I get really excited when picking out hotels for my trips – I JUST LOVE HOTELS. In Croatia, there were so many types of accommodations to choose from, from family-owned villas to secluded luxury inns that double as wineries/restaurants, so I chose them ALL. I visited Croatia last month and had an absolutely fabulous time hopping around to different destinations and sampling all kinds of hotels. Here are a few of my favorites, to give you an idea of what kinds of accommodations to look for when you plan your Croatian vacation.
For a short stay in Croatia, it’s worth experiencing a luxury hotel, and there’s none better than the Hotel Boskinac, situated inland on the arid phenomena that is the island, Pag. An expertly run luxury inn of 11 rooms, a fine dining restaurant that serves up traditional Croatian food with a modern flair and a winery with what Anthony Bourdain once called some of the best wines in Croatia, this is much more than a hotel. The staff makes all efforts seamless, invisible. They are professionals who know how to make guests feel relaxed and pampered, without being overly proper. When you stay at the hotel, or eat at the restaurant, you become both royalty and a friend. Make it a 2-3 night stay, and eat at the hotel restaurant every single night – it’s open 24/7 for guests, and it’s a top restaurant in Croatia-you won’t eat like this again. The dishes combine local ingredients which are infused with wild sage, lavender and salt that naturally sit in the soil, and an adept hand of Chef (and owner) Boris Šuljić, who truly loves food. Rates start at $170/night.
Budget Friendly Hotels
Budget friendly hotels in Croatia are for travelers looking for a longer stay. Hotel Mediteran is an affordable choice, about 40 minutes’ walk from the Old Town center of Zadar or a 15 minute cab ride. Guests can also learn to use the public buses that come around frequently to get to the town center, although there are plenty of great restaurants to explore nearby. Hotel Mediteran also has a great big sparkling pool where you can lounge all day. The rooms are comfortable, clean and many have balconies with gorgeous views of the city and the Adriatic Sea. Budget-friendly hotels offer complimentary breakfast, and this one is no different. All types of meats, breads and cheeses are available in the mornings to start your day off right. The staff will offer to make any type of coffee you crave – espresso, cappuccino; they do it all. Some of the friendliest staff, they always start with a smile. Rates start at $50.
Airbnb is a great way to see the city of Zadar close up, and to utilize for a shorter stay where you may have less time to explore. The Mona Lisa Airbnb is a great example of this. Situated in the Old Town, right on the water, this Airbnb is compact, but clean, organized and modern. With a balcony overlooking the Adriatic Sea, you could sit out there for hours and people-watch, or listen to the nearby Sea Organ, a top attraction in Zadar. The host, Mondena, checks guests in, offers restaurant recommendations in the area, and walks you through the amenities in the apartment, like any great hotel would do, but then leaves you to be independent. Rates are currently at $82.
Family Owned Villas
Family villas are frequent in Croatia, especially in the National Park area of Plitvice Lakes. Villa Knezevic is the epitome of charming, with dark wood contrasting with white walls, almost tudor-esque. The hotel offers modern, clean, rooms (balconies included!) as well as an on site bar. Nearby is a children’s playground, basketball court, soccer fields and a grocery store. It’s a 15-minute walk from Entrance 2 to the National Park so you get started with hiking the beautiful ravines, waterfalls and sunny trails at your own pace. It’s a great place for groups, as the villa and surrounding area acts as a campground, with people from all over coming together and hanging out. Room rates start at $60 per night and guests can opt in to breakfast at a small price. Keep in mind that these family-owned villas are normally cash-only.
*Hotel Boskinac provided one complimentary night and one complimentary meal, Hotel Mediteran provided two complimentary nights.
Heading to Croatia soon? Tell me where you’re going! Let’s talk on Twitter @MaryinManhattan.