Croatia’s stellar Dalmatian coast has long been seen as an alternative contender to Italy’s Amalfi and as my taxi makes a tight cliff top hairpin turn onto an even tighter road clearly never intended for motor car use, the difference is obvious to me. No traffic. Just peace, solitude and birdsong; the timeless backdrop of old town Dubrovnik lying far below, just across the bay. This quiet narrow lane, the only way in to Villa Dubrovnik by road, is an ideal introduction to a world class retreat so perfect, it almost beggars belief.
From the small unobtrusive road side entrance I descend by elevator and enter a parallel universe, a place unashamedly devoted to luxuriously indulging my well being.
The glass encrusted lobby is framed by the vastness of the Adriatic behind, as is every one of the 56 well appointed guestrooms. Crisp Egyptian cotton sheets, Bulgari toiletries, soft terry robes and a comfortable balcony. Perfect and all is well with the world as far as I am concerned.
But there’s more. The hotel, though spectacularly modern, manages to blend faultlessly into the rugged Croatian cliff face, effectively using the golden sandstone crags as designer landscaping, and further down, by the water’s edge, as little platforms for the sun beds. Back up a level, and the restaurant terrace beckons; perhaps a 3-course lunch of delicious Mediterranean cuisine presented with a Croatian twist, or just a few tasty light bites. Either way, a glorious spot to take in the stunning views across the Adriatic from the garden island of Lokrum to the ramparts of Dubrovnik’s old city.
Up another level and a few laps of the indoor infinity pool can be the forerunner to a nap out on the adjoining terrace under the swaying drapes of a tented bed, itself a precursor perhaps to a treatment or two from a list as long as your arm in the unexpectedly spacious spa.
The great thing about really good boutique hotels is the way they become so familiar so quickly. You always find a favourite afternoon spot, the hotel team gets to know your preferences, you get to know their names, and nothing is too much trouble because frankly there is nowhere to hide. Villa Dubrovnik is also a member of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World portfolio, another check mark of excellence.
The old city may only be a 15 minute stroll away, but taking the hotel’s free motor cruiser across the bay from its own private dock is another little unique touch I become very fond of.
Villa Dubrovnik really does pull out all the stops to make you feel you are a little bit special and because you are in such a magical place you can’t help but feel special back. Service and style are words banded about like confetti in the hospitality industry, but take it from me Villa Dubrovnik delivers both very well indeed.
I want to stay at Villa Dubrovnik. How much does it cost?
Standard Deluxe Residences from £350 per room per night
Suites from £480 per room per night
Getting to Dubrovnik
British Airways currently operates 8 flights weekly from Gatwick to Dubrovnik The lead-in regular fare is £151.09 return including taxes/fees/carrier charges with hand baggage only fares from £119.09, both these levels are not now available until late October. Club Europe fares start from £401.09 return including taxes/fees/carrier charges, but again restricted availability during the summer may result in a higher fare.To book or for more information visit www.ba.com or call 0844 4930787.
Gatwick Express, the non-stop rail-air service between Victoria station and Gatwick Airport, departs every 15 minutes with a journey time of 30 minutes. Gatwick Express is the fastest and best way to travel between central London and Gatwick Airport with return tickets starting from £27.40. With an ongoing 10% discount, it is always cheaper to buy your ticket online at www.gatwickexpress.com
if you have an early flight stay the night at Gatwick, Holiday Extras offers discounted great value airport room only rates and a luxurious way to mitigate the discomforts of rising at dawn to catch
that early plane. www.holidayextras.co.uk Tel: 0800 1313 777