Eating breakfast in the sunshine is always a treat, especially when butterflies flutter around you to the sound of church bells.
Listen carefully as you dine in the courtyard of Spirito Santo Palazzo Storico in Rovinj, Croatia, and you might hear seagulls and waves, too. That’s because this boutique hotel is in the old town, which means you’re never further than a five-minute walk from the harbour, market or restaurants on the rocks.
Dating from 1920, the hotel was originally built for a wealthy Italian family, before it changed hands and was left to ruin.
When team Spirito Santo took over, they spent 18 months restoring the building to its former glory, opening it as a hotel in August 2017. An extension, featuring a luxury suite, rooms with original stone and beams and a breakfast room in the basement, will open in June 2019.
While Spirito Santo’s exterior is protected, a Venice-based architect restored the internal stone walls and well and added new beams in the reception. The hotel has seven rooms: two standard, three deluxe and two superiors.
I stayed in the attic, a cosy room with an extremely comfortable bed beneath a sloping roof that had skylights with electronic blinds. It also featured a toilet with glass doors – a rather odd choice for an adults-only hotel that’s popular with couples.
If your budget allows, opt for Monte, a superior room which has access to the roof. From here, you can sit at a table that overlooks the sea, church and neighbouring rooftops decked in terracotta tiles.
You can see the old town in a few hours or in a leisurely day, so if you fancy exploring further afield staff can arrange vineyard tours, transport to a beach, day trips by boat and bike hire. Cycling 40 minutes to Punta Corrente Forest Park, before cooling off with a dip in the sea, will make your trip.
Back at the hotel you can enjoy a glass of local wine in the hotel’s aperitivo bar, which has an open fire during winter. No doubt you’ll go to bed in high spirits.
Spirito Santo Palazzo Storico, Augusta Ferrija 44, 52210 Rovinj, Croatia.
Tel: +385 52 634 750
The hotel is located in the historic town centre of Rovinj and just a one-minute walk from the market. Pula Airport is 25 miles from the hotel and there is an Airport Shuttle can be arranged at an additional charge.
Type of Hotel: 4-Star Boutique Hotel
Number of Rooms: 7 double rooms and complimentary Wi-Fi throughout.
Price Band: High
Insider Tip: Due to the hotel’s steps and uneven floor, this hotel is not suitable for elderly people or wheelchair users.
Reviewer’s Rating: 9/10
Sarah Riches is a London-based travel journalist. She tweets @healthy_holiday
Photographs courtesy of Spirito Santo Palazzo Storico