In recent years, Dubrovnik’s profile has exploded thanks to that small-time HBO show Game of Thrones. Most of the King’s Landing scenes — featuring the likes of Sophie Turner, Sean Bean, Peter Dinklage, Emilia Clarke and Lena Heady — were shot in the Old Town making it a must-visit for “Thronies.”
For my debut trip to this gem of a city — and indeed to Croatia — I stayed at the modern resort-style hotel Rixos Premium Dubrovnik and very much enjoyed the glamorous space in this exceptional setting. The cliffside property boasts three restaurants, making it a heaven for foodies, an enormous spa, indoor and outdoor pools plus a fitness centre, activity booking facilities and, perhaps most importantly, spectacular views towards the action of the Old Town across the Adriatic Ocean.
It is a fantastic option for couples wanting to enjoy a peaceful holiday while dipping into the nearby hustle and bustle at their leisure. I loved being able to have the best of both worlds – a coastal holiday with the allure of a new, historic city to explore right on your doorstep.
Where is it?
Rixos Premium Dubrovnik is a brisk 15-minute walk (or a seven minute taxi) very slightly north of the Old Town. The 14-storey hotel is set upon the cliffs looking back towards the main centre, with its outdoor pool and restaurant perched metres above the Adriatic Ocean.
Modern minimalism. It’s a large property – so expecting sweeping, light and airy spaces with neutral decor. The upstairs Libertas bar is decorated with punches of colour thanks to chic modern furnishings, while its other restaurants stick to a beachy white, beige and wood aesthetic. Rooms are spacious, clean and comfortable, making the most of the views across the Adriatic with a no-fuss approach to design.
I stayed in a Superior Double Sea View room. You may pay more for that view, but it is worth it — opening up the curtains in the morning to enjoy a coffee while staring out across the ocean with the hotel coming to life around you is bliss. The balcony is also excellent for people watching — or checking on the status of the poolside loungers below.
Food & drink
Rixos Premium Dubrovnik has three restaurants. Turquoise is the main space where a buffet breakfast and dinner is served. Breakfast is wide-ranging and excellent — while dinner is limited and not up to the high standards of its other venues (as is often the way with buffet dinner restaurants). Upstairs is Umi Teppanyaki, offering a chef’s table-style experience twice nightly. Diners enjoy the theatre of having the head chef preparing excellent Asian-inspired food with local ingredients in front of their eyes, before retiring for a nightcap and some live entertainment. An absolute must-book (though not a cheap night out for £90 a head).
Finally, and my personal favourite, was dining at Libertas Fish Restaurant. During the day, it operates as the poolside bar offering pizzas, salads, sushi, drinks and cocktails, but is transformed at sundown into a fabulous cliffside dining space. Fresh catches of the day are offered following a small plates-style starter selection of both classic Croatian dishes and seafood delicacies. We sat as close to the sea as possible, which made for a wonderfully romantic and atmospheric dinner. Well worth booking (with prices starting at about £50 a head).
If you’re feeling active, Rixos Premium Dubrovnik has a lot to offer. There are tennis courts, billiards, table tennis, as well as activities such as Nordic walking and gym facilities. You can also book a selection of water sport activities — with a jet-ski and paddleboards ready and waiting for guests to use.
If you’re more in the mood to relax, you could easily spend a day in the Anjana Spa with traditional Turkish bath and Hammam treatments, heated indoor pool with jacuzzi, various saunas, salt room, ice room and a tea lounge with a selection of over 100 organic drinks. Plus a menu of numerous relaxing treatments.
The hotel is also home to Dubrovnik’s only casino, should that tickle your fancy, and a sports bar.
Any extracurricular time should be spent exploring the Old Town. Book a walking tour of Dubrovnik for your first few hours in the city to get a sense of your surroundings. Your guide will take you round its many sights including the 1940 meters of city walls, the Lovrenac fortress, its various historic and beautiful churches and town squares and even the Old Pharmacy. Founded in 1317, it is one of the oldest in Europe. Of course, there are also various Game Of Thrones tours that fans will enjoy.
A day, or even a few hours, spent on the nearby island of Lokrum is worth your time. Located just a 20 minute boat trip from the Old Town, the small island is a nature reserve perfect for walking around before a spot of swimming.
A trip on the Dubrovnik Cable Car is excellent for those with a head of heights due to its panoramic views across the city and neighbouring islands. Book a seat at the restaurant at the top for a unique way to dine.
Dubrovnik has some excellent restaurants — including Kopun, located on the square in front of the Jesuit Church of St Ignatius. The family-run team serve traditional Croatian dishes that are reasonably priced. Azur, a modern seaside venue, is also much talked about.
It’s sublime food and drink offering makes it perfect for foodie couples. While there is a kids club and activities for children, this is a couple’s hotel and that was reflected in its clientele. There is no beach, which is something to bear in mind should you dream of feeling the sand between your toes.
Prices from £300 for bed and breakfast. rixos.comInternet Explorer Channel Network