Guest blogger Nicole Savini follows up her holiday in Hvar with a little downtime in Dubrovnik.
After three nights in Hvar at the Adriana Spa Hotel, we thought we thought we’d hit our peak relaxation potential. But when we walked through the doors at the Dubrovnik Palace Hotel, it was clear that we were in for another two days of delight.
Located on the Lapad Peninsula, about three miles from the historic Old City in Dubrovnik, the Palace is a perfect base for a day spent exploring historic Dubrovnik and returning to enjoy the peaceful beauty of this wooded seaside area.
We arrived by taxi and took it as a good sign when the driver said “Best hotel!” as he dropped us off. When we walked through the doors, we saw a view that knocked our flip-flops off. This was the most stunning view I have ever seen in a hotel lobby, possibly from any window. The photo can’t even begin to do it justice.
The hotel is built into a cliff, with the main reception on top, so we actually descended to our room to suit up and get ourselves out and in to the gorgeous, blue Adriatic Sea. What we found in our room made my heart delight: a terrace! I have been called a “terrace-ist” by my boyfriend, meaning that I am somewhat fanatical about a room with a terrace. You could give me a sleeping bag on the floor, as long as I can sit outside, I’m happy. But the Dubrovnik Palace has the terrace and more: basic, but spacious room, several on-site restaurants, a spa, a scuba center, and, did I mention views that will make you short of breath? In fact, every room at the Palace has a terrace with sea views to the Elafite islands. Now that’s my kind of place.
First stop was the pool and beach area. There we found more than enough beach chairs, a large pool complete with swim-up bar (was this hotel made for me?) and huge seaside area with ladder access to the sea. Most beaches in Croatia are where the rocky land meets water, so easy access isn’t always a given. We swam around the cliff from the main cove to find another section that belongs to the hotel, complete with a small snack bar and more beach chairs. My boyfriend was thrilled to find plenty of rocks to dive off of, while I floated dreamily in the warm water.
Early evening was spent (where else) on the terrace, enjoying a spectacular sunset with a glass of Croatian wine. Bliss.
There are plenty of dining options in the hotel, including Taverna MASLINA, which serves up Mediterranean fare, with, of course, an amazing view. But we decided after a day of total relaxation, it might be a good idea to stretch our legs. A woman at the front desk suggested we try a restaurant called Eden, just a short walk away. After a 10-minute walk down the hill, we arrived at the main strip of Lapad and found a sort of lazy resort town vibe. There were carts selling souvenirs, ice cream stands, and a band playing American hits at one of the outdoor cafes. It was a far cry from the congested Old City. We earned our dinner by walking up what felt like 2,000 steps to find Eden, perched above it all, in what seemed to be a residential community. It was late so we had the place to ourselves, save for a few locals, laughing and enjoying their wine. After a seafood dinner with delightful service, we strolled home, full, relaxed, and the kind of happy-tired that vacations are made for.
The next morning was early to rise for a full day of sightseeing. After a morning swim, we took advantage of the Palace’s enormous breakfast buffet. I may sound like a broken record, but I can’t help it: we enjoyed the magnificent view while dining.
Staying at the Dubrovnik Palace is a vacation itself. You could be perfectly happy there, never leaving to explore the larger city. But the highlight of Dubrovnik is its Old City and I’d encourage every visitor to take the short bus ride (it stops right at the hotel) there for some stunning architecture and fascinating sites. Walk the city walls, walk the cobblestone Stradun, drink from Onofrio’s Fountain, and don’t miss the Buza bars that are etched in to the cliffs outside the city walls. We did all that and more, but when the day ended and we’d had our fill of crowds and activity, we were happy to have an oasis to return to at The Dubrovnik Palace.