Tracey Ramsden discovers something for everyone at this family-friendly luxury resort
There’s no doubting that Dubrovnik, with its maze of ancient streets and picturesque port, is one of Croatia’s most charming cities.
But if you seek an oasis from the hustle and bustle of the Old Town, then my advice is to stay off the beaten track – and there’s no finer place to do so than at Sun Gardens.
This upmarket, family-friendly resort is around 30-minutes drive from both the airport and Old Town. A member of the Elegant Resorts collection (alongside hotspots such as Crete’s beautiful Daios Cove), it combines practicality (think seven on-site restaurants, three pools and it’s own private beach), with unapologetic luxury.
Facilities at Sun Gardens
The resort is vast, but it has a boutique feel, thanks to little pockets of calm – I spend one memorable afternoon enjoying a Swedish massage treatment (£79 for 50 minutes) in the Spa Centre.
The Spa Centre is the perfect ying to the ‘lively’ family pool’s yang. It may sound like two worlds colliding, but it works. From the moment we are welcomed with a platter of fresh fruit and bowls of candied orange peel, everyone is happy.
Down a set of rocky steps, the pebble beach gives some serious Ibiza vibes. Here there are rows of huge day beds, white canopies and chilled out house music, with waiters on hand to bring cold cocktails.
Eating at Sun Gardens
As one who finds an extensive menu intimidating, it’s reassuring to discover that the resort restaurants are designed to cater to all tastes.
There’s a seafood restaurant, The Market (go for the stuffed squid with pancetta, followed by the prawn risotto, £15) and an exceptional pizzeria, La Pasta, where we find ourselves most lunch times (margarita pizzas start from £10).
Elsewhere, there’s also a casual Mediterranean bistro and a barbecue grill aptly called The Butcher.
Around Sun Gardens
Further along the beach, there are water sports and a rock fashioned into a jetty where we take turns to dive off the 15-foot drop, headfirst into the crystal clear waters. Swimming the cool, open-water is exhilarating.
A standard taxi ride into Old Town costs around 245 Croatian kuna (around £30) and takes 30 minutes – but one afternoon after chatting to a local guy down by the beach, things turn a bit Bond.
He offers to take us in to Dubrovnik by speedboat. The kids love it, as they each take turns on the wheel, and I hold on a little tighter than normal.
We bounce along smugly, wind in our hair, before arriving in port a cool 15 minutes later, squeezing a space between a cruise ship and Roman Abramovich’s yacht (probably).
A seven-night holiday at Sun Gardens costs from £975 per person, based on two people sharing a Standard Room including breakfast, economy flights, private transfers and UK Airport lounge passes. For further information, visit elegantresorts.co.uk.