The small seaside town of Zadar, hidden behind fortified stone walls on the edge of the Adriatic, is filled with many charms: narrow cobbled streets, ancient ruins and treasures from its Renaissance heritage. Our 4-star boutique hotel in Zadar's historic center, just steps from the Arsenal, was built on the remains of a former 13th-century Venetian medieval fortress at the tip of the peninsula. This Relaix & Chateaux property features 27 artfully designed rooms that exude simple elegance, with Art Deco-themed handmade wooden furniture, polished teak floors, and portions of the old tower's stone walls incorporated into the varied spaces. En suite bathrooms have walk-in shower, organic toiletries, hair dryer, and robe and slippers. Rooms are decorated in soft grays and neutral tones and have air conditioning, complimentary Wi-Fi, satellite TV and direct-dial telephones.
The cozy Kristal aperitif bar invites guests to relax with a drink at the end of the day, indoors or on the open-air terrace. The famous Kastel restaurant is headed by a visionary young chef who seeks to imbue "the Dalmatian way of life" into every dish. Inspired by traditional Mediterranean cuisine, he pays homage to a rich heritage that he constantly reinterprets to make locally sourced gourmet fare modern and creative. The Castello Spa and Wellness Center offers a sauna, hot tub and lounge area with a wide range of massage and spa treatments that can be booked individually.
Hidden among vineyards and olive groves on the island of Pag, Boskinac is a small, luxurious family-run hotel. Its proprietors describe it as "a fragrant oasis born out of love for rock, salt and wine," featuring 11 exquisite guest rooms, a restaurant and winery that provide an integral, intimate experience of local hospitality. The rural setting is bathed in the aroma of pine, savory, sage, thyme, mint and freshly cut hay. Several terraces front the hotel with views over the colorful bougainvillea, roses and Mediterranean greenery, the outdoor fitness pool, and the distant sea. Guests are spared no comfort: serene rooms are individually decorated in natural tones and materials, with air conditioning, desk, mini bar, safe, satellite television, telephone and high-speed wireless Internet.
Dining at Boskinac is a highlight. The restaurant is known far and wide for its interpretation of traditional coastal cuisine, transformed in an artistic modern way. The chef pays great respect to the culinary heritage of the island, with a wide selection of fish and lamb dishes, cheeses, prosciutto, fresh seasonal produce, accented with local olive oil, herbs and honey. Meals area are accented with the best wines from the Boskinac cellar, in addition to a large offering of other fine Croatian wines.
Design Hotel Navis
Perched on the very edge of the water on a secluded stretch of Croatia's Opatija Riviera, this contemporary boutique hotel offers a stay as memorable as its setting. Every room fronts the sea, with a full wall of glass that lends a feeling of being one with the marine environment. Spacious rooms have sleek, modern furnishings in jewel tones. A minimalist design vibe complements rather than detracts from the view commanding your attention. Rooms are air conditioned, but each has a private balcony accessed through a glass door for when you want nothing between you and the salt air. Choose one king or two twin beds. Amenities include flat screen satellite TV, Wi-Fi, safe and mini bar. Roomy bathrooms have stone walls, a walk-in glass shower, vessel bowl sink, bathrobes and slippers, hair dryer and high-end toiletries.
Every element of the hotel is designed to capitalize on the absolutely stunning coastal setting, including the sun-drenched terrace hugging the rocks and the dining veranda built over the water. Meals here are a spectacular experience. Situated on a cliff overlooking Preluk Bay, the restaurant offers an enticing view of the Kvarner archipelago as you enjoy an inspired menu of seasonal and local ingredients crafted into creative gourmet fare. The menu may feature Adriatic tuna carpaccio, lobster, fresh oysters, steak with fresh Istrian truffles, gregada fish and potato stew and homemade bread baked in the wood-burning oven.
Time permitting, indulge in a treatment at the Senses Spa from a full slate of therapies including massage, facials, scrubs, steam bath, Finnish sauna and more.
Hotel Vela Vrata
Vela Vrata means "Great Gate," referring to the stone arch at the entrance to the Old Town of Buzet, the namesake of this 4-star boutique hotel. Blending traditional ambience and contemporary comfort, it occupies a historic building on a narrow cobbled street that was restored to become a charming hotel. Each of the 19 rooms is unique in detail, with antique wooden furniture, Kashmir rugs and historic artifacts that adorn the walls. All rooms have air conditioning, Wi-Fi, satellite television, mini bar and safe. Bathrooms have radiant heated floors, soaking tubs, hair dryer and toiletries. Windows graced with turquoise shutters showcase views across the surrounding hills and Mirna River Valley. Broad umbrellas shade al fresco dining tables where Istrian specialties are served, paying homage to the celebrated culinary heritage of northern Croatia. Local highlights include truffles, prosciutto, boskarin (Istrian ox), wild asparagus, mushrooms and olive oil, complemented of course with fine Istrian wines from the hotel cellar. A spa features an indoor freshwater swimming pool, hydromassage bath and Finnish sauna.
Hotel Ribno Bled
Hotel Ribno just outside the town of Bled offers a most memorable experience, with charmingly rustic mountain decor and a commitment to sustainability exemplified in its status as Slovenia's first (and so far only) zero waste hotel, since 2018. Ribno's exterior incorporates alpine architectural touches that complement its forested setting. Its 58 rooms are distinctively furnished with extensive natural materials and colors, including lots of handmade features crafted of old, solid wood—from knotty pine walls to live edge headboards and log picture frames made by the owner. Rooms have air conditioning, cable TV, telephone and Internet access, plus private balconies overlooking the spruce forest and adorned with planters of geraniums for added alpine appeal. The reception area, lobby, restaurant and bar have all been recently renovated. A small wellness center features a Finnish herbal sauna, infrared sauna, whirlpool, relaxation room and massage space for a variety of therapeutic treatments. Three restaurants on site offer varied dining experiences, including the Zero Waste Restaurant where guests can see firsthand how to use and cook food and dispose of food waste in a conscientious, environmentally sound manner. Old photos and memorabilia from Bled add to the ambience in the dining rooms, creating a sense of historic nostalgia for guests.
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