Top 10 best luxury hotels in Croatia and Montenegro

Monday newsletters always feature top 10 travel lists to inspire.

Today (April 13, 2020): Top 10 best hotels in Croatia and Montenegro.

Since joining the European Union and appearing in scenes from ‘Game of Thrones’, Croatia has been basking in the spotlight as a tourist hotspot. The country’s most famous sight is Dubrovnik, a UNESCO World Heritage Site whose city walls overlook the sapphire blue Adriatic Sea. But there is so much more to see and do. In seaside Split, you can wander the ancient Roman streets of Diocletian’s Palace, dating to 300 AD. You can head to the Istrian Peninsula for more beaches, fishing villages, vineyards and olive groves, or inland to Zagreb, a cultural capital with more than two dozen museums. And you can combine all that with the majestic mountains, medieval villages and secluded beaches of neighboring Montenegro, a tiny nation that is set for a serious resurgence of luxury holidays with several high-end hotel brands opening a property here in the near future (One&Only, Park Hyatt, Ritz-Carlton, etc …). Here’s my list of the 10 best luxury hotels in the stunningly beautiful countries of Croatia and Montenegro, with the number one being in a league of its own.

There is more information (with trip reports & Youtube clips) below my slideshow. Think I missed one? Leave a comment!

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10. SUN GARDENS DUBROVNIK (CROATIA)

Sun Gardens Dubrovnik, with its enviable Adriatic seafront location and extraordinary Mediterranean gardens, offers a unique experience, as well as easy access to countless Dubrovnik attractions. Understated elegance and supreme comfort characterize the spacious rooms and suites, all of which boast amazing views from a private terrace or balcony. Guests can explore a broad range of gastronomic variety in 16 restaurants and bars, relax at the award-winning spa, and lounge beside three freshwater pools or on a private beach. Tailor-made excursions include discovering Dubrovnik with its UNESCO World Heritage Site Old Town, or cruising the stunning Elaphite Archipelago.

  • Hotel website: Sun Gardens Dubrovnik
  • Tip: get complimentary VIP perks when booking via Classic Travel (e.g. room upgrade, daily breakfast, early check-in, late check-out, and two day access to Club lounge on the top floor)


9. PALACE ELISABETH, HVAR HERITAGE HOTEL (CROATIA)

Situated in the heart of Hvar directly above city hall, Palace Elisabeth presents spectacular views overlooking the marina and main square. The heritage hotel is considered a historic landmark with history dating back to the 13th century and stunning Venetian and Austrian architectural details. In 1899, the palace was rebuilt under the name Spa Hotel Empress Elisabeth, after the famous Austrian Empress Sisi, a generous patron of the hotel’s construction. With respect to the hotel’s rich history and tradition, the property is now called Palace Elisabeth and features luxurious rooms and suites with stunning details and unique design, an indoor swimming pool, terraces, and a spa, all with unparalleled views of the town and harbor.


8. ANANTI RESORT, RESIDENCES & BEACH CLUB (MONTENEGRO)

The name “Ananti” derives from terms meaning “joy” and “peace,” appropriate for a sophisticated resort perched on a lush hillside overlooking the Adriatic, a bright newcomer to the Montenegro coast. Every step of the journey invites guests to indulge in a stress-free sojourn. Inspired by Asian and Middle Eastern traditions of hospitality, the hotel comprises a selection of spacious, exclusive villas and residences, complemented by an abundance of amenities – an exclusive beach, a signature Asian-fusion restaurant, a Kids Video Room, and a fitness center, all nestled in the charming inlet of Rezevici, steps from Sveti Stefan and the city of Budva.


7. GRAND PARK HOTEL ROVINJ (CROATIA)

The Grand Park Hotel Rovinj is nestled in a fragrant pine forest on the seafront overlooking Katarina Island and the charming Old Town of Rovinj. This property, designed by the renowned Italian architect Piero Lissoni, is a celebration to fine dining with six restaurants and bars, including the signature restaurant Cap Aureo. Not to be missed is the Albaro Spa which reveals the secrets of Istrian wellness. Occupying 3,800 square meters, it is the biggest center of its kind in Istria. It extends over two floors of the hotel, with indoor and outdoor areas, including three outdoor pools located on the top floor of the hotel featuring stunning views. On the grounds of the hotel connected to the marina, guests can shop in exclusive boutiques and dine in a collection of restaurants.


6. HOTEL MONTE MULINI (CROATIA)

The story of the Monte Mulini Hotel is a uniquely told story of style featuring a bold architectural concept, warm and natural materials, carefully selected details and a synergy of design, functionality and elegance. Set in a lush Mediterranean landscape on a hillside, the hotel overlooks a beautiful small bay and offers sweeping sea views. It is only a short stroll along the marina from Rovinj, one of the most picturesque and romantic towns in the Mediterranean. It is characterized by its exclusive facilities, especially its restaurants and the wine cellar, as well as a highly personalized service.


5. THE CHEDI LUSTICA BAY (MONTENEGRO)

Stretched out along Traste Bay on Lustica peninsula, the Lustica Bay development features private residences, dining, shopping and a right-off-the-yacht marina. The elegant Chedi’s water-or mountain-view rooms have been designed in a breezy-chic style that reflects the maritime environment. Two restaurants, a lobby lounge, a beach bar carved into a natural rock, indoor and outdoor pools, and a spa draw both in-house guests and area residents. Sailing, kayaking, and access to a private beach with dedicated seating for Chedi guests are available in Lustica Bay, while Montenegro highlights – from wine and olive oil tastings to strolling through the medieval town of Kotor – are just a short drive away.


4. BOUTIQUE HOTEL ALHAMBRA (CROATIA)

A stay at the 51-room Boutique Hotel Alhambra seemingly suspends all time and space. Situated on tranquil Cikat Bay and surrounded by magnificent pine forest, this lavishly refurbished 1912 residence on Lošinj Island – once a favorite royal retreat – spares no expense in creating one of Croatia’s most bespoke and luxurious experiences. Walls of glass, clean lines, concept lighting and contemporary décor add a modern sensibility to its ageless grandeur, perhaps best appreciated from under a parasol on the private beach or on the restaurant’s terrace while enjoying a themed gastronomic experience and one of the area’s finest cellars.

  • Hotel website: Boutique Hotel Alhambra
  • Tip: get complimentary VIP perks when booking via Virtuoso (e.g. room upgrade, daily breakfast, early check in, late check out, and a 50 min massage for two).


3. HOTEL REGENT PORTO (MONTENEGRO)

While UNESCO-designated Boka Bay once harbored Roman noblemen and their palaces, modern seafarers now arrive by super-yachts to stay at Regent Porto Montenegro. The hotel anchors the heart of the glamorous Porto Montenegro village, and the 175 rooms and suites in three hotel wings boast a nautical theme along with sea or mountain views. There is a holistic spa and both an outdoor infinity pool and indoor pool, which connect during the summer. Dining choices include a six-course menu in the Murano Restaurant, as well as the chic Gourmet Corner, classy Library Bar and posh Pool Bar.

  • Hotel website: Hotel Regent Porto
  • Tip: get complimentary VIP perks when booking via Virtuoso (e.g. room upgrade, daily breakfast, early check in, late check out, and $100 USD food & beverage credit).


2. VILLA DUBROVNIK (CROATIA)

Almost six decades of tradition and unprecedented hospitality have made Villa Dubrovnik one of the most recognizable hotels in Croatia. Located on the cliffs above the Dubrovnik’s prestigious St. Jacob precinct and just a few minutes away from the fortified beauty of cultural landmarks, the newly rebuilt Villa Dubrovnik welcomes you with luxurious accommodations and offers spectacular views of the Old City of Dubrovnik and the island of Lokrum. Soothe yourself with the personalized treatments of the Villa Spa wellness club, discover the gastronomical miracles of the Chef de cuisine, or simply enjoy the privacy and comfort of your stay.

  • Hotel website: Villa Dubrovnik
  • Tip: get complimentary VIP perks when booking via Virtuoso (e.g. room upgrade, daily breakfast, early check in, late check out, and $100 USD food & beverage credit).
  • Review: read my review of Villa Dubrovnik here.


1. AMAN SVETI STEFAN, MONTENEGRO

Perhaps the most iconic image associated with Montenegro, the fortified island of Sveti Stefan dates back to the 15th century when Adriatic pirates held sway over this crystal-clear coastline. Attached to the mainland by a narrow isthmus, the restored village lies across the bay from Villa Miločer, a former royal retreat, and provides unparalleled access to the Bay of Kotor, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Along with 80 acres of grounds, 2 km (1,3 miles) of beaches and a standalone Aman Spa, these two historic sites comprise Aman Sveti Stefan. While the island’s historic exterior remains largely unchanged, the resort’s interiors have been restored and updated to meet contemporary expectations. There are 58 unique luxury lodgings, all coming with gorgeous bathrooms and with a myriad of views ranging from sea and rooftops to quaint courtyards and piazzas.


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7 Comments

  1. I’m missing the Esplanade in Zagreb and the Hilton Imperial in Dubrovnik on the list and would give the Grand Park in Rovinj a higher rating (maybe even number 2, behind Sveti Stefan) because of its style, amenities and the postcard views.

  2. Take a look at the Lemongarden in Sutivan, Brac, Croatia. A beautiful, exclusive 5-star boutique resort with excellent food. Located in the center of a very pittoresk small town.

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