Rosie Paterson visits five-star hotel Villa Dubrovnik and discovers a welcome Modernist retreat
A short vaporetto or bus trip away from old Dubrovnik, you’ll find Villa Dubrovnik, its pristine white façade at elegant odds with its rocky perch and the Adriatic below.
The old town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and was, impressively, a free state from the 14th century up until 1808, thanks in part to more than a mile of defensive walls. The city has since expanded and modern architecture, including that of the hotel, now frames the protected older part.
On paper it shouldn’t work, but Villa’s clean lines, Modernist architecture and pared-back bedrooms are a welcome escape from the Mediterranean heat and the older, crowded stone streets.
Rooms at Villa Dubrovnik
There are 55 bedrooms, a smattering of spacious suites – the central ones on the third floor are some of the best.
There’s also a series of villas, separate from the main building, which offer guests maximum privacy alongside all the benefits of staying in a luxury hotel and a location right on the water.
The facilities also include a spa – from next year, it will use locally sourced products – and a private beach, where you can enjoy a generous helping of pistachio ice cream from your sun bed.
Eating and drinking at Villa Dubrovnik
On-site Restaurant Pjerin is definitely worth a visit – or even two. It’s arguably one of the best in the area; I highly recommend the scallops, and there’s an excellent choice of often-overlooked Croatian wine too.
After dinner, be sure to end the evening with a nightcap on the hotel’s rooftop bar. It boasts picture-perfect views of the medieval town, illuminated at night, and also serves up moreish small plates.
Around Villa Dubrovnik
Take the boat to the islet of Lokrum, directly opposite the hotel and once the holiday home of Austrian nobility. A guide can introduce you to the botanical gardens and monastery as well as the resident peacocks and large rabbits.
Back on the mainland, you must walk the length of the old walls for a spectacular bird’s-eye view and to understand the extent of the shelling damage in the 1990s. Go first thing to avoid the midday heat and crowds.
The hotel can organise a walking tour of the old town. Guides are a fount of local knowledge, hugely proud of their city and can point out myriad hidden gems and local artisan shops.
When it’s time for a well-earned glass of something cold, pay a visit to blink-and-you’ll-miss-it Buza Bar, accessed through a tiny hole in the side of the city walls. Its alfresco terraces are often crowded, but the views more than make up for it.
Villa Dubrovnik is part of Mytha Hotels, a collection of seven five-star hotels across the Mediterranean, including Rome, Capri and Bodrum. Rooms start from £220 per night.