Where to stay in Rovinj...
Rovinj’s big hitter until Hotel Lone opened its doors, Monte Mulini has five-star facilities to match its fabulous setting. All of the 99 rooms (including 14 suites) are fitted with contemporary-design carpets, bespoke furniture jacuzzi-tub bathrooms and balconies overlooking a small open-air pool. The hotel brushes up to a rocky beach with natural shade from nearby greenery, while a string of cove-like beaches run along one bay to the south. Sports facilities include four clay tennis courts, a basketball court, a bowling alley and gym. A fabulous spa area and an indoor pool are shared with the next-door Lone. Med fusion dishes feature at the Mediterraneo and Wine Vault restaurants, both overseen by award-winning chef Tomislav Gretić.
Right in the Old Town and close to the sea, this recently renovated 18th-century townhouse of four studio apartments offers tasteful lodging, a great location and extra services – laundry, laptop rental and cycle hire included. The friendly staff are keen to point out the other sporting activities close to hand: tennis, mini golf and kayaking, all paid extras. There are boat excursions too. A cot can be provided upon request. There is a children’s pool and playground close by. Kids up to the age of 12 are charged half-price if accompanied by two adults.
The kind of hotel that will be gracing the architecture textbooks in fifty years time, Hotel Lone is also a fine place to stay, offering the kind of smooth interior design that soothes an relaxes rather than just drawing attention to its own colour scheme. Probably the most important contribution to the Croatian hospitality industry since the 1970s, the amorphous-looking, Y-shaped Lone was designed by Zagreb architects 3LHD to suit an awkward, forested hillside site. Filled with contemporary art and design, it is very much a showcase for the Croatian creative industries, even down to the staff uniforms provided by Zagreb design team I-GLE. The hotel is full of fascinating features, with sculptor Ivana Franke’s wiry installation hovering above a multi-storey lobby linked by sweeping spiral staircase. Rooms feature solid oak desks, swanky-showroom furniture, and cheeky glass partitions where the bathroom walls should be. ‘Jazz’ rooms have jacuzzi-style dipping-pools right on the balcony. There is a fully equipped spa centre with indoor pool, and at least one of the hotel’s three restaurants, (the L restaurant) has a serious gourmet reputation. Decked out in heavy textiles, the bottom-floor nightclub looks (probably intentionally) like something from a David Lynch movie.
A much talked about property in the heart of the Old Town is this beautifully restored four-unit boutique hotel of studio apartments. With its old window shutters and classic furniture from the turn of the last century, the Casa Garzotto is already winning repeat custom – two of the apartments are heated by a roaring fire in winter. Breakfast consists of a varied selection of buffet treats partaken in the ground-floor tavern bar.
This small, three-star hotel of 17 rooms and three suites is located in a residential quarter near the sea, accommodating a sauna, day bar and mansard room fitted with two decent telescopes for stargazing. Breakfast includes own-made jams and marmalades, and there are supplementary rates for three- and four-course dinners thrown in. Pets welcome.
Rovinj’s other five-star is in a beautifully restored old building on the site of a 17th-century bishop’s palace. The location, along a narrow, winding stone-paved street halfway up the hill that defines Rovinj’s Old Town, is both quiet and central. The lobby, the museum-quality stairway and the individually styled rooms all ooze antique opulence. The garden café, hidden from the street by ancient stone walls, and the sheltered rooftop loggia, with its beautiful sea views, provide stunning sanctuary. The ‘wellness area’ includes a sauna, jacuzzi and solarium. It has a wine cellar where you can arrange tastings. Only 24 rooms, so book early.
Many high-end hotels today in Croatia have spa facilities – none occupies a whole island. St Andrew’s, referred to as Crveni otok, or Red Island, houses this four-star hotel complex of 376 rooms (plus 50 at the nearby Park Hotel), four restaurants, three bars and three pools. A beach is within 50 metres, while activities include yachting, windsurfing and football on a real pitch. As for the spa, there’s relaxation and recharge massages, whirlpools indoor and out, Turkish and Finnish saunas and Kneipp baths. All is set amid lush greenery, the interior imbued with relaxing scents and colours.
The grand old lady of the Rovinj accommodation scene has been treated to a thorough makeover. The town’s oldest hotel, the former old-fashioned three star, it has been relaunched as a boutique hotel complete with designer interiors, contemporary art on the walls, and chic social areas including a French-flavoured restaurant and popular terrace café. It hasn’t lost any of its charm and now looks every inch the upscale accommodation choice; the suavely decorated rooms are bright and airy, and count tea- and coffee-making facilities among the extras.