
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Hotel Korčula
Obala dr. Franje Tuđmana
Korčula Town , Korčula
Croatia 20260
Tel: 385 20 711 078
Fax: 385 20 711 026
www.korcula-hotels.com/en/hotels/hotel-korcula.php

Walled, medieval Korčula Town is sometimes (and rightly) referred to as little Dubrovnik: It has much of that bigger city's charm, but on a scale that's easily walked. Located on the main drag, the Hotel Korčula's facade, dating to 1912, is the property's strongest feature. There's also a large terrace with a restaurant and cafe—a great place to take in sunsets and live music. But the fact that this is the best hotel in town proves that the Croatian hospitality industry has work to do. The service is friendly and the restaurant fine, but—well, let's be kind and just say that the place needs modernization. The 20 rooms, with orange drapes and high, dark-wood ceilings, have a feeling of opulence trapped in time—with no air-conditioning. Ask for a room on the first floor, where large windows mean a chance for sea breezes.

$199 or less
Editor's Pick
Hotel Paula
2 Petra Hektorovića
Vis Town , Vis
Croatia 21480
Tel: 385 21 711 362
Fax: 385 21 711 362
www.hotelpaula.com

As the farthest continually inhabited island from the mainland, Vis was used as a military base until the early 1990s. That means there are none of the hulking concrete buildings that pose as hotels on other islands. Small, family-run pensions are the ticket here, of which our favorite is Hotel Paula. Located in Kut, a neighborhood with red-roofed buildings and oodles of old-village charm, it has ten rooms and three suites spread between two 200-year-old stone houses. Amenities include satellite TVs and AC, and a few rooms have kitchenettes. The communal outdoor patio serves as a gathering spot for wine tastings, breakfast, and after-dinner cigars. (The hotel caters to foreign, well-traveled types, many from England and Australia.) Make the owners happy and sample their wine—a decent domestic Vugava, a famous white grown on Vis, and a pleasant red called Plavac Mali. The most expensive suite is worth the extra kunas for its enormous hot tub and large terrace overlooking a 300-year-old church and the sea beyond.

$199 or less
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Hotel Podstine
Hvar Town , Hvar
Croatia 21450
Tel: 385 21 740 400
hotel@podstine.com
www.podstine.com

In the height of summer, Hvar begins to feel overrun with noisy Italians, British second-home owners, and German families. Hotel Podstine offers an ideal mix: It's a beautiful 15-minute walk along a seaside path from town, so it's close to first-rate nightlife, but totally quiet when you've had your dose of disco. Built under a rock cliff, the hotel also has its own beach. The 51 double rooms are big but unimaginative, with beds on tile floors and straightforward bathrooms. You will, however, find satellite TV, minibars, room service, and AC. And some of the sea-facing rooms have large terraces with wicker furniture overlooking the Pakleni Islands—a quick boat ride away. Be sure to ask for a sea view or else you may be facing that rock wall.

Closed November to March.

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Hotel Vestibul Palace
4 Iza Vestibula
Split
Croatia 21000
Tel: 385 21 329 329
info@vestibulpalace.com
www.vestibulpalace.com

Split, the busy mainland town, most often serves as a jumping-off point to the islands. The best reason to linger? Diocletian's Palace. Originally the retirement home of a Roman emperor (that would be Mr. Diocletian), today the 1,700-plus-year-old structure is jammed with apartments—some 3,000 citizens live here—as well as shops, bistros, and cafes. In 2005, it finally got a hotel worth staying in, too. Located between the Emperor's chambers and the Peristil Square, this is as close as you'll get to sleeping in royal quarters in Croatia, location-wise. And if the emperor were to commission digs today, we have a feeling they would be something like this. With a mere five rooms and two suites, it's a true-blue boutique, with locally produced custom-made contemporary furniture that looks fabulous against the naked, ancient stone walls. Gleaming blond hardwood parquet floors, heated towel racks, flat-screen TVs, marble bathrooms and low beds with leather-embossed headboards prove this to be the most modern place you're likely to stay on the coast—despite the centuries-old view out the window. It's a fantastic juxtaposition. With those few rooms, though, book early.

$200-$299
Editor's Pick
Le Méridien Lav
2a Grljevacka
Podstrana
Croatia 21312
Tel: 385 21 500 500
info-split@lemeridien.com
www.starwoodhotels.com/lemeridien/property/overview/index.html?propertyID=1956

Le Méridien, which opened in 2006, packs several restaurants, cafés, and bars—as well as a seaside infinity pool, spa, private beaches (with 24-hour lifeguards), casino, and marina—in and around a group of nondescript high-rise buildings right on the Adriatic. Located a 20-minute ride from Split (past the suburbs and across a barren stretch of coast), the hotel is obviously geared toward the all-in-one, no-need-to-leave resort crowd. Don't worry; there is a free shuttle to and from town, for when you crave architecture and history. Most of the 381 spacious rooms have direct sea views and are decorated in classic (if a bit bland) beige and navy blue with discreet touches of wood paneling and rich fabrics. Thankfully, the service, long a downside of staying in the area, functions at the international standard, including 24-hour room service and a knowledgeable concierge.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Lešić Dimitri Palace
Korčula Town , Korčula
Croatia 20260
Tel: 385 20 715 560
info@lesic-dimitri.com
lesic-dimitri.com

With 13 one- to four-bedroom accommodations, Lešić Dimitri Palace, in Korčula Town, the main settlement on the Dalmatian island of the same name, would surely have made world-roving native son Marco Polo very happy to be home. The explorer was allegedly born next door to the hotel—comprising a magnificent fifteenth-century limestone bishop's palace and five neighboring medieval stone cottages—which explains the rooms' exotic place-names: Arabia, Ceylon, China, India, Venice, etc. This sort of themed history would be gimmicky were it not for the fact that this is easily the most beautifully decorated small hotel in Croatia. All rooms except the cozy Ceylon, tucked into a barrel-vaulted stone space where olive oil was once pressed, are spacious, light, and individually decorated with stylish contemporary furniture in mostly ivory tones, and share a common decorative motif: moucharabieh, the intricate patterns of carved wooden Arabic-style screens, sometimes stamped into white-enameled steel, stenciled on plate glass, or carved in wood. Fully air-conditioned, they also come with well-equipped kitchenettes and terrific bathrooms—many with whirlpool baths. There's no bar or restaurant, but the charming concierge Toni Lozica has an insidery address book; he also runs the hotel's small spa as well as its rental sailboats, which make day-trips to neighboring islands. All told, this is a heavenly spot, but make it even better by reserving a room with an outdoor terrace if you come during the summer—and request detailed driving directions and a ferry schedule when you book so that you don't end up doing your own little Marco Polo from the Dubrovnik airport.

$199 or less
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Palmižana
Palmižana
Croatia 21450
Tel: 385 21 717 270
palmizana@palmizana.hr
www.palmizana.hr

Hvar Town is a great place to party, sure enough, but even hard-core types might consider taking a night or two off to rest their heads on the tiny island of Palmižana, 20 minutes from town by water taxi. Secluded and surrounded by empty beaches, this private family estate is a quirky, art colony–like ramble in the midst of 600-plus acres of protected nature preserve. The luxury doesn't come from slick amenities, though: It's aimed more to types who revel in a space so wonderfully overgrown with exotic flora, first planted more than a century ago. There are two family-operated restaurants, five bungalows, five villas, and two houses containing a total of three one-bedroom suites and three two-bedroom suites. Most are filled with abstract paintings collected by the compound's grande dame, Dagmar Meneghello. The grounds are great fun to wander around: Flowers cascade over stone walls, and there are many spots where you can linger alone and look out at the sea. In summer, the family hosts art exhibitions with works by young artists.

Closed November to April.

$199 or less
Editor's Pick
Pansion Marinka
Lumbarda , Korčula
Croatia 20263
Tel: 385 20 712 007
marinka.milina-bire@du.htnet.hr
www.korcula.net/firme/private/lumbarda/bire_marinka.htm

Wine tourism is big along the Dalmatian coast. After years of catering to oenophile tourists—mainly French—one family with a local vineyard decided to house 'em, too. Located on the island of Korčula, in the friendly wine-producing town of Lumbarda, the Pansion Marinka's mission is simple: It offers countrified hospitality centered around the love of vino. Frano and Visna Milina provide guests with organic food from their farm, a quiet atmosphere in a large house with 10 rooms and three suites, and lots of leisurely opportunities to tipple the quite excellent local white called Grk. (Breakfast and dinner are offered, but not included. It is, however, mad, mad cheap—and expect the wine to be had for well less than $15 a bottle.) The newly renovated, meticulously tiled rooms have comfortable beds and expansive terraces. Frano will also take guests out to harvest grapes in the vineyard or show them the workings of the farm.

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
Riva Hotel
Hvar Town , Hvar
Croatia 21450
Tel: 385 21 750 100
reservations@suncanihvar.com
www.suncanihvar.com/riva

The first thing you see when you disembark on Hvar island are the wicker lounge chairs and plush pillows on the patio of this harbor-front hotel, so prominent a landmark that it doesn't even get a street address. The newer Adriana hotel across the way gets all the buzz, while the quieter Riva attracts a clientele that is just as savvy, but decidedly less scene-obsessed. Completely renovated in 2006, Riva's 54 small but well-designed rooms are decorated with vibrant touches of deep red and polished wood accents, plus images of Brigitte Bardot, Anita Ekberg, and other great sex symbols of the past. The hotel is a couple of doors down from the bustling Carpe Diem club, and the clientele here is similarly young and beautiful. You can't beat Riva's embankment bar for relaxing with a cocktail at sunset; the view is just as stunning 12 hours later when you sip coffee a few feet from the yachts and catamarans.

$199 or less
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Villa Giardino
2 Novi Put
Bol , Brač
Croatia 21420
Tel: 385 21 635 900
villa.giardino@st.htnet.hr
www.bol.hr/online/VillaGiardino.htm

Of all the Dalmatian Islands, Brač is the sportiest. It has first-class windsurfing and kite-boarding, and seems to attract a fair number of young, narrow-waisted types looking for action. A lot of the action is centered around Bol, Brač's most happening coastal town. Among the uninviting 1970s-era state-run options around town, Villa Giardino is a true find. Located a five-minute walk from the beach, it has a sauna and massages, gardens, and a terrace overlooking the Adriatic sea that's a terrific place to have breakfast before heading out to the water. The 10 rooms have sea or garden views and satellite TV. The decor might throw off X-Games types, though: It's positively crammed with Art Nouveau sculptures, 19th-century Croatian oils, and 17th-century wooden angels. If that's your thing, request room No. 4, the Franz Joseph room. The bed is a dark wood, chunky, manly-looking half tester where the emperor of Austria himself slept when he visited the island in 1876. (No worries, the mattress is new enough.)

Closed October to April.

Information may have changed since the date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.