Hvar has always been the most charismatic island in Croatia. Although it is often labelled as a party island, it really is so much more. For a start, it is a favourite destination for people who own or rent yachts. Those people tend to be a favourite crowd to hang out with, so in the last decade or so, Hvar has become a place full of great restaurants, cool bars and fun beaches. However, it was missing one thing to become a truly important luxury holiday destination – a luxury hotel.
Ladies and gentlemen, the time has come; with the opening of Palace Elisabeth Hotel, Hvar now finally has the crucial ingredient to become the hot spot of Europe.
The hotel is located on the central position of the town of Hvar, just off the square that is home to the cathedral, the oldest theatre in Europe that is still in function and a set of cafés and boutiques set in old stone houses. The entrance is beautiful as the authorities ordered that this historical palace stays true to its original self. On entering the lobby of the hotel, there is a feeling of pleasant surprise. The hotel is elegant, with the exactly right amount of kitsch. The predominantly white interior is spiced up with art and details that are modern but with a hint of vintage, always respecting the history of the island and the building which was built on request of the Austro-Hungarian Empress Elisabeth, the most glamorous woman of her times. The rooms are wonderful, I was staying in a family suite connecting two rooms with a corridor long enough to maintain privacy between the rooms. I liked the fresh, elegant décor. There is a wonderful feel to the rooms and the fact that the hotel is set back a few steps from the main promenade secures a peaceful feel.
The restaurant offers an interesting mix of local and international dishes and has a wonderful view to the sea and an opportunity to people watch in the summer, with a backdrop of some of the biggest yachts in the Adriatic. Palace Elisabeth is a great place for couples, regardless of age. Having said that, I stayed here with my family (three very young children) and enjoyed it very much. The service was good, everyone seemed friendly and happy to serve their guests. If I could choose a season to spend my holidays here, I would probably choose Spring or Autumn when the season is not at its peak, but the Hvar sunshine is still strong and warm. Within a walking distance you will find everything you need, including a few good restaurants and boats that will take you to the best beaches.
If you are not a beach person, you can always stay by the swimming pool which is lovely. It is open to an atrium where you can enjoy an excellent Negroni and swim at the same time. This area is small but private and charming.
The SPA is small but with the right therapists, can become a good addition to this wonderful hotel. For those who need more treatments, there is always its sister hotel Adriana right across the bay. However, the thing with this Palace is that it will spoil you with its chic elegance and I doubt you will look elsewhere.
Palace Elisabeth, Hvar Heritage Hotel, Trg Sv. Stjepana 5, 21450, Hvar, Croatia.
Tel: +385 (0)21 750 400
Fly directly to Split with either British Airways, Croatia Airlines or easyJet, then take a Catamaran or private taxi boat to Hvar, which takes approximately 45 to 60 minutes.
Type of Hotel: 5-Star Hotel
Number of Rooms: 45 luxury rooms and suites including complimentary Wi-Fi.
Price Band: High
Insider Tip: Hvar is at its best in the Spring and Autumn. May, September and October are the most beautiful months and good for avoiding the crowds.
Reviewer’s Rating: 10/10
Ana Muhar is the London Correspondent for Jutarnji list, the biggest daily paper in Croatia.
Photographs courtesy of Palace Elisabeth Hotel