Most people will recognise Dubrovnik from dramatic tv series and film scenes. This beautiful and well-preserved UNESCO World Heritage old town provides an atmospheric backdrop for hit dramas such as Game of Thrones and Robin Hood.
I had never visited this magical part of Croatia before so jumped at the opportunity when Adriatic Luxury Hotels invited me out for a few days with a group of press. We arrived off the first flight of the day, just in time for lunch. It is only a short drive from Dubrovnik airport to Hotel Excelsior, our home for the next three nights.
Hotel Excelsior has recently undergone a grand transformation and every part of the hotel feels sparkly and new. I was staying in one of the bedrooms in the old part of the hotel, not that you’d know from the inside, the suite was contemporary and luxurious, stylish with a pretty grey and pale pink colour theme. I instantly loved the room and excitedly looked around, taking photos of every corner while I tried out every chair and sofa for comfort.
In the bedroom a giant bed was topped with a pink blanket and heavy curtains hung by the windows. I particularly loved the vintage light fittings that added a touch of retro glamour to the rooms. The en-suite bathroom was indulgent and spacious with a bathtub, power shower and Provencal L’Occitane toiletries.
Once I’d investigated the suite I allowed myself to step out onto my mini balcony… the view of the rippling Adriatic sea was stunning. Down below guests were soaking up the sun and dozing under umbrellas, with the expansive sea edge as their natural swimming pool. I had heard that Hotel Excelsior had the best hotel views in Dubrovnik, but nothing could prepare me for this beautiful landscape.
The next few days passed in a flash of elegant meals, salty sea swims and interesting cultural excursions. In just a few days you can truly immerse yourself in the heritage and foodie traditions of this part of the world. Highlights for me included a trip to the small town of Ston where we enjoyed oyster tasting (fresh from the sea) and local wine tasting.
On our final day we headed out to explore the Elafiti islands on a private Dubrovnik Boats yacht tour. We cruised around the archipelago of thirteen islands on the crystal clear waters, it was heaven. When it was time for lunch we stopped at Bowa, a restaurant on the island of Šipan. Bowa has a cluster of bohemian beach huts, each set up for a group lunch… we feasted on fresh fish and simple salads before sunbathing on the edge of the sea shore.
Though small, the old town of Dubrovnik has plenty to explore and discover. I recommend walking the ancient city walls, it takes around 1 hour to do the full circuit and costs approximately £20. The panoramic views of the terracotta red rooftops is a truly wonderful sight. Back on street level there are plenty of charming buildings and monuments to see too, each offering an insight into the rich and long history of Dubrovnik.
In the short time I had here I managed to hunt down a few of the town’s best foodie spots… head to Cogito for speciality coffee, Proto for a delicious dinner, and Buza Bar for atmospheric evening drinks (and to watch the locals jump off the rocks into the sea!)
Each afternoon I looked forward to returning to Hotel Excelsior to relax and use the great facilities. The spa is the perfect place to unwind after a day of sightseeing, and I was lucky enough to receive a signature massage treatment here. The two restaurants, Prora and Sensus, are popular with hotel guests and also those not staying at Excelsior. On the first evening of our trip we had a particularly memorable meal at Sensus… the chef made us a few delicious signature dishes paired with Croatian wines. When you stay at any Adriatic Luxury Hotel property you are also welcomed to the restaurants at the other hotels, we visited the magnificent Villa Sheherezade for breakfast and Maslina Tavern at Dubrovnik Palace for dinner.
After three days at Hotel Excelsior I felt refreshed and revitalised. There is something so special about Dubrovnik and this coastal corner of the world, and I feel very lucky to have experienced it with such a welcoming and luxurious hotel group.
I stayed as a guest at Hotel Excelsior. Double rooms at Hotel Excelsior start from 365 EUR (approx. £321) per night. Book www.adriaticluxuryhotels.com/en or call +385 20 353 000