Hotel Vestibul Palace, Split $$$$
Concierge.com's insider take:
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.