It's hard to keep track of the ever-rising number of high-end Dubrovnik hotels, but the city also packs some impressive hostel and B&B options. As is common in Dalmatia, high-season prices are significantly higher than in spring or autumn, and some venues close at some point in the winter – though this policy is changing as Dubrovnik becomes a more year-round destination. Read on for your guide to the best hotels in Dubrovnik.
Dubrovnik hotel guide
For once the slogan is right: this is indulgence on a grand scale. Here in lush Babin kuk is a state-of-the-art hotel with the Ragusa spa and its dizzying array of treatments (free with a minimum fournight stay), pools indoor and out (and separate kids' pool), fine dining Langosto luxury restaurant, cocktails in four bars – plus, of course, the guest rooms, 385 in all, plus 16 suites. There are also any number of conference facilities.
This leading lodging of the Valamar group has its own excellent section of beach; each of the 181 rooms has a balcony view of the sea and Elafiti islands beyond. There's also an indoor pool, children's entertainment and access to good-quality nearby tennis courts. Extensive works will see the President become a well-deserved 5-star in time for the 2014 season.
Dubrovnik has more than its fair share of cliff-hugging, sun-trap hotels and this particular feat of engineering is one of the more outstanding examples. The venue, cut into the cliff facing the sea, has been expensively refurbished to feature local woods and granite. All rooms have a sea view, as do the spa and highly rated Vapor restaurant. The Nevera Beach restaurant occupies a man-made cave right beside the private beach.
This ten-floor, 308-room luxury hotel reconfigured in 2004 was conceived in 1972, set in woodland paths at the tip of Lapad, in full view of the Elafiti isles. Today this is what everyone sees from their balcony, from the four bars, three restaurants, four pools and gym. Saunas, massage treatments and beauty procedures are on offer at the energy clinic spa. Also of note are the Lanterna Glorijet poolside bar and the Sunset Lounge cocktail bar.
A €22-million refit of Dubrovnik’s most prestigious hotel was followed by a grand reopening in 2008. Built in 1913 as a private villa, it became the Hotel Excelsior in 1930. Royals, writers, movie stars, they all stayed here. Acquired by Adriatic Luxury Hotels group in 2000, it now features four restaurants, three pools, a piano bar and spa. The adjoining Villa Rustica also contains luxury lodging for six. The Satu sushi bar and the luxuriant wellness centre endow the hotel with additional kudos.
Three years ago, this local Dubrovnik business Direct Bookers formed their apartment and villa rental company dealing with properties in the city, later extending to Split, Zadar and Sibenik. Priding themselves on delivering top quality stays, they bridge the gap between renters and travellers, offering some really unique properties you may not find on other big-business rental sites. With over 1600 villas and apartments in prime historical locations, they serve up a more personalised experience than staying in a hotel. They also offer various exclusions and tours in Dubrovnik, as well as car rental, transfers, and anything else you may need – they’re happy to lend an ear to your queries, and are great at dispensing local info.
The major reopening of a couple of years ago, the Villa Dubrovnik is a stunningly located, superbly appointed former three-star, set on a rocky outcrop a complimentary boat journey from the Old Town. Breakfasts and sunset cocktails take in the magnificent view – no wonder the hotel's slogan is 'Romance Forever'. Far enough away (1.5km/one mile) from the Old Town crowds to warrant a handy water shuttle service there and back five times a day, the summer-only Villa Dubrovnik allows tranquillity and isolation. All of the property's 56 rooms, set on descending terraces, have sea and Old-Town views, and all are beautifully appointed with access to a stretch of private beach, and pools indoor and out. For many, the most attractive facility, at sunset at least, is the Bar Giardino, a verdant, panoramic terrace and the ideal spot for a cocktail before the last boat to town. The Mediterranean flavours of the Restaurant Pjerin may just force you to stay, all the same. In the end, it comes down to detail: the bed linen of Egyptian cotton, the teakwood sea terrace and the goose-liver terrine with fresh black truffles on the room-service menu.
Dubrovnik is literally surging with backpackers, although the only officially registered hostel within the Old-Town walls for the past few seasons has been Fresh Sheets, run by an engaging Croatian-Canadian couple. Newly renovated for the 2013 season, the hostel is squeezed into a tall thin house at the top of several flights of steps. It has three floors of (mostly bunk-bed) dorms, with a shower/WC on each floor. Private doubles can also be arranged in one of the buildings nearby. The reception-cum-common room makes socialising easy, and you can forage for breakfast ingredients (included in the price) in the communal kitchenette. Watch out for the launch of Fresh Kathedral [sic] later this year, an atmospheric former nunnery behind Dubrovnik Cathedral holding a selection of double rooms (from €88) and a fancy apartment (€150), all sharing communal kitchen and dining area.